Dry scalp is very common. It may not be a condition you generally concern a lot about until, at least, when you notice some visible damages to your scalp or hair. It is so common that almost every individual from kids to elderly get dry scalp at some point of time. It can be mild or chronic. While a few get dry scalp because of climate changes, say, during winters, others develop scalp dryness due to some chronic skin problem or as a sign of infection and sometimes, due to certain underlying health condition.
What is Dry Scalp?
Dry scalp means lack of moisture or stability in the scalp, the skin beneath your hair. Dry scalp is marked by tiny white flakes on the scalp caused due to various reasons. Dry scalp is not dandruff, caused by infection, and which is accompanied by excessive itching. Dry scalp, as the name suggests, is the condition where your scalp becomes excessively dry.
- The scalp may lack moisture completely; the whole of your scalp may turn dry and itchy.
- The scalp skin may lack stability and fail to distribute moisture evenly all over your scalp. This, in turn, makes the scalp dry at certain places.
Dryness of the scalp leads to flaky or itchy scalp and it subsequently damages your hair. Scratching your scalp often can be embarrassing in public places! Dry scalp is not just an embarrassing condition, but also a damaging one. One of the major causes of hair fall is, of course, dry scalp.
Absence of moisture weakens the hair follicles and increases hair fall. Dryness of the scalp also doesn’t support the growth of new hair. So, don’t take dry scalp lightly. In fact, dry scalp may indicate certain severe skin conditions such as scalp psoriasis or dermatitis. However, in most cases, dry scalp can be treated with some simple remedies. But before we talk about how to get rid of dry scalp with home remedies, let us know the causes of dry scalp so that the most effective remedy can be used to get rid of dry scalp.
What causes Dry Scalp?
The first step to get rid of the dry scalp is understanding what caused your dry scalp. Major causes of dry scalp can be classified into two factors- internal and external.
Internal Factors that Cause Dry Scalp
- Aging is a major cause of dry scalp. With age, skin starts losing its moisture, and scalp is no exception.
- Dehydration or insufficient intake of water and other fluids. The first condition to keep your skin and scalp is to provide optimum hydration.
- Skin diseases like dermatitis, scalp psoriasis, dandruff, etc. They all get manifested in dry scalp.
- Physical and emotional stress also contribute in making your scalp dry.
- Hormonal changes
- Certain health conditions like pregnancy, trauma, post surgery, etc.
External Factors that Cause Dry Scalp
- Change of climate or exposure to climate extremities
- Frequent use of hair styling equipment
- Hair treatments like curling, straightening, hair ironing, coloring, etc.
- Exposure to pollution
- Wrong choice of shampoos, conditioners and other hair products
- Poor diet
- Lack of healthy hair care routine
- Too much alcohol consumption
- Side effects of certain medications
Regardless of the causes of scalp dryness, you can find the right solutions to get rid of dry scalp.
Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Dry Scalp
Home remedies have proved to be effective in treating various skin and hair problems! Dry scalp can also be treated, right at home, by using natural ingredients. Try these home remedies to get rid of dry scalp.
Oil Treatment for Dry Scalp
The key to battling dryness is moisturizing the scalp. The primary remedy for scalp dryness is oil treatment. Oil massage is the best way to reduce the scalp dryness and retain the moisture in your scalp.
So, take the first step to get rid of dry scalp, enhance its moisture level and lock the natural moisture balance inside your scalp and follicles.
Massaging your scalp also stimulates blood circulation there which enhances blood flow to the scalp and hair follicles. This ensures that sufficient nutrients are provided to your scalp skin and the hair roots. Oils too have various nutrients and massaging your scalp with oil can not only prevent scalp dryness but can help you grow long and thick hair.
Scalp Massage with Coconut Oil
When it comes to massaging the scalp and hair, think no further than using coconut oil. Coconut oil has deep nourishing effects on the scalp. It penetrates deeply into the scalp and prevents dryness. In fact, regular application of coconut oil to the hair can prevent dryness of the scalp to a great extent along with providing nutrition to your hair and scalp, thanks to its fatty acid content.
- Mildly heat the oil and apply generously on the scalp.
- Massage the scalp in circular motion using your fingers.
- Let the oil stay for at least 1 hour and them wash your hair.
- You can also apply the oil at night and leave it overnight. Wash your hair the next morning.
You can also use castor oil, olive oil and sesame oil to massage the dry scalp.
Tea Tree Oil for Itchy and Flaky Dry Scalp
If you have flaky and itchy scalp (moderate to severe itchiness of the scalp), tea tree oil mixed with some carrier oil or water is the best remedy for you.
Tea tree oil is ubiquitous, it can be found in almost all types of hair cosmetics- in shampoos, conditioners and a majority of hair care products with medicinal properties. This strong essential oil is a triple threat to the scalp dryness as it contains anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. All these help reduce scalp dryness in no time.
Tea tree oil is very powerful and is not recommended to use in its undiluted form. You will need a carrier oil or water to dilute the oil. Don’t add more than 10 drops of tea tree oil to any carrier oil.
- Add 5-10 drops of tea tree oil to a carrier oil (coconut/ olive/ sweet almond oil etc.)
