The right treatment to soothe that itchy scalp depends, of course, on the cause.
The first line of defense against most itchy scalp conditions will be an at-home remedy such as a shampoo. Often, the success rate is high, but stubborn situations will require medical advice and prescription treatments. For example, folliculitis, an infection of a hair follicle, might be so mild that it clears up in a few days without any treatment whatsoever. In other cases, a doctor may need to prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal medication.
Ringworm always requires medical attention, but lice can often be eliminated with over-the-counter remedies. Moreover, treatment for ringworm may last six weeks or more. The usual treatment for ringworm is an oral antifungal medication in liquid, tablet or granular form that is sprinkled on food. Three approved ringworm medications are Grifulvin V, Gris-Peg and Lamasil [source: Mayo Clinic]. In some cases, over-the-counter medications won't do the trick for lice, and prescription lotions or shampoos are necessary. These medications must be prescribed with care, because they have potentially serious side effects [source: Mayo Clinic].
Some cases of psoriasis can be treated by over-the-counter medications. If those are not effective, a doctor initially will prescribe a topical medication that you apply to the scalp instead of the hair. If that isn't successful, the next step is light therapy. Both non-laser and laser treatments can be used. One example of laser therapy is an excimer laser. It treats patches of psoriasis without harming unaffected areas. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved a number of medications for psoriasis, which may be injected, infused or swallowed [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
Over-the-counter shampoos often work to clear up dandruff. However, if these shampoos don't deliver results after several weeks of use, a prescription shampoo or steroid lotion might be required. Read on to learn more about some home remedies for dandruff and other itchy scalp conditions.