The 10 Best Dry Scalp Treatments for Itchy, Flaky Skin

Living Proof Dry Scalp Treatment is a favorite for itchy scalps.

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Scalp treatments roundup
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Just as we moisturize and condition our skin, our scalps need treatment, too. When scalp problems like dandruff arise, we often reach for a special shampoo. But experts recommend a more intensive and regular approach when it comes to maintaining scalp health. Dr. Mohiba Tareen, a board-certified dermatologist, tells InStyle, that in addition to giving yourself a quick 30-second scalp massage every day (to promote blood flow and hair growth), a scalp treatment should be used at least once a week to prevent issues like dryness, flaking, and irritation. "People neglect their scalp until it's too late and they start to notice patches of hair loss or itching," according to Dr. Tareen. If you're experiencing scalp issues like uncontrollable itching, inflamed dandruff, or clogged hair follicles, you may want to consult a dermatologist.

Available in foams, sprays, and oils, scalp treatments moisturize and detoxify your scalp. To find the best scalp treatments, look for options to combat the particular issue you're experiencing or trying to prevent. Some are intended to eliminate dandruff, psoriasis, or eczema, and others are made for dry, itchy scalps. Look for products that are moisturizing and easy to use. In order to find the best scalp treatment products, we considered formulas for a variety of scalp conditions. We looked for products that are soothing and packed with nourishing ingredients. For an itchy scalp, our top pick is Living Proof Dry Scalp Treatment. This treatment works while you sleep to hydrate and soothe your itchy scalp.

To help you narrow down your choices, here are the best scalp treatments currently on the market.

Our Picks

Best for Itchy Scalps: Living Proof Dry Scalp Treatment

Living Proof Restore Dry Scalp Treatment
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Living Proof's Dry Scalp Treatment is a lightweight, fast-absorbing formula designed to eliminate itching, flaking, and irritation by soothing the scalp. Its hyaluronic acid and vitamin B3 bases replenish and rebalance the scalp's microbiome, leaving it hydrated and renewed.

The treatment is color-safe, appropriate for all hair types, and can be used on chemically treated hair. After washing and towel-drying hair, squeeze the treatment directly onto the scalp and massage it in. For best results, leave the treatment in overnight and use it three times per week to reduce itching. This product is cruelty-free and contains no silicone, parabens, phthalates formaldehyde, or sulfates.

Shop now: $34, amazon.com; $34, dermstore.com

Best for Scalp Psoriasis: Kérastase Initialiste Advanced Scalp & Hair Serum

Initialiste Advanced Scalp & Hair Serum Kérastase
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According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, more than 60 percent of people with psoriasis develop some scaling on their scalp. Nourishing ingredients like green tea extract and ceramides combine in this conditioning serum to combat flakes and bring moisture back to the scalp while also reducing hair breakage. With tea tree products, Dr. Tareem recommends rubbing them on the arm first to make sure the skin doesn't irritate.

Shop now: $45 (Originally $61), amazon.com; $51, sephora.com

Best for Scalp Eczema: Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair and Scalp Treatment

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair and Scalp Treatment
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Treatments with oils can be very soothing for those with eczema, Dr. Tareem says, especially when ingredients like shea butter are included. Moisturizing elements like tea-tree oil can bring much-needed relief, she says. Paul Mitchell's scalp treatment is a quick mask that should be applied to wet hair and rinsed out after five minutes. According to one reviewer, "When you let this product sit in your hair it will start to tingle, which is an amazing feeling when you need some relief."

Shop now: $16 (Originally $19), amazon.com; $18, ulta.com

Best for Dry, Flaky Scalps: L’anza Healing Remedy Scalp Balancing Cleanser

L'anza Healing Remedy Scalp Balancing Cleanser
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Using natural purifiers like shiso mint and papaya, this cleanser works gently to get rid of flakes and impurities. One five-star reviewer said the L'anza remedy got rid of their flaky scalp in just two uses.

