A dry, itchy scalp can plague us at any point in the year, but mine is always at its worst in the winter. I do not have any kind of diagnosed skin condition that may cause an itchy scalp, just general discomfort that starts almost as soon as my hair finishes drying.

What causes an itchy scalp?

Some people are more prone to an itchy scalp than others. Though there’s no definitive reason why, it’s suggested that some people may be more sensitive to a type of fungus found on the scalp called Malassezia. This is nothing to be worried about! Malassezia is found on the skin of humans and many other animals and is perfectly normal.

People who have skin conditions may experience flare-ups that can be scaly, red, and flaky. These can occur all over their body including on their scalp and can cause discomfort and itching.

You may also be more prone to a dry scalp if you have dry skin or if you live in a dry climate. 


As I Am Dry & Itchy Scalp Care Collection

It’s difficult to find an anti-dandruff shampoo that is Curly Girl Method approved. I have had great results following this method so I was on the lookout for a product that fit within the CGM guidelines.

I recently tried As I Am’s new Dry & Itchy Scalp Care collection which claims to reduce flakes, relieve the itch, and calm irritation. I have been using the shampoo, conditioner, and the oil treatment exclusively for the last month to see if I can reduce the redness on my scalp and itchiness I often feel even on wash days.

The Dry & Itchy Scalp Care range from As I Am has a few different ingredients that help with itchiness, dryness, and flaking:

  • Zinc Pyrithione – inhibits the growth of fungus and bacteria and is a common ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos
  • Tea Tree Oil – antimicrobial and antifungal
  • Olive Oil – restores moisture to your skin/hair

Since using the As I Am Dry & Itchy Scalp Care collection, I have noticed a reduction in the redness I usually see along my part. My scalp is also less itchy. I don’t experience much flaking, so I can’t speak to whether these products have or would reduce flaking.

I used the oil treatment as a pre-poo and once as a hot oil treatment prior to shampooing as suggested on the bottle. The oil treatment provided almost instant relief the moment it touched my scalp, and the pointed tip allowed me to really focus the oil along the front of my hairline and my part, the two areas where I am the itchiest.

The shampoo and conditioner both feel creamy and moisturizing and provide good slip for brushing my hair in the shower. If you are sensitive to smells, be aware that the tea tree oil scent is very strong. I would not recommend using the conditioner as a leave-in for this reason (I tried). There is a leave-in product in this line and I assume it also has a strong smell.

If you have a dry scalp, I would recommend the Dry & Itchy Scalp Care collection from As I Am. They didn’t make a difference overnight, but the longer I used them, the better my scalp felt. The bottle suggests using the shampoo at least twice per week for best results. 

How to Combat Dry Scalp

You don’t have to purchase specialized products to find relief from your dry and itchy scalp. Try these suggestions: 

  • Clarify less. If you follow the Curly Girl Method, try to clarify as infrequently as possible in the winter to ensure your scalp can hold on to as much moisture and oil as possible. Use a low- or no-poo or a co-wash instead.
  • Drink more water. You’ll feel the effects of dehydration throughout your body, and your scalp is no different! Drink more water to keep all of your skin – including your scalp – hydrated.
  • Keep styling products off your scalp. Product build up may be causing oil and bacteria to accumulate. If you “plop” your hair directly on top of your head, avoid this practice when your scalp is irritated.
  • Decrease the products you use. If products are reacting negatively with each other, you may notice it on your scalp before you notice it on your hair, especially if they are building up at your roots.
  • Look at the ingredients on your products. Two ingredients in particular, Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone, also known as the “itchy Ms”, are often the culprit behind an itchy scalp. You may also be allergic or sensitive to something else in your products if those aren’t present.
  • Pre-poo. Applying oil to your scalp before shampooing can help protect your scalp from the cleansing agents in your shampoo. This means that your scalp will lose less of its natural oils and moisture when you wash.
  • Don’t sleep with wet hair. Wet hair and a wet scalp can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Yuck!

If you feel like you’ve tried everything and your scalp is itchy, dry, and flaking, the next step is to speak to a doctor or dermatologist. Skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or seborrhoeic dermatitis can cause an itchy scalp and may require treatment.