The Independent Pharmacy

How To Moisturise Your Scalp: Your Guide To Treating Skin Issues On Your Head

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 23 Aug 2023

If you suffer from eczema, psoriasis, or another type of skin condition, you’ve probably tried many different topical treatments such as Betnovate to control outbreaks of skin redness and inflammation.

But if you suffer from dermatological problems on your scalp, it can be difficult to know how to treat it — and how to moisturise your scalp.

Scalp moisturising can help you to control dryness and flakiness, and help your head and scalp in a healthy condition.

In the guide below, we’ll be teaching you how to moisturise and massage your scalp, as well as looking at the best products to treat skin conditions on your head.

Note: It might also be worth reading our separate guide on how to deal with eczema on your face.

Overview - what causes a dry scalp?

Skin conditions like eczema (also referred to as dermatitis) or psoriasis can cause the skin to become dry, itchy, scaly, red, and rash-like. In more severe cases, the skin may suffer from symptoms such as crusting, weeping or bleeding.

These conditions can result in a dry scalp — which can be harder to treat than skin problems on other areas where you have less hair and where topical treatments can work their magic more easily.

Dry scalp can also be due to a number of other causes, such as daily washing, dehydration, a change in weather, or harsh ingredients in hair care products like shampoo.

The signs of a dry scalp include:

  • Itchiness
  • Dandruff
  • Soreness

The best way to treat a dry scalp is to moisturise it.

How to moisturise your scalp

Choosing the right products to moisturise your scalp

Dealing with scalp issues like eczema or psoriasis can be difficult, but luckily there are many different solutions — including medical treatments and home remedies — to help treat the problem.

Here are some common ways to treat a dry scalp:

  • Moisturising shampoo
  • Exfoliating scalp masks
  • Post-shower hair tonic
  • Coconut oil
  • Essential oils like tea tree and jojoba
  • Aloe vera gel or aloe vera-based products
  • Home remedies such as witch hazel or apple cider vinegar

Choosing the right treatment for you might take some time as you experiment with which products produce the best results for your scalp, but a good place to start is with either a moisturising shampoo or using essential oils like tea tree and jojoba.

Moisturising shampoos are specially formulated to suit dry scalps and tend to avoid harsh chemicals that can strip the skin of its natural oils.

Essential oils like tea tree and jojoba (you can also use eucalyptus, lavender, or peppermint) can either be added to a shampoo or applied on their own to the scalp.

Below we’ll go through the best ways to apply shampoo and oils to moisturise your scalp.

Applying shampoos to moisturise your scalp

Applying shampoos to keep your head moisturised isn’t difficult.

Here are the steps to moisturising your scalp with shampoos:

  1. Choose a moisturising shampoo, staying away from shampoos with harsh ingredients that could strip the natural oils from your skin and hair.
  2. Apply two to three times a week. Applying shampoo any more frequently will strip oil from your scalp, which will leave your skin and hair even dryer. If you shower every day, use a shower cap to cover your head and keep it dry.
  3. Avoid applying conditioner on your scalp, as it can clog your pores and make itchiness worse. Instead, you can condition your hair from the middle down to the ends.
  4. Keep the water around body temperature to avoid aggravating a sensitive scalp.
  5. To dry, gently pat your hair with a towel to get the excess water off and then let it air-dry. Avoid vigorously rubbing your head with a towel or blow-drying it on a hot temperature setting (both of which can make a sensitive and dry scalp worse).

Applying shampoos and oils to moisturise your scalp

Applying oils to moisturise your scalp can work in a few different ways, depending on the type of oil you are using.

Option 1

If you are using essential oils like tea tree oil or jojoba oil, then you can simply add a few drops to your bottle of shampoo and use the shampoo application method as listed above.

Option 2

To apply oils on their own:

  1. Choose a moisturising oil, such as essential oils like tea tree, jojoba, eucalyptus, lavender, or peppermint.
  2. Mix with a carrier oil like coconut, almond, olive or avocado oil. Essential oils are potent and should be diluted before applying to the scalp — especially if you have sensitive skin.
  3. Dab the oil mixture onto your scalp, using either your fingers or a cotton wool ball. Depending on the severity of the dryness, you can coat your whole scalp or focus on the driest areas.
  4. Massage the oil into your scalp. Use your fingers in a circular motion — spend a few minutes doing this to make sure you penetrate the top layer of skin fully.
  5. Leave the oil in for between one and eight hours. You might want to do this overnight — in which case, you should protect your pillow from oily stains by covering it with a towel or wearing a shower cap.
  6. Wash out with shampoo; rinse thoroughly to ensure all oil is removed.


One of the best ways to treat a dry scalp is to moisturise it. You can do this in a number of ways, such as with specially formulated moisturising shampoos or by using essential oils.

If your dry scalp is due to a skin condition like eczema, then it’s worth pairing your moisturising plan with a topical treatment like Betnovate Scalp Application.

If you are suffering from psoriasis on your scalp and over-the-counter medicines are proving ineffective, you could speak to your doctor about using Dovobet Gel.

If you’re suffering from a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, you can contact The Independent Pharmacy for a free consultation. Starting an online consultation with us is quick and easy — and you can even receive your medication the very next day.

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