5 Tips to Get Rid of Dry Scalp
Dealing with itchy scalp and stubborn, white flakes? Find out how to get rid of dry scalp fast with these five helpful tips.
Can’t stop scratching your head? Seeing white flakes dust your shoulders? If so, you might have a dry scalp.
Depending on the severity of your condition, a dry scalp can be a minor annoyance or an incredibly embarrassing problem. If you’ve finally had enough with the constant itching and flakiness, it’s time to get rid of it for good.
Here are a few things you need to know about how to get rid of a dry scalp:
- Dry scalp may be caused by washing hair too often using sulfate shampoos and underlying skin conditions
- Dry scalp is often confused for dandruff, which requires a different method of treatment
- The best way to get rid of your dry scalp is by restoring moisture to your skin
Want to restore moisture to your dehydrated skin? Here’s how to get rid of a dry scalp, once and for all.
1. Avoid Washing Hair Daily
Washing hair too often is perhaps the most common cause of dry scalp. If you find yourself scrubbing your scalp every day with shampoo, it’s time to pump the brakes and rethink your hair care routine.
The truth is that the vast majority of people don’t need to shampoo their hair every day. Washing your hair too much will strip the natural oils from your scalp, resulting in dry skin and white flakes.
So, how often should you wash your hair to promote a healthy scalp? Although it mostly depends on your hair type, the average person should stick to washing their hair every three days or so.
2. Choose a Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Another sneaky cause of dry scalp is the sulfates in your shampoo. These controversial chemicals act as cleaning agents in many shampoos.
The main problem with sulfates is that they’re often too good at their job, which can lead to problems such as dry scalp, brittle hair and skin irritation. According to a 1996 study published in Contact Dermatitis, individuals with lower levels of ceramides—waxy lipid molecules on the skin—were more susceptible to experiencing skin irritation due to sulfates (see claim: “Our findings suggest that low levels of these ceramides may determine a proclivity to SLS-induced irritant contact dermatitis.”)
The two most common sulfates to watch for include sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. If you see either ingredients on the back of your shampoo, consider switching to a sulfate-free shampoo that will be much gentler on your scalp.
3. Use a Leave-in Conditioner
Cold weather, harsh shampoos, dry skin—no matter what the underlying cause of your dry scalp, the ultimate goal is to restore moisture to the scalp. To do that, let us introduce you to the amazing benefits of leave-in conditioner.
Not only will a leave-in conditioner restore hydration to your scalp, it can also make your hair lustrous and healthy-looking. The key is to use leave-in conditioner no more than twice a week to prevent buildup on the scalp.
4. Know the Difference Between Dry Scalp and Dandruff
It’s easy to confuse dry scalp with dandruff. Although both have similar symptoms—namely, itchy scalp and white flakes—they’re actually two distinct conditions that require different forms of treatment.
While dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture on the scalp, dandruff is caused by having too much oil on the scalp. To eliminate your flakes and keep them at bay, try swapping your regular shampoo for an anti-dandruff shampoo.
You can also try a natural remedy for dandruff, such as a topical honey mask for your scalp. According to a 2001 study published in the European Journal of Medical Research, honey has antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties that can improve symptoms of the scalp associated with chronic seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff (see claim: “…crude honey could markedly improve seborrheic dermatitis and associated hair loss and prevent relapse when applied weekly.”)
5. See a Dermatologist
If you’ve tried everything to treat your dry scalp and nothing seems to do the trick, consider seeing your dermatologist. There are several chronic skin conditions that can cause dry scalp, including scalp psoriasis.
Scalp psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes the scalp to become red, itchy and flaky. You might notice scaly patches near your hairline or thick, crusted sores.
If you have scalp psoriasis, seeing a dermatologist is the quickest way to a healthy, hydrated scalp. Your doctor may prescribe a medicated shampoo or oral medication that will help clear up your flakes within a week or two.
Say Bye to Dry!
Getting rid of your dry scalp can be as easy as switching your shampoo or using a leave-in conditioner, while other cases may be difficult to treat. If you’re at your wits’ end, consider seeing a dermatologist sooner rather than later. With your doctor’s help, you can finally figure out how to get rid of dry scalp for good.
di Nardo, A., et al. “Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Induced Irritant Contact Dermatitis: A Correlation Study between Ceramides and in Vivo Parameters of Irritation.” Contact Dermatitis, vol. 35, no. 2, Aug. 1996, pp. 86–91. PubMed, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0536.1996.tb02296.x.
Al-Waili, N. S. “Therapeutic and Prophylactic Effects of Crude Honey on Chronic Seborrheic Dermatitis and Dandruff.” European Journal of Medical Research, vol. 6, no. 7, July 2001, pp. 306–08.