How To Get Rid Of A Dry Scalp – Seven Tricks You Must Know
Everyone experiences problems due to a very dry scalp at some point; however without treatment it can become a chronic problem leading to itchiness and dandruff.
Our list of the following solutions and remedies might be just what you need in order to restore moisture and get healthy, voluminous hair.
This article has been reviewed by
Pharmacist, Varde Pharmacy
Anne has a MSc in Pharmacy from the University of Southern Denmark and has worked as a pharmacist at the Varde pharmacy for several years. Here she advises both costumers and doctors about the correct use of medical products. Here you can see Anne’s profile »
Table of Contents
- How To Get Rid Of A Dry Scalp – Seven Tricks You Must Know
1. Scalp Massage
Possibly the most effective and easiest treatment for dry scalp is a scalp massage. You can give yourself a gentle massage by simply rubbing your fingertips in a gentle, circular motion over your scalp while shampooing or applying oil.
Scalp massages can stimulate the production of natural oils and increase blood flow towards the hair follicles, meaning they receive more nutrients and hair growth is promoted.
Using lukewarm oils during massage can not only be therapeutic, but can also work as natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agents which can resolve itchiness and soothe the scalp.
Running a brush through your hair is recommended as the unique structure of the boar bristle can carry natural oils produced by the scalp all the way down to the end of the hair shaft. This results in shiny, well-conditioned hair and removal of any oil or hair product build-up on the scalp.
A gentle pre-wash massage with a boar brush can open up pores on the scalp and remove dead skin cells so that the scalp can be properly cleansed and moisturised.
Running a brush through your hair is recommended as it will stimulate the scalp resulting in shiny, well-conditioned hair and removal of any oil or hair product build-up on the scalp. A gentle pre-wash massage with a brush can open up pores on the scalp and remove dead skin cells so that the scalp can be properly cleansed and moisturised.
Read More About: Causes Of An Itchy Scalp: 6 Common Causes
2. Conditioning Treatments
Sometimes when the scalp is not producing enough natural oil sebum, it can cause hair to appear dull and the scalp to feel itchy and become flaky. By nourishing the scalp with a scalp treatment, you can instantly soothe and fix the main cause of dryness and itchiness.
A scalp treatment can nourish the scalp so much that problems such as itching and irritation become a rarity.
It is important to choose the correct type of hair treatment conditioning mask according to your hair type, choose one which contains a main part of natural ingredients.
A good scalp treatment should be left in for at least 20 minutes to fully penetrate the scalp. Once the treatment is complete; rinse hair with cool water to help close the hair shaft and seal in maximum moisture.
It is recommended that at home conditioning treatments are carried out at least once a week for best results.
3. Use Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is well-known for its countless beneficial properties such as anti-bacterial and anti-septic which is why it’s a popular natural alternative to harsh chemicals.
This oil can be applied to hair in a variety of ways however as it is an essential it should not be applied directly to the scalp, or anywhere on the skin as it can cause skin irritation.
It is better to dilute the oil with a second or multiple carrier oils such as castor oil, coconut oil or other healthy oils for your hair and leave in overnight.
You can also add a few drops of 100% tea tree oil to your regular shampoo before washing your hair to reap the benefits of it.
Did you know:
The Australian Bodycare hair range with Tea Tree Oil is designed to remedy scalp problems.
Read More About: Benefits Of Using Tea Tree Oil For Your Hair
Tip of the day: See This Video: How To Use Products with Tea Tree Oil
4. Change Your Shampoo and Hair Products
Dry scalp can be caused by shampooing too regularly or by using products which are too harsh for your scalp and hair.
The best advice is to avoid shampooing on a daily basis, or to opt for a gentle formula specially formulated for dry hair.
Frequent washing with hot water and hair products which contain alcohol can also contribute to drying out the scalp and worsening the condition. Choosing a more suitable shampoo may be trial and error, however a professional and high-quality shampoo can make a huge difference in cleansing and hydrating the scalp.
It is best to minimise or stop using heated hair products and hair dryers to avoid hair drying out and allow the scalp to have a chance to recover and naturally nourish itself.
