Is your scalp itchy? Do you notice flakes on your shoulders or, if you have darker hair, on your hair itself? If so, you may have a dry scalp.
Your scalp is made of skin, just like the rest of your body. And just like the skin on the rest of your body, the skin on your scalp can become dry. When your scalp is too dry, you may experience negative side effects like irritation, dandruff, and hair loss.
In this article, we’ll cover the most common dry scalp causes as well as the best dry scalp treatments to restore your scalp and hair.
What Are the Signs of Dry Scalp?
If you see flakes in your hair or on your clothes, you might think that you have dandruff. However, the problem could actually be that you have a dry scalp. Many of the signs are the same, but the cause (and the treatment) is different. Let’s examine the signs of dry scalp.
Dry scalp happens when, well, your scalp is too dry. When your scalp gets too dry, it can become irritated and flake off. Dry scalp flakes are different than dandruff, though. While dandruff flakes are large and oily, dry scalp flakes are much smaller and not oily.
Another important sign of dry scalp is dry skin elsewhere on your body. Dry scalp can be caused by changes in weather and humidity (more on that later) which can affect all your skin, not just the skin on your scalp. The irritation caused by dandruff, on the other hand, is limited to your scalp.
Three Dry Scalp Causes
So you’ve examined your hair and determined that you have dry scalp, not dandruff. What’s next? Well, to treat dry scalp, it helps to know what caused it in the first place. Here are three of the most common dry scalp causes.
#1: Weather Changes
When the weather is cold, the humidity in the air drops. This change in humidity will dry out the skin all over your body. If you live in a cold climate, you’ve likely noticed this effect on your hands.
The drier air causes your skin to tighten and crack. Even though you can’t see it, the skin on your scalp undergoes the same effects.
#2: Too Much Hair Washing
Another common dry scalp cause is over-washing your hair. When you wash your hair, you strip it of the natural oils that keep your hair and scalp healthy. If you wash your hair too frequently, you can dry out both your hair and your scalp, causing your hair to become brittle and break.
#3: Harsh Hair Products
Washing your hair too much can cause dry scalp. So can washing your hair with the wrong products. In fact, using harsh products of any kind on your hair can cause dry scalp.
Some hair products cause dry scalp because they strip your hair of needed oil. Others may cause dry scalp because you have an allergic reaction. Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction that happens when you use certain products in your hair. If you’ve recently switched hair products and notice an increase in dry flakes, the new product might be to blame.
Four Proven Dry Scalp Treatments
Fortunately, there are many successful dry scalp treatments. With some diligence and the right products, you can keep your scalp and hair healthy.
One of the best dry scalp treatments is also the most readily available: water. You’ve likely heard that staying hydrated is important for the skin on your body and face. It’s just as important for the skin on your head, too.
If you’re dehydrated, your skin may become dry and cracked. When your scalp becomes dry and cracked, you’ll start to see small, white flakes.
The solution is simple: drink more water. Experts recommend drinking between six to eight glasses per day to stay hydrated. If you struggle with remembering to drink water, get a bottle that you can carry around easily and bring it everywhere you go.
Your hair and skin will thank you!
#2: Do A Scalp Massage
A scalp massage can help increase blood flow to your scalp, which in turn promotes oil production and hair growth. You can do a scalp massage with just your clean hands or you can use a tool like a boar bristle brush.
To give yourself a massage using your fingers, rub your fingers in a gentle, circular motion over your scalp while using shampoo or applying another kind of treatment, like hair oil.
Using a boar bristle brush can also massage your scalp. Boar bristle brushes have special bristles that can carry the natural oils on your scalp through the rest of your hair. This process helps redistribute oil throughout your scalp and hair.
#3: Change Up Your Diet
If you don’t have a healthy diet, your skin can suffer. By changing up your diet to focus on whole, nutrient-rich foods, you can help fix your dry scalp. Here are some foods you should focus on as dry scalp treatment:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 deficiency can lead to poor blood circulation, which can cause dry scalp.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A supports the health of skin cells. By including more Vitamin A in your diet, you can improve your dry scalp.
Certain foods have a negative effect of your skin. Sugar, in particular, can exacerbate dry scalp.
#4: Use Better Products
Certain products can contribute to dry scalp, while other products can help alleviate it. Not all hair care products are created equal. Products with harsh, detergent-like ingredients or formulas that have not been tested can be dangerous for your skin and cause dry scalp.
Look for products with gentle formulas that are specially made for dry hair. Opt out of harsh dyes or colors that can stress your hair.
Supplementing your gentle shampoo and conditioner with a scalp treatment can help moisturize and rejuvenate your scalp. Products like Mereltä’s Root Renewal serum are scientifically formulated to help treat and overcome dry scalp.
Dry Scalp Causes: Final Thoughts
Dry scalp flakes are different than dandruff flakes. Dry scalp flakes happen when your scalp doesn’t have the moisture it needs.
You can give your scalp the moisture it needs by:
- Making sure you get plenty of water
- Doing a scalp massage
- Eating plenty of nutrient-dense foods
- Using high quality products designed to help dry scalp
If you follow these dry scalp suggestions, your scalp and hair will become stronger and healthier. For a topical, plant-based scalp treatment that nurtures your scalp and promotes growth of healthier hair, you may want to try Mereltä’s Root Renewal serum.