Dry scalp is a fairly common problem faced by many of us at some or the other time in life. Some of us have a dry scalp since birth. One reason is a strong heredity. If one of your parents have always complained of an itchy dry scalp then be careful, they might have passed it on to you.
1. Excessive hairdrying or brushing
2. Excessive cold weather
3. Excessive treatments like dyeing
4. Excessively hot or windy weather
These all act as irritants for the scalp and result in excessive dryness. Symptoms of a dry scalp are a feeling of itchiness and tightness on the scalp when you comb or tie your hair. Even small flakes might appear. If these flakes get secondarily infected then they might lead to saeborrhic dermatitis caused by a fungus. This results in greasy, yellow and oily flakes. It causes intense itching. This is especially with people having a tendency for saeborrhic dermatitis generally. Dry scalp treatment is essential as it gives you an uneasy sensation every time you comb your hair.
- Make sure you switch to deep conditioning shampoos and conditioners. But make sure you are not shampooing your hair too often. That itself can lead to loss of natural oils and hair proteins which are essential to maintain the softness and shine. Avoid using chemical based shampoos and try using the herbal or natural variants. They are milder in general.
- When you wash your hair, avoid hot water, instead use cool water.
- When you are out in the sun, make sure you cover your head with a large enough hat or a scarf or stole. Use light coloured, light weight stoles. They help reflectaway the sunlight and reduce insensible loss of moisture from the scalp.
- Avoid doing chemical treatments to your hair till the scalp is healthy again.
- Avoid excessive combing as it will lead to further drying and flaking.
- Avoid dyeing your hair even with apparently herbal dyes.
- Rub in half a cup of warmed coconut, neem or olive oil or a mixture of all of them. Part the hair in many sections and rub the oil gently in the scalp at the root of your hair liberally. Wrap up your head with a steamed hot towel or a shower cap for 15-20 minutes. This will allow the oil to penetrate the hair follicles and roots and nourish them deeply to reduce the dryness and itch. You might wash off your hair immediately if you are too conscious about the way you look or leave it over night and wash it off the next morning. Do this at least once every fortnight. Even if the scalp is not dry anymore, you may continue this therapy for better hair texture and a healthier scalp. Some people swear by this method of dry scalp treatment.
- Massage your scalp with or without oil. Massaging helps increase the blood circulation. A good circulation helps maintain the vitality of the scalp and hair follicles.
- You may use shea butter or mix it with olive oil and massage it into the scalp for deep natural conditioning.
- Consume a diet rich in Vitamin A, B, C and trace elements like zinc, manganese, magnesium, copper and cobalt. These although required in extremely small amounts are vital for a healthy skin and scalp. Yellow orange fruits like oranges, mangoes, papaya are rich in vitamin A and citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C. Sprouts and dark green vegetables are rich in vitamin B complex. Trace elements are maximum in dark green vegetables, meat,
If none of these methods used for dry scalp treatment seem to be helping then don’t waste any more time in seeking help from a qualified dermatologist. You might be suffering from a graver disease like psoriasis, eczema or lichen planus which shall need special and appropriate medical treatment. Alternatively, you can try medicines like homeopathy which are known to be extremely useful in skin and hair conditions.
- Dr. Rachita Narsaria