Dry skin on the scalp can cause a whole host of uncomfortable and irritating problems. Our skin’s delicate balance can easily be disrupted by not only environmental factors like temperature and humidity, but also by the products that we expose it to.
The good news is that by making a few simple changes to your scalp and hair care routine, as well as identifying the factors that trigger your scalp to become dry and uncomfortable, you can counteract or eliminate these triggers and banish that dry flaky skin.
Let’s take a look at how to identify a dry scalp and explore some hair care tips to soothe that scalp and prevent the problem.
If you’ve noticed skin flaking off your scalp, then you may presume that this is proof enough that your scalp is dry, but this may not be the case.
Many people believe that having dandruff and having a dry scalp is the same thing. Whilst both conditions can cause skin to flake away from the scalp, they have different causes.
It’s important to understand the difference between the two conditions to correctly diagnose that you have a dry scalp.
Whilst having a dry scalp causes skin to flake away from the scalp, dandruff is caused by having too much oil on your scalp.
Signs that you may have a dry scalp include:
- Skin flaking from the scalp that is not accompanied by an oily scalp or hair
- Dry skin on other parts of the body
- An itchy or irritated scalp
- Hair loss
The flakes of skin caused by dandruff are usually large and oily looking in comparison to the small, dry flakes caused by a dry scalp.
Dry scalp can be triggered by a variety of factors including:
- Cold, dry weather
- A reaction to harsh synthetic ingredients in hair care products
- Excessive use of heated styling tools
- Washing hair too frequently
- A skin condition like eczema or psoriasis
- Not drinking enough water
Whatever is causing the skin on your scalp to become dry and irritated, it can be an uncomfortable condition to live with and getting to the root of the problem will help you to treat it and find the best hair care for dry scalp.
The impact that dry scalp has on the hair usually depends on the trigger and severity of the condition.
In some milder cases, a dry scalp will have little or no effect on the hair. However, in severe or prolonged cases of dry scalp, the condition can cause increased hair loss, caused by excessive itching of the scalp and by inflammation of the skin surrounding your hair follicles. This inflammation can weaken the hair root, making you more vulnerable to hair loss, especially if you’re scratching away at your scalp a lot.
It’s also worth being aware that a dry scalp is often accompanied by dry hair. If your hair is also dry it can appear dull, flat, lifeless, and be prone to damage and breakage.
The best hair care for dry scalp depends on what is causing your scalp to be so dry. Identifying your triggers can help you to develop an effective routine that will keep irritation and dry flaky skin at bay.
If your dry scalp is being caused by eczema or psoriasis, then you will first need to treat the skin condition and find out what has triggered it. Often, scalp irritation is caused by reactions to the harsh chemical ingredients found in many hair care products.
We recommend following the five simple hair care tips below to get a dry flaky scalp under control:
- Wash your hair using a natural and moisturising shampoo and conditioner
- Wash your hair using water that is cool and not too hot
- Wash hair once every 2-3 days to avoid over or under washing
- Minimise blow-drying and use of heated styling tools
- Apply a natural and intensively moisturising oil treatment or mask to the scalp and hair once a week
It can also be helpful to check your diet. Sometimes skin conditions like a dry scalp can be a sign from your body that it’s not getting everything it needs. Make sure that you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet and drinking enough water. Incorporating more Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet can help to improve moisture levels in the body and reduce inflammation.
Natural hair care products are less likely to cause irritation and dryness than those made using harsh synthetic ingredients. Look for natural products made using gentle and hydrating ingredients by trusted brands.
Some natural ingredients that can help with hydrating your scalp and reducing the symptoms of dry scalp include:
- Coconut oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Teatree oil
- Aloe vera
- Witch Hazel
- Jojoba oil
When choosing hair care products for a dry scalp you want to ensure that you’re eliminating any ingredients that could potentially trigger the condition.
This means avoiding all harsh, synthetic ingredients, particularly those known to have a drying effect on hair and skin.
Some key synthetic haircare ingredients to avoid if you have dry scalp include:
- Sulfates including ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
- Sodium chloride (salt)
- Bad alcohols (most ingredients with ‘prop’ in their name) including isopropyl and propanol
- Synthetic fragrances
Looking for an ethical natural haircare brand that won’t irritate your skin?
At Nereus London, we offer a natural hair care range containing luxurious, natural ingredients that will nourish your hair and scalp without all the chemical nasties.