- Massage the scalp with this oil to reduce the itchiness and dryness of scalp.
- Leave the oil on your scalp overnight or for few hours before washing it off.
Jojoba Oil enhances Production of Sebum
Jojoba oil, in fact, resembles sebum. Sebum is nothing but the oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of your body that keeps the skin and hair moisturized. The sebaceous glands are also called oil glands. However, excessive secretion of sebum leads to oily skin and scalp giving rise to such problems as acne and clogged pores. Dry scalp obviously lacks sebum production. Jojoba oil serves dual purpose. It acts like sebum on your scalp and also stimulates the secretion of oil from the glands.
- Add a few drops of jojoba oil to your regular hair oil or coconut oil
- Massage your scalp with this.
- You can also add jojoba oil to your shampoo or conditioner.
Peppermint Oil regulates the pH balance of Dry Scalp
Managing the pH balance is not just essential for your scalp and skin but also for overall good health. Just the right levels of pH prevents dry or excessive oily skin and scalp. Imbalanced pH level (more acidic level in the body) leads to a lot of health conditions and affect skin in many ways. To regulate the pH levels in your scalp, use peppermint oil.
Peppermint oil neutralizes the oil production in the scalp while balancing its pH level. It also provides quick relief from itchiness that accompanies dry scalp.
- Add a few drops of peppermint oil to your regular hair oil and massage scalp with this.
- You may also add drops of peppermint oil to your shampoo.
Of course, you should also focus on eating a healthy diet including more alkaline foods(fruits and raw vegetables etc.) and excluding the acidic foods (fried, spicy and junk food).
Cool Aloe Vera soothes Dry Scalp
Get rid of dry scalp easily just by using aloe vera gel. Aloe vera gel has been used for centuries to cure many skin and hair conditions. The cooling properties, moisturizing ability, cleansing and balancing effects of aloe vera is your remedy if your scalp dryness troubles you a lot. The succulent plant is a miraculous remedy for a number of hair problems, not to mention, dry scalp too.
How to use aloe vera gel for scalp dryness?
You can use the fresh gel in many forms to reduce the scalp dryness. Just scoop out the fresh aloe gel from the plant. Blend the gel to get even consistency and apply it.
- You can apply the fresh gel on scalp, just like oil.
- Add a few drops of essential oil like tea tree oil or peppermint oil to the gel and apply to the scalp.
- Add the gel to the shampoo or conditioner.
- Rub the inner part of the aloe vera plant on the scalp. The rind also contains nutrients and moisturize the scalp.
Let the gel stay on the scalp at least for 30 minutes.
If you have a cold body or prone to catch cold too often, don’t use aloe vera. It has instant cooling effect on the whole body, not just on the scalp.
Eggs nourish the Dry Scalp
Sometimes your hair needs more than oil massage. In addition to regular scalp massage with oil, you can try this nourishing deep treatment for dry scalp.
Eggs act as a deep conditioning treatment on the dry scalp. They provide a lot of moisture to the scalp and nourish your hair follicles. Hair is made of proteins and so are eggs. Eggs make the best bet for nourishing your dry scalp.
- Two or three egg yolks
- Two teaspoons of any choice of oil (olive oil, coconut oil or sesame oil)
- A few drops of water to balance the mixture
The above mentioned quantity is sufficient for medium length hair. You can increase or decrease the quantity according to the length of your hair.
- Blend the ingredients well and make it a soft paste.
- Apply the paste on the shampooed hair and scalp. The hair should be damp, but not dry or wet. (After washing the hair, squeeze the excess water and keep the hair damp)
- Let the mixture stay on scalp and hair for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Rinse the hair with warm water. If you use hot water, the eggs will scramble!!! (Never rinse the hair with hot water; it damages your hair and makes scalp drier)
Eggs may not smell nice on your hair. So, you can add a few drops of any aromatic essential oil to the mixture or the water you use to rinse hair after egg treatment. Don’t apply conditioner after using the egg mixture.
Quick Solutions to Treat Dry Scalp with Itchiness
You cannot avoid itchiness when you get dry scalp. In fact, the flakes and itchiness are the two signs that enable you recognize that your scalp is dry. Scratching your head often don’t just embarrass you but also makes the condition severe. Following are some quick remedies to reduce itchiness due to dry scalp.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse for Dry and Itchy Scalp
Apple Cider Vinegar contains anti-inflammatory properties and it can treat dry scalp caused by infections. Just like peppermint oil, ACV also helps in neutralizing the pH level of your scalp. It helps in reducing the dryness of the scalp as well reduces itchiness, in just a single wash. ACV rinse also reduces the visible flakes of dry scalp.
How to make it?
Take equal portion of Apple Cider Vinegar and water, mix it well. The quantity should be sufficient to wet the scalp.
- Add the rinse to the spray bottle. Alternatively, you can soak a cotton ball and apply it on scalp.
- Spray the mixture from root to the tip of the hair.
- Make sure, the mixture is applied all over scalp.
- Comb the hair gently and tie the hair.
- Rinse the hair with warm (not hot) water after 10 to 15 minutes.