If you can’t pack away your styling products for good, then you can always change and use more suitable, lightweight products which offer a protective layer over your hair shaft to create softer, shinier and smoother hair.
5. Diet Changes
A poor diet which is deficient in key nutrients which are meant to support skin health, can be a leading factor in the development of dry scalp. By following a healthy well balanced diet, many people have found relief from their condition.
Key nutrients include;
- Zinc – Research suggests that hair, skin, teeth and nails cannot grow without zinc, the mineral is important for healthy tissue growth and repair throughout the entire body.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – dry scalp can be an indicator of a deficiency in these fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can lead to dry skin and poor blood circulation, which contribute to dry scalp.
- Vitamin A – liver, eggs, dairy products and many fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin A which is known to support the maintenance and function of skin cells. By ensuring that enough vitamin A is included in your diet, you can minimise dry scalp.
It is also known that a diet high in sugar can worsen dandruff and dry scalp conditions. Dandruff is often associated with dry scalp and attributed to the candida yeast; therefore an over-consumption of sugar can promote growth of this yeast and contribute to the problem.
6. Stay Hydrated
We all know how important staying hydrated is critical for a healthy glowing complexion, but did you know that dehydration can also be a cause of dry scalp.
When your body is dehydrated, you may have noticed how dry your skin becomes, as well as other symptoms such as feeling exhausted and maybe even sick but probably haven’t noticed the resulting dryness on your scalp.
Unfortunately your scalp can dry out as it is often exposed, sometimes directly in the sun and mistreated as it is not usually moisturised and given the hydration it requires. All these factors contribute to a dry, itchy and in more serious cases a flaky scalp.
The general advice is to drink six to eight glasses of water per day for optimal hydration; however, this figure does vary per person according to climate and levels of activity.
7. Use Coconut and Tea Tree Oil:
Coconut oil is best known for its moisturising properties in helping hair to retain lost moisture and to treat dryness. It has both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
The application of combining Tea Tree oil and coconut oil can encourage blood circulation to the hair follicles and to the scalp which promotes the supply of essential nutrients.
Between hair washes, the oil can act as a protective barrier and seal moisture into the hair so that it remains soft and shiny.
Some people prefer to use warm coconut oil as a scalp treatment by applying it directly to their hair, using a comb to work the oil into the hair and then leaving the oil to soak for a few hours before shampooing.
Not only does it smell great, but as it is completely natural it’s a much better alternative to most products available on the market which offer similar results.
If you don’t like the scent of coconut oil, you can easily mix in one or two drops of your favourite smelling essential oil for a more pleasant scent.
Symptoms Of A Dry Scalp
Often those who have a dry and flaking scalp, initially suspect dandruff. However, it is just as likely that these two major symptoms are a result of really dry scalp.
Dry scalp usually develops when the scalp has too little moisture, this causes irritation to the skin causing it flakes and become very dry.
Some people find that other skin parts, such as their arms and legs also begin to suffer with dryness.
There are multiple factors which can contribute to the development of this condition such as temperature, age and reactions to products applied on the scalp, these are all discussed in detail below.
Read more about: How to get rid of dandruff
One way to differentiate between dry scalp and dandruff is by assessing the appearance of the flakes.
Typically, dandruff flakes are larger in size, yellow or white in colour and may even look oily. Sometimes dandruff flakes also are harder to come off the skin.
Smaller dry flakes indicate dry scalp and there may be dry skin on other parts of the body. Both conditions cause an itchy scalp, however, dandruff patients often present with red, oily and scaly-looking skin.
Causes Of A Dry Scalp
Why is my scalp so dry? Most causes of dry and an itchy scalp can be broken down into internal and external causes;
- Skin conditions, such as different forms of dermatitis or psoriasis
- Age, typically our skin tends to become dryer as we get older
- Physical and emotional stresses or a lack of proper rest
- A hereditary predisposition
- Hormonal changes and imbalances
- Excessive consumption of sugars, fats and starch or an improper diet
Within the scalp there are many sebaceous glands, just like in the skin on the rest of the body. They generate oily sebum, which contains fat and dead skin cells. The glands work to grease and protect our skin so that it is waterproof, does not dry out and does not get too brittle. The sebum production also ensures that the hair does not get too dry.
