Are you constantly scratching your head? If yes, it could be due to scabs on your scalp.
Scabs are raised, crusty areas or patches on the scalp. Some are yellowish, while others are dark brown, reddish or black. They are often itchy and can bleed sometimes.
This problem can be an embarrassing nuisance, especially if the itchiness is relentless and you simply must scratch away.
Frequently, scalp scabs are due to dry scalp. The problem also may be a symptom of another skin condition that is affecting the scalp, such as contact dermatitis, dandruff, psoriasis, seborrheic eczema, lichen planopilaris, ringworm, lice, and shingles, to name a few.
In some cases, scabs can occur as a result of various hair treatments and styling, such as braiding, bleaching and coloring your hair using dyes.
Most scabs will disappear on their own, but you can use home remedies to treat the symptoms and quicken the healing process. However, if the scabs cover your whole head or the problem is chronic, it is important to see your doctor to find out the cause and ensure proper treatment.
Here are the top 10 ways to treat scalp scabs.
1. Warm Compress
To get rid of scalp scabs, you need to soften flakes using a warm compress. As the scabs become soft, they will start reducing in size. A warm compress is also effective in reducing itchiness.
- Soak a towel in comfortably hot water and squeeze out the excess water.
- Wrap the warm towel around your head.
- Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the heat to soften the scabs.
- Comb your hair to get rid of any loose scabs.
- Do it once daily.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
When it comes to treating scabs on the scalp, apple cider vinegar is a good remedy.
It has powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help fight many of the causes of this problem. Plus, it balances the pH level of the scalp, which can help relieve itching and dryness.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into 1 cup of warm water.
- Use this solution to wash your hair.
- Gently massage it around the scalp for 5 minutes.
- Rinse it out with water.
- Use this remedy once or twice a week.
Note: If the problem is sever, you can use a solution of equal parts of apple cider vinegar and warm water. However, do not use undiluted apple cider vinegar, as it can be harmful for your scalp.
3. Warm Oil Massage
To reduce itchiness and dry scalp, a warm oil massage is very effective. Oils, such as coconut or olive oil, create a barrier that helps keep your scalp moisturized. Hence, it is an effective way to treat scalp scabs.
- Warm up ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive or coconut oil.
- Use the warm oil to gently massage your scalp for 5 to 10 minutes.
- If needed, use a comb to work the oil into your hair.
- Put on a shower cap and let the oil work overnight.
- The next morning, wash your hair and scalp with a mild shampoo.
- Repeat this simple remedy 3 times a week.
4. Aloe Vera Gel
Another good remedy is aloe vera gel.
The gentle and soothing nature of aloe vera eases pain and itchiness, while also protecting the scabs from getting infected. Plus, it works as a deep conditioner to moisturize a dry scalp.
It also helps maintain the scalp’s pH balance.
- Cut open an aloe vera leaf and remove the gel. Optionally, you can add a little vitamin E oil, or simply squeeze the oil from 2 vitamin E capsules in it.
- Use your fingers to spread the fresh gel onto the sores and scabs on your scalp.
- Leave it on your scalp for at least 1 hour.
- Finish by washing your hair with a mild shampoo.
- Do this 2 or 3 times a week.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, with its powerful natural antifungal, anti-inflammation and antibacterial properties, can be used to treat itchiness associated with scalp scabs.
It also cleanses, removes infectious organisms and revitalizes the scalp.
- Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil into ¼ cup of almond oil. Massage the mixture onto your scalp and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Then, shampoo your hair as usual. Repeat 2 or 3 times a week.
- Alternatively, add 10 to 20 drops of tea tree oil to ½ cup of baby shampoo and use it to wash your hair daily until the condition of your scalp improves.
6. Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil can also reduce the symptoms of scalp scabs and promote healing. Its moisturizing nature helps restore the balance of natural oils on your scalp, which is essential to fight dry scalp and scabs.
Plus, this oil is very rich in antifungal compounds.
- Before going to bed, put a small amount of jojoba oil on your scalp.
- Massage it around your scalp for a few minutes.
- Leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
- Repeat this remedy once or twice a week.
7. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice will help treat an itchy and dry scalp, due to its antiseptic properties. Once the dry scalp problem is resolved, the scabs will usually go away easily.
Lemon is also very useful when dealing with dandruff or ringworms, two common causes of scalp scabs.
- Mix ½ teaspoon of lemon juice into 1 tablespoon of warm olive oil. Massage it onto your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it out. Do it 3 or 4 times a week.
- Alternatively, you can mix the juice of half a lemon into 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt and apply it on your scalp. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before washing your hair with a mild shampoo. Repeat at least 3 times a week.
You can also use the popular Listerine mouthwash (the original amber colored) to get rid of scalp scabs caused by fungal infection. In fact, many people have reported success in treating the problem with Listerine.
- Rinse your hair with lukewarm water and squeeze out the excess.
- Soak a cotton ball in Listerine mouthwash and dab it on the affected areas on your scalp.
- Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse your hair with lukewarm water.
- Do this once a week for 2 or 3 weeks.
Note: To avoid drying out the rest of your hair, apply a rinse-out conditioner on your hair from mid-length to the tip before applying Listerine on your scalp.
It may sound strange but borax also works as a great home remedy to treat scabs on scalp. It is particularly good for treating the scabs caused by fungal infection.
- Mix ½ cup of borax in 4 cups of warm water.
- Pour it over your scalp.
- Leave it on for 1 hour, then rinse your hair.
- If it dries out your hair then apply some coconut oil on your hair and scalp.
- Do this 2 or 3 times a week.
Note: Contrary to the popular misconception, do not replace borax with boric acid as boric acid may have harmful effects.
10. Indian Lilac
Indian lilac, also known as neem, is highly effective for treating any type of scalp problem. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help prevent infection and accelerate healing.
It is also effective at easing extreme itchiness.
- Heat a handful of neem leaves in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Remove the leaves, let the water cool down to a comfortable temperature and use it to rinse your hair. Do it every day.
- Another option is to mix 4 or 5 drops of neem oil into 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin coconut oil. Massage it onto your scalp and leave it on overnight. The next morning, wash your hair with a mild shampoo. Repeat every other day.
- Avoid scratching your scalp too much, as it can invite infection and permanent scarring.
- Until the scalp scabs are gone, don’t use hair products that can irritate the scalp like relaxers and harsh shampoos.
- Topical antibiotics can help treat infected scabs on your head.
- If your scalp itches a lot in the winter when the air is dry, you can use a humidifier to reduce dryness and get rid of itchiness.