Try this once a week and always dilute Apple Cider Vinegar with water. You should wash the hair the day before when you use ACV rinse. In fact, it’s better to use the ACV rinse instantly on damp hair after shampooing. The hair and scalp should be clean when you apply ACV rinse to get rid of scalp dryness.
Use lemon to get rid of dry scalp and itchiness instantly
Lemon has antiseptic properties and reduces itchiness as well as scalp dryness instantly. If you have too much visible flakes due to dry scalp, that appears more like dandruff, you can apply fresh and raw lemon on scalp. If you suffer from itchiness but not visible flakes, dilute lemon with water.
Lemon removes dead skin cells of the scalp and aids in growth of fresh and healthy cells.
- 3 to 4 lemons
- Cotton Ball
- Cut fresh lemon in halves and squeeze the juice.
- Add equal parts of water and blend it well.
- Soak a cotton ball and apply the mixture all over scalp.
- Massage the scalp with your fingers.
- You can also rub the inner part of the lemon rind on the scalp.
- Rinse your hair with warm water (not hot water).
You can use lemon twice a week. After using lemon, you should not use strong shampoo. Just go for some mild shampoo or simply rinse the hair with warm water. It also makes your hair glow!
Do’s and Don’ts to Get rid of Dry Scalp
Dry scalp is triggered by many reasons, as mentioned earlier. If you suspect your scalp is dry or prone to dryness during seasonal changes or otherwise, stick to the following.
Regularly apply oil to the hair. Application of oil locks the natural moisture in the scalp and hair as well as prevents dryness.
Shampoos and Conditioners:
Shampoos are meant for cleaning the scalp and hair whereas conditioners soften and soothe your hair. Although shampoos and conditioners don’t moisturize the scalp, wrong choice of shampoo can make the scalp dry.
- Use natural shampoo or organic shampoo.
- Switch your shampoo immediately if you notice dryness of scalp after every wash.
- Wash your hair two times a week and massage your hair with oil before washing.
- If you use hair conditioner choose moisturizing conditioner.
Choose shampoo and conditioners that are free from Sulphate! Never use any hair care products that contain alcohol! Check the ingredients before you buy.
Hydrate from Inside
Drink a lots of water and liquids (healthy ones though) to stay hydrated from inside out. Lack of moisture or hydration from internally, manifests on skin and scalp.
Fats and Oils in your Diet
Include fats and oils in your diet. Fat is an essential nutrient that keeps the skin lubricated, supple and moistened. Go for healthy fats like those found in nuts, avocados, coconut etc.
Embrace healthy diet
Feed your scalp and hair by feeding your body the right way! Eat a lot of greens and fresh fruits.
Enhance the effectiveness of shampoo and conditioner
You can add a few drops of tea tree oil, aloe vera, or lemon juice to your regular shampoo and conditioner. This helps cure dry scalp.
Dry the hair naturally
Excessive heat damages your scalp and makes it dry. If you have the habit of using hair dryer, stop it immediately to get rid of scalp dryness. Using hair dryer removes the natural oils and moisture from the scalp. So, dry the hair naturally.
Let the hair and scalp breathe natural air
Constant exposure to air conditioner or centralized cooling reduces the moisture from your whole body, not just the scalp. So, avoid exposure to artificial cold temperature constantly for hours.
Washing hair too often
Don’t wash your hair too often. Too much water exposure removes the natural moisture from the scalp, and makes it dry.
No hot and cold showers
Never take excessively hot or cold shower. Hot water damages the scalp skin and cold water clogs pores of the scalp. Always wash your hair with warm water or the one at room temperature.
No to cosmetic hair treatments
Avoid cosmetic hair treatments like hair coloring or straightening the hair too often.
Don’t over style your hair
Don’t change your hairstyle using hair styling equipment’s too often. These equipment use heat to change your hairstyle. They snatch the moisture away from your scalp.
Avoid exposure to extreme climate conditions
Don’t expose your hair to extreme climates like heavy wind, direct sunlight during the hottest hours of the day or harsh winters. Wear a cap or a shawl to protect the hair.
Don’t use leave-in conditioner or dry shampoo
Conditioner moisturizers hair, not the scalp. So, if you use leave-in hair conditioner or dry shampoo, they will trigger dryness of scalp and make it flaky.
This is certainly bad news for coffee lovers. If you drink more than two cups of coffee a day, your scalp get drier more often. Also, avoid carbonated beverages.
If your drink more coffee when you are young, be assured that you get chronic dryness of scalp as you grow old!
Cut down sugary treats
Eliminate sugar and sugary treats from your diet. Eating too much sugar leads to dry flakes on scalp.
If you cannot find any improvement after trying these home remedies for dry scalp and changing your routine, visit a dermatologist or tricologist immediately. When self-help is ineffective, medical intervention is what you need. You can even get some prescription shampoos and hair care products to get rid of dry scalp. Sometimes, your health condition may be a major reason for the scalp dryness. Only a doctor can diagnose the right cause when you cannot find a right solution yourself.
Healthy diet and a proper hair care routine, using right hair care products and protection against extreme climate conditions help a lot in getting rid of dry scalp!