If the natural production of sebum is not enough for some reason, you will find that your scalp becomes dry. Older people generally produce less sebum, so they are particularly vulnerable to dry scalp.
However, there may also be other causes of dry scalp. Medical conditions such as having a too low or too high metabolism, diabetes, liver or kidney disease, asthma, eczema and allergic reactions to certain types of medication can all cause dry skin. If you drink too little water, have a bad diet or vitamin deficiency, it can also cause dry skin.
A dry scalp is often caused by external factors. When we wash our hair, we dry out the scalp. If you wash your hair a little too often, or use harsh shampoos, you may risk developing a very dry scalp. Hair styling products and the use of hair dryers can also be a contributing factor to the dryness of the scalp.
Among the external causes are:
- Extreme changes in temperature or season, cold weather and winters are often associated with dry scalp
- Excessive use of hair products such as soaps, shampoos and hair treatments which end up irritating the skin and the development of contact dermatitis
- Environmental pollution
- Lifestyle factors such as smoking or a poor diet which can cause dehydration
- Medications which can cause dehydration
Dry scalp is primarily caused by the skin having too little moisture, which is why patients will often find dry skin on other areas of their bodies also. The best and most effective way to cure dry scalp is to increase hydration and moisturise the scalp regularly as described above.
If the root cause of the itchiness and flakiness turns out to be dandruff, the condition can be treated with simple over-the-counter shampoos. If there is no improvement within a month and the scalp appears to be getting irritated or inflamed it is best to make an appointment with your doctor.
A doctor will be able to immediately diagnose your condition and rule out any other skin disorders by simply visually assessing your scalp.
Extremely Dry Scalp
An extremely dry scalp can lead to scabs on the scalp that leave you feeling like the skin is tightening.
Most people with a very dry scalp also experience severe itching. These are generally the worst, most developed symptoms of a dry scalp. It is therefore important that you react quickly and find a good treatment to soothe and remedy the very dry scalp.
Many people experience these major problems with very dry scalp and dry skin in the winter months. Cold temperatures, wind and low humidity dry the skin even more than in the summer.
Therefore, we need to take extra care of our skin and scalp in the winter. It is important to choose products that work well against dry skin.
Dry Scalp – Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my scalp hurt?
Scalp pain can feel as if the scalp is prickling, burning or tingling and those who have naturally greasy or dry hair are more prone to feel scalp pain. It can be caused by multiple factors, such as dandruff, infections or even infestations by head lice.
What causes itchy scalp?
Itchy scalp can be down to some of the following common causes; dandruff, psoriasis, fungal infections, head lice or an allergic reaction. Usually an itchy scalp isn’t much to worry about, however if you find over-the-counter shampoos aren’t improving your condition, the itchiness is affecting your concentration or the skin is sore to touch, it is best to see a doctor.
How to get rid of flaky scalp?
You can try washing your hair regularly, switching shampoos, using moisturising treatments and remedies and avoid scratching if the skin is flaking off.
What is seborrheic dermatitis?
This condition is considered a chronic form of eczema which appears on the skin in areas where there are multiple sebaceous glands. Patients will present with dry flakes of skin on the scalp and other oily areas of the body.
Skin cancer on the scalp?
Skin cancer can occur on the scalp as this is still a part of the body which has pigment-producing cells. However skin cancer appearance can vary depending on the type of cancer – basal cell skin cancer, squamous skin cell cancer or melanoma.
Why do I get spots on my scalp?
These spots are a surprisingly common problem which is simply down to dead skin cells, product build up and accumulation of natural oils on the scalp which can serve as food for bacteria leading to the development of acne. Read more about spots on scalp here.
What causes Scalp Psoriasis?
Scalp psoriasis is a common skin disorder which can cause raised red and scaly patches of skin. It is generally accepted that scalp psoriasis is related to genetic defects which are known to affect certain parts of the immune system.