Shop now: $31; amazon.com; $31, ulta.com

Best for Dandruff: Oribe Serene Scalp Soothing Leave-On Treatment

Oribe Serene Scalp Soothing Leave-On Treatment
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There's nothing more annoying than dandruff, especially if it's itchy. Oribe's Serene leave-on treatment is built to exfoliate the scalp to remove those pesky flakes while soothing ingredients like chamomile refresh and calm irritated skin.

Shop now: $48;amazon.com; $48, nordstrom.com

Best Oil Treatment: Moroccanoil Treatment

Moroccanoil Treatment
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For those in tune with oils, you can't go wrong with Moroccanoil. The product softens hair and moisturizes the scalp all at once. Shoppers have shown this product some major love at Amazon and, with more than 10,000 reviews, it's got an impressive 4.7-star rating.

Shop now: $15; amazon.com

Best Cruelty-Free Option: Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment

Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment Briogeo
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It's widely known that charcoal products detoxify the skin, which is why they've become skincare favorites. The same can be said for this charcoal scalp treatment, which has more than 45,000 hearts at Sephora. According to the brand, this cruelty-free product has ingredients like binchotan charcoal that draws impurities out of the scalp, as well as peppermint and spearmint oils that relieve itchiness and irritation.

Shop now: $32; sephora.com

Best Inexpensive Option: OGX Extra Strength Refreshing Scalp + Tea Tree Mint Shampoo

OGX Extra Strength Refreshing Scalp + Tea Tree Mint Shampoo
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Under $10 and available at most drugstores, OGX's tea tree-mint shampoo is meant to cleanse hair follicles and the scalp thanks to replenishing ingredients like argan oil. Tea tree products have long been heralded for their skin-clearing and smoothing properties, so it's no wonder this product is so popular.

Shop now: $7; amazon.com

Best High-End Option: Aveda invati Advanced Scalp Revitalizer

Aveda invati Advanced Scalp Revitalizer
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Aveda's scalp revitalizer spray has ingredients that support hair's natural keratin and thicken hair, according to the description. It's gentle enough to be used daily, and in addition to treating the scalp, the spray lifts hair from the root for a more volumized look.

Shop now: $60, amazon.com; $67, nordstrom.com

Best for Thin Hair: Nioxin Scalp & Hair Leave-In Treatment

Nioxin Scalp & Hair Leave-In Treatment System
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Often recommended by both dermatologists and hair stylists, Nioxin products are formulated to keep hair from shedding by treating the scalp. Dr. Tareem says while using hair-growth treatments, it's important to rub the product in deep. To make sure of this, she recommends giving yourself a deep scalp massage with the product.

Shop now: $42; ulta.com

What to Keep in Mind

What is a scalp treatment?

A scalp treatment is like a cleansing mask for your head. The treatments come in a variety of forms, such as foams, sprays and oils, and the goal of these is to detoxify your scalp, bring in moisture, or treat issues such as eczema and psoriasis. Typically, you can find a scalp treatment wherever you shop for skincare products, at stores like Nordstrom, Sephora, and Dermstore. The price of these products usually ranges between $15 and $50.

The majority of treatments can be applied to dry or wet hair and are meant to be left in as opposed to being rinsed out. Dr. Tareem recommends using a scalp treatment before bed, as "every treatment works better at night because while you're sleeping your body replenishes."

How do you hydrate your scalp?

To hydrate your scalp, Dr. Tareem recommends first taking a look at your diet. It's important to incorporate good fats like avocado, almonds, and fish oils because they contain elements that are incredibly hydrating for the skin. She also says having a humidifier in your home can help maintain a hydrated scalp, adding that the hydrating device is one of the best anti-aging products available. "You can tell just by looking at someone's skin if they have a humidifier," she says.

Also, nourishing your scalp with a treatment once a week can bring it moisture and hydration that are essential in keeping good scalp health. Dr. Tareem says even those who do not suffer from scalp issues should be doing treatments in order to maintain good health.

How do you detox your scalp?

There are clarifying shampoos available, but Dr. Tareem says using these daily can be problematic for scalp health. A homemade detox like mixing one part apple cider vinegar with three parts water can cleanse the skin well, she says.

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