What is Dry scalp?
If your scalp is feeling tight and irritated, there’s a good chance you’re suffering from dry scalp. Find out what’s causing it and how to treat it!
We all suffer from a dry scalp at some point in our lives. It’s almost as common as an oily scalp. But we often ignore it, because we think it’s a temporary condition that will sort itself out. Oftentimes that might be the case, but if you regularly ignore a dry scalp, it can become a chronic problem.
What is a dry scalp?
Dry scalp is often a sign that the skin’s natural moisture defences are damaged. In healthy skin, the outer cell layers are arranged like a brick wall and they work to keep moisture locked in so your body stays properly hydrated.
Your scalp is also covered in innumerable sebaceous glands that secrete an oil like substance known as sebum. This secretion is essential as it covers your scalp in a protective layer that forms the barrier to the external world. Apart from retaining moisture, it prevents any infections or microbes from finding their way in.
When the scalp becomes irritated, this entire ecosystem and structure becomes weakened, allowing essential moisture to escape and the skin on the scalp to dry out. Dry scalp causes your skin to open up to pollutants, germs, bacteria, which can all play havoc on your head.
This condition is usually associated with itching and flaking. These flakes are dead skin cells which are getting pushed out and fall from your head. They are usually small and white in colour, increasing in quantity when you scratch your head.
Some of the dry scalp causes:
- Over-washing your hair and using a shampoo too often
- Allergic reactions or contact dermatitis from some hair products
- Extreme changes of weather from hot to cold
- Using heat treatment like hair blowers and straighteners
- Colouring or chemical treatments on your hair
- Poor diet and lifestyle
- Hormonal changes that can disrupt oil production
Are dry flaky scalp and dandruff the same?
It is important to note that dry flaky scalp and dandruff are two different scalp ailments. The cause of dandruff is a fungus that feeds on excessive oil found on your scalp. Dry scalp is due to a lack of this oil. Dry scalp symptoms are also distinctive, as the flakes are much smaller and whiter in colour. While dandruff flakes are yellowish white in colour and slightly oily.
How to treat dry flaky scalp
The good thing about a dry scalp is that it’s easier to treat than most other scalp problems. You should always check with a dermatologist if you feel it might be something more serious like eczema or psoriasis. Understanding the reasons for dry scalp can help you to identify the ideal solution that might work for you.
Moisturise your scalp –This is the simplest possible solution. You can apply natural oils like coconut oil or jojoba oil to your head to get rid of the flaky scalp. You can also use oils like Argan oil that bring vitamins to your scalp to act as a heat protectant. Applying diluted Tea tree oil can also help to moisturise any dryness. In addition, massaging these oils helps increase the blood circulation to the scalp, which can bring vital nutrients.
Create a hair mask –You can create your own hair mask at home with ingredients found in your kitchen. A combination of banana, olive oil, honey and lime juice, is a popular hair mask for a dry scalp. Some people even use a blend of egg and yogurt for their scalp troubles.
Aloe vera –Applying this gel to your scalp can work wonders to boost moisture levels and calm down any itching. It has a cooling effect on your scalp and can also work as a method on how to remove dandruff.
Don’t wash too often –Washing your hair and scalp every day with a shampoo can strip the natural oils from your scalp. This is a common problem that people face. Reduce your shampoo use to a few times a week.
Hair products –If you’ve recently started using any new hair products and developed a dry scalp, stop using them. They might be the reason for your scalp issue. Alcohol based hair products can often be the cause of a dry flaky scalp. Check the products for any harsh chemical ingredients that might be causing a reaction.
Improve your diet –You might not realise it but what you put into your body affects your scalp health. Add omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins to your diet, while reducing the intake of alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. Drink a lot of water as well. Make small changes and see what works.
Cut back on the heat –It seems logical that if you heat up your scalp too much, it will tend to dry out. So, reduce the use of hair styling products that use heat. Also, cover your head when you step out in the sun. The direct rays can severely increase the temperature of your scalp and dry it out.
Lifestyle and stress –Change your lifestyle and reduce your stress levels. It is a challenging task but is vital in regulating your body and scalp’s health. Stress can especially play havoc with your hormones and cause various kinds of problems. Find ways to relax, like a walk, music, or meditation. Anything that lets you switch off for 5 mins a day.
You can also make use of scalp shampoos that take care of the overall health of your scalp. Combine these with the use conditioners on the length of your hair to help bring back the natural flow of your scalp oils. If you’re looking for a shampoo with added moisturisers that can clean and restore dry hair, while getting rid of any dandruff, try the Head and Shoulder 2in1 Smooth and Silky. It gives you the combined benefits of a shampoo and conditioner in one, which is gentle enough for everyday use.