A dry scalp that leads to constant itching is no fun! True? By now, you’re sick of scratching your scalp all the time. That too, after having changed umpteen number of haircare products to treat your scalp dryness?
Dry scalp is usually skin that is deprived of natural oils. But it could also indicate an underlying medical condition. Head below to learn all the causes of dry scalp and different ways to keep it moisturized and healthy.
Symptoms Of A Dry Scalp
- Tightness in the scalp
- Irritated scalp
- Need to scratch scalp
- Dry hair
What Causes Dry Scalp?
Dry scalp is caused when the scalp does not make enough oil or sebum, or is internally dehydrated . Here are some of the major reasons behind it:
1. Seborrheic Dermatitis/Dandruff
Seborrheic dermatitis  or dandruff leads to overproduction of oil on the scalp. This oil provides a breeding environment for fungus and a buildup of dead skin cells. All this causes white, oily flakes leaving the scalp dry.
Scalp eczema  causes the skin on the scalp to become red, itchy, dry and flaky. The patches of skin can sometimes become infected and can release a clear fluid. One of the common scalp eczemas is dandruff.
3. Hair Products And Styling Habits
The ingredients like dyes, fragrances, alcohols, sulfates and preservatives in your hair care products can leave a residue on your scalp  and suck out its moisture. Heat styling also removes all the natural oils from your scalp. Washing your hair too often or leaving it unwashed for too long, both contribute to a dry scalp.
Scalp psoriasis  is a skin condition that causes raised red skin patches with silvery flakes. The scalp tends to get dry in case you have psoriasis. It is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system attacks its own hair follicles.
Scalp allergies can be a result of contact dermatitis , a skin condition caused due to an irritant in a product. Hair care products may contain ingredients that cause your scalp to feel dry, itchy and red.
If you have dry scalp, stress could be to blame. While stress directly cannot take away the oils on your scalp, it can trigger conditions like dandruff that can leave your scalp dry.
Sugars and high carbohydrate diet could be causing fungus development on the scalp and leaving your scalp dry.
8. Seasonal changes
Have you noticed that your scalp feels a bit drier in winter months? This is because in winter, lack of humidity in the air dries out the scalp. If the dryness is accompanied by flakes, it could be a sign of dandruff.
How Do You Treat Dry Scalp?
1. Scalp Massage
Scalp massage is an easy and effective treatment for dry scalp. All you need to do is use your fingertips in circular motion on your scalp to massage while shampooing or oiling your hair. Benefits of scalp massage include:
- Improved blood circulation
- Production of natural oils
- Stimulation of hair follicles
- Better hair growth
2. Conditioning Treatments
Conditioning can fix a dry scalp and can also relieve itchiness. You can buy a conditioning treatment available in the market that contains moisturizing ingredients. Deep conditioning treatments have powerful ingredients and longer leave on-time. Choose one that suits your hair type.
3. Hair Oils
Oils help in providing a boost of hydration to your scalp. Massage your scalp with oils like coconut oil , almond oil, castor oil, olive oil, etc. You can add essential oils like rosemary, lavender, tea tree, thyme, cedarwood and peppermint oils to your carrier oils.
A good diet is key to a healthy scalp that makes enough oil or sebum. Include scalp health enhancing foods like nuts, eggs and fish containing omega 3 fatty acids , dairy, sweet potatoes, avocados, berries and so on.
Load up on vitamin E, A, D, K, biotin, zinc and iron that are all needed to strengthen the scalp and hair. Steer clear of sugars as they can cause overgrowth of yeast or fungus on the scalp to cause dryness and dandruff.
5. Home Remedies For Dry Scalp
A. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is an age old treatment method for dry scalp. It is antimicrobial and soothing on the scalp. Apply coconut oil directly on the scalp or warm it and apply. Leave for 30 minutes or overnight and wash your hair with a gentle shampoo.
B. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and helps reduce skin irritation. You can either apply pure aloe vera gel onto your scalp and hair, or buy products containing aloe vera.
C. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is antimicrobial and can relieve the symptoms of a dry scalp. You can buy shampoos containing tea tree oil or mix a few drops with coconut or olive oil and apply on your scalp.
Bananas have many essential minerals and can help clear up dry scalp. They are anti-microbial, moisturizing and can curb dandruff too. Mash a ripe banana and mix with coconut or olive oil to apply on your scalp. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes and wash off with a mild shampoo.
E. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a great exfoliant meaning it can remove the dead skin cell buildup on your scalp. Besides, it is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Mix one part vinegar with two parts water and apply on your scalp. Let it sit for ten minutes and wash with a gentle shampoo.
Dos & Don’ts To Prevent Dry Scalp
1. Drink More Water
Glowing skin is possible with enough water intake. But did you know how important drinking water is for your scalp? Just like the skin on the other parts of your body, your scalp skin needs water to remain hydrated and not get dried out. Drink 6-8 glasses of water for optimal hydration.
2. Avoid Heat Styling
Heat styling tools like flat irons, curlers and blow dryers damage your hair roots, shaft and leave the scalp dry. If you can't avoid them completely, use a good heat protectant serum.
3. Shampoo Less Frequently
Ingredients like sulfates  and alcohols in your shampoos can strip off the natural oils from your scalp. Avoid shampooing your hair too frequently or switch to a gentler formulation.
4. Apply Moisturizing shampoos
Look for shampoos containing moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid , moringa oil, rosemary oil, almond oil and so on. Save your scalp from harsh chemical formulas.
5. Use Humidifier
Lack of humidity in the air can lead to dry scalp. Use a humidifier in your room for a moisture-kick. You could add a few drops of essential oils for fragrance and a therapeutic feeling.
Dandruff Vs. Dry Scalp: What's The Difference?
Dandruff is the dead skin cell buildup that leads to flakes. Causes include fungus, hair care products, improper washing, male hormones, oily or dry scalp.
Primary cause is lack of sebum or oil on the scalp skin. Medical conditions, stress, diet, seasonal changes, heat styling can be the triggers.
Larger, yellow-tinged and oily flakes.
Small and white flakes.
Oily scalp and greasy hair.
Dry scalp and dry hair.
Anti-dandruff shampoos are the first line of defence.
Conditioning and oiling are the best treatments.
We hope you have understood that your scalp health is a precursor to healthy hair, as it is the base for your hair follicles. Conditioners, oils, massages, diet and an overall gentle hair care is all you need for a scalp reboot, when you are struggling with dry scalp. Say goodbye to dryness, irritation, itching and flaking with our simple remedies.
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