7 Causes for Dry Scalp & How to Remedy It
Dry skin anywhere on the body can be uncomfortable and itchy, but a dry scalp can be especially tough. Many find scalp itching to be embarrassing as well as painful, as scratching can result in flakes. And while scratching a dry scalp may provide temporary relief, it can also cause serious irritation and injury to the skin.
While there are many options for treating a dry scalp, you first have to identify what is causing the dryness. As it turns out, the culprits can be anything from product ingredients to skin conditions. Keep reading for what the top causes of dry scalp are...
Shampoo With Sulfates
Many ingredients develop bad reputations, but they aren't always deserved. Sulfates are one of these ingredients. They can strip the hair and scalp of oil for a deep clean and leave you feeling squeaky clean after a wash (and sometimes, that's necessary). It generally comes down to the type of sulfate you're using and how frequently, based on your hair type and texture.
However, when diagnosing a dry scalp, our experts name sulfates as a top culprit. Sulfates are among the most common irritants in shampoos. Products that are harsh on your scalp can cause excess dryness and lead to itching. Try sticking to shampoos with more natural ingredients, including hydrating ingredients.
For dry scalp due to dryness and irritation from sulfates, also switch to a sulfate-free shampoo and a non-irritating hair care regimen and see if that helps.
Using Irritating Products
Properly-formulated haircare products can help improve signs of dry scalp. Many haircare products contain ingredients and allergens that may cause irritation and inflammation of the scalp, such as fragrance. If you don't have any known allergies or irritants and are experiencing scalp dryness, your first test could be switching to a sulfate-free shampoo and a non-irritating hair care regimen to see if it helps.
Consider incorporating a soothing scalp serum into your haircare routine. Something that helps maintain the scalp's microbiome balance, protects the skin barrier, and provides the essential hydration this unique skin needs to minimize dryness and the appearance of flaking.
Showers That Are Too Hot
There is no better feeling than a hot shower—but your scalp and hair might not enjoy it as much as you do. It’s cautioned that using hot water when rinsing shampoo and conditioner can lead to a dry scalp. There are many benefits to taking colder showers, including helping to prevent scalp dryness. If you want to take a hot shower and don't want to contribute to scalp dryness, consider dropping the water to cooler temps once it comes time to wash and condition your hair.
Reaction to Hair Dye
Picking a hair color is often hard enough, but if you're experiencing a dry scalp, you may need to choose between your hair dye and scalp health. People suffer from a dry scalp due to reactions from hair dye and the most common allergen in hair dye is paraphenylenediamine (also known as PPD).
If you're finding your scalp dryness often occurs after coloring your hair, then PPD may be the cause. If you decide to eliminate PPD from your beauty routine, there are other options. There are hair dyes formulated without PP and natural alternatives that may not have the same negative side effects.
Often overlooked, environmental factors like cold air and sun exposure can definitely be the reason behind dry scalp. The environmental factors that contribute to dry scalp are often out of our control, but we can take precautions to reduce the damage caused by extreme cold and harmful UV rays.
Cold damage can be prevented by ensuring the hair and scalp are completely dry before leaving your home after a shower and wearing a hat when out in the cold (especially if it is raining or snowing). And it's just as important to protect your scalp from sun damage as any other skin on the body, as the risk for skin cancer is still present in addition to scalp dryness. Be sure to apply a scalp sunscreen to any exposed scalp skin, especially your part.
If you're experiencing a dry, itchy scalp, one of the most common causes is dandruff, also known as seborrheic dermatitis. Dandruff is an inflammatory reaction to an overgrowth of a yeast called malessezia on the skin. Dandruff can cause itching, dryness, and flaking, which may lead you to wash your hair less out of fear of making the scalp dryer.
However, dandruff can be exacerbated by not washing your hair frequently enough.
The treatment for dandruff is typically medicated shampoos with ingredients like zinc pyrithione to target the yeast, and you can find several over-the-counter products to treat dandruff at home.
Inflammatory Skin Conditions
Sometimes a dry scalp is not just a dry scalp. If you suddenly develop a dry scalp that does not respond to simple changes like the ones outlined above, your scalp dryness may be a symptom of a larger issue. Several inflammatory skin conditions can lead to dry scalp, such as eczema or psoriasis. Psoriasis commonly affects the scalp and leads to dryness and flaking, which could be confused for other behavioral causes.
If you are dealing with persistent scalp dryness, flaking, or itching, consult a dermatologist for an expert opinion. While many dry scalp causes can be treated at home, others may require medical attention or prescription treatments to resolve. For the right sulfate free shampoo and conditioner, along with natural skin care, look no further than Wild Naturals!