You’ve been scratching your head a lot lately. Not in that, “Hmmm… I’m wondering…” kind of way either. Your hair feels tight in the roots like your scalp is being pinched together and the itch! the flakes! the stress! You’ve got dry scalp.
What Causes a Dry Scalp?
There are many reasons your scalp could be dry, some more common than others. If it is a continuous or severe problem, you’ll definitely want to contact a physician or dermatologist. Some possibilities that could be causing your condition include:
- Hormonal changes, like puberty
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Eating high-sugar, spicy, or high-salt foods
- Lack of nutrients like fatty acids and vitamin B
- Weather changes
- Prolonged use of harsh shampoos that have a lot of chemical content in them
- Fungal infection
- Over exposure to hard water
- Excess use of styling products
- Neglect of hair care, including unhealthy beauty habits, lack of oiling, and conditioning treatments
What Can I Do?
Now, you may want to run and grab some anti-dandruff shampoo at your nearest drugstore but before you do that, let’s discuss your options. Traditional dry scalp shampoos contain salicylic acid, you know, the stuff that helps kill zit-forming bacteria. This ingredient chemically burns the flakes off your scalp while the surfactants (soap) are meant to strip oil from your hair, which can cause excessive dryness—that's right, dry scalp shampoos often actually increase dryness. If this isn’t the route you want to go, and barring any medical conditions that need professional treatment, you may want to consider more natural treatment alternatives. Here are a few to try:
1—Wash your hair less. If your reaction is, “Ew gross!”, just hear me out first. Flakey, dry scalp can be the result of over washing your hair and stripping too many natural oils from your noggin. Try shampooing every other day. It may take a few weeks for your hair to adjust to this new routine, but it may be a simple solution… plus a time and money saver!
2—Include healthy oils in your diet. Olive and coconut oils are good options. Omega-3s in food or supplement form will also give extra moisture to your skin.
3—Make Aloe Vera your new best friend. Aloe Vera will help add moisture to your scalp, but it will also relieve the itching with its natural cooling property. Just massage a little into your scalp where it needs the most relief. Rinse out after about 20 minutes.
4—Try some DIY home treatments. Once or twice a week, give your head skin some extra lovin’! Ingredients like lemon, tea tree oil and baking soda are a few of the household items you can use to remedy dry scalp and not have any chemical side effects. Try out these simple recipes that include just a few ingredients:
Mix lemon juice and plain yogurt. Apply to scalp and let sit for several minutes. Wash out with a mild shampoo.
Why this works: Lemon has natural antiseptic properties and yogurt is moisturizing.
Add 1-2 teaspoons of vitamin E oil to 1-2 tablespoons of aloe vera. Mix in 1 drop of tea tree oil. Apply to scalp and leave on for 30-60 minutes before washing out.
Why this works: Tea tree oil has natural antifungal, anti-inflammation and antibacterial properties. As stated above, Aloe Vera is moisturizing and cooling.
Create a paste out of baking soda, water and a bit of olive or coconut oil. Apply to your scalp. Let sit for 15 minutes or so. Wash out.
Why this works: Baking soda is amazing. It exfoliates the scalp and gets rid of overactive fungi.
Some ingredients can be used alone or with a water dilution (for sensitive skin) and applied directly to the scalp and then washed out. Apple cider vinegar cleanses the scalp and balances the skin’s pH. Coconut oil nourishes your skin and smells amazing! Mayonnaise is rich in fats and oils to replenish lost oils in your hair at the same time you make yourself a tasty sandwich!
With any luck these natural remedies will have you flake free in no time. And your friends will stop accusing you of having fleas! Here’s to that luxurious mane of yours! Go let it blow in the wind without fear of showing the person behind you with a snow storm of dandruff.