Has your itchy, dry scalp become a cause of constant worry and anxiety? No matter which season or weather, an itchy, scaly, and dry scalp can cause discomfort and embarrassment.
Before delving into the treatment and preventive measures, it is imperative to first identify the root cause of dry scalp. This will help you to correctly tackle your dry scalp issue and ensure it doesn’t recur to trouble you.
Scroll down to know the causes, symptoms, treatments, and preventive measures for dry scalp.
What Causes Dry Scalp?
Irritation, flaking, and continuous itching  are indicators that you have dry skin type. This means that your skin doesn’t produce adequate amounts of natural oils to keep it naturally moisturized, hydrated, and nourished. Similarly, your scalp may also turn dry and flaky with the same symptoms.
Here are a few causes of dry scalp:
1. Frequently Shampooing
Frequently shampooing your hair strips away the natural oils present in your scalp, which helps in hydrating and nourishing your hair and scalp. With prolonged washing, you may dry out your scalp and hair to such an extent where your scalp becomes dry and itchy, and your hair becomes dry and brittle, leading to hair breakage.
How many times you can rinse your hair depends on your hair condition and type. If you have coarse and thick hair, you may only have to wash once a week to keep your hair fresh and clean. If you have fine, thin hair, then you may have to at least wash twice a week to keep your scalp and hair clean.
2. Overuse Of Hairstyling Products
A dry scalp which itches, turns red, and flakes after shampooing could be a symptom of contact dermatitis. The scalp allergy occurs when you use specific haircare and styling products such as soaps, shampoos, masks, dyes, and serums in your hair.
After dyeing your hair black, if you observe an allergic reaction, it may be due to the presence of PPD in the black hair dye.
3. Weather & Seasonal Changes
During the winter season in extreme cold climatic conditions, there is a severe drop in humidity in the air. This extreme weather condition leaves your skin dry and itchy, including your scalp and hair. Also, in the hot summertime, you may experience a dry, red and itchy scalp.
Eczema is a highly prevalent skin disorder which affects men, women, and children. It generally leaves your scalp extremely dry, itchy, red, and cracked.
A type of eczema known as atopic eczema primarily affects individuals who have some form of an allergy. It is also hereditary in nature and affects generations in the family.
Stress, seasonal changes, chemical-laden hairstyling products, and harsh chemicals in hair dye may lead to the development of eczema patches in your scalp. Additionally, you may also experience dry and itchy skin on your face, elbows, hands, and knees.
5. Scalp Psoriasis
Psoriasis adversely impacts your immune system and stimulates abnormal production of skin cells in your body. These extra cells then form a thick layer on your skin’s uppermost section, creating scaly, itchy patches known as plaques.
Psoriasis can affect your nails, back, feet, hands, ears, and face. Also, it may cause the appearance of itchy patches on the back of your neck, forehead, and scalp.
Symptoms Of Dry Scalp
When your skin is dehydrated and it has very less moisture content, you tend to experience dryness in your scalp. Due to less moisture content, your scalp becomes dry, irritated, and flaky. When you experience dryness in your scalp, the skin on various other areas of your body becomes dry and itchy too.
The symptoms of dry scalp include:
- Itchy skin
- Hair loss
How To Get Rid Of Dry Scalp?
While you identify the primary cause of dry scalp, you should avoid scratching and aggressively rubbing your scalp. The act of scratching further irritates your scalp and may worsen your existing condition.
By following a few simple yet effective home remedies and Ayurvedic treatments, you can tackle the issue of dry scalp. However, if the scalp issue still persists with no relief, then you must consult a knowledgeable dermatologist or Ayurvedic physician for correct diagnosis and treatment.
A. Ayurvedic Treatments For Dry Scalp
Thalapothichil is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy for treating dry scalp, dandruff, and various other scalp conditions. The proven treatment involves massaging your scalp and hair with prescribed herbal oils, followed by smearing herbal extracts and medicated pastes onto your hair and scalp.
The medicated pastes include Ayurvedic herbs such as Panchagandha, Amlaki, Musta, and others which are finely grounded to form a thick hair and scalp mask. This holistic treatment helps in nourishing and hydrating your scalp, and revitalizes your hair follicles, thereby minimizing dryness of your scalp.
2. Self-Head Massage With Herbal Oils
In Ayurveda, a therapeutic head massage is recommended at least once in two weeks for balancing the doshas in your system and reinvigorating your hair and scalp health. Herbal oils with active ingredients such as brahmi, neem , and various other potent herbs improve blood circulation in your scalp, which also helps in providing essential nutrients to your hair follicles.
As per the ancient Ayurvedic texts, regular massaging of the scalp with herbal and medicated oils balances the vata dosha and minimizes hair loss. Additionally, it also helps in preventing dryness of hair and scalp.
3. Ayurvedic Herbs
Since ancient times, medicinal herbs have played an important part in Ayurveda as they offered a potent cure to various types of ailments, disorders and conditions. These are derived from a plant source, wherein the resin, bark, roots, seeds, fruits, flowers, and leaves are utilized to prepare herbal formulations and medications.
Below are few such medicinal herbs which help you effectively manage and prevent dry scalp condition:
Brahmi is well-known for its efficacy to soothe, calm, and quiet the mind, stimulating a serene tranquillity. Additionally, it also nourishes and rejuvenates your hair, scalp, and digestive tract. This beneficial property makes it an essential support for any hair care regime.
Popularly known as the “king of the hair”, bhringaraj is a soothing herb which stimulates and nourishes the roots of hair. It is well-known for its ability to protect your natural hair colour and texture, stimulate hair growth, as well as calm and soothe your mind. It is a potent herb which effectively balances the three doshas, especially the pitta dosha which is known to damage the hair and hair follicles, cause dryness in your scalp and premature greying of hair.
Amla is a well-known ingredient of triphala. A powerful rejuvenative, Amla is a rich source of natural antioxidants. It is extremely beneficial for your bone and hair health, making it a popular ingredient in several hair care regimes. It helps in preventing dryness of your scalp as it is a pitta-pacifying agent, which helps in expulsion of ama from your system.
4. Ayurvedic Supplements
A few Ayurvedic supplements which you can ingest as regular dietary supplements may help you prevent scalp dryness:
- Chalmogra oil
- Neem capsules
- Guduchyadi taila
- Amla juice
- Arogyavardhini Vati
- Kaishore guggulu
Always seek advice from a knowledgeable Ayurvedic physician before taking any Ayurvedic medications, herbs, or supplements.
B. Shampoo For Dry Scalp
If you are experiencing mild itching along with dryness of scalp, then you can try switching your regular shampoo with a mild, herbal and medicated shampoo for effectively tackling your scalp condition.
Instead of choosing a chemical-laden, harsh shampoo for your hair, you may try choosing a mild hair cleanser with active ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and coconut oil. All of these ingredients help in alleviating dryness and itching.
C. Essential Oils For Dry Scalp
Essential oils are well-known for deeply nourishing and hydrating your hair along with cleansing the vulnerable skin of your scalp. Below is a list of essential oils which help in alleviating scalp dryness:
The essential oil is a popular choice in various skincare routines. A mild and gentle essential oil, lavender is well-known for its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
2. Tea Tree
Tea tree oil helps in hair growth as it stimulates your hair follicles. It is also a potent essential oil as it has antifungal properties.
The essential oil is well-known for its antibacterial and antioxidant properties which stimulate and nourish your scalp, and boost hair growth.
The essential oil with a woody essence protects your scalp from fungal and bacterial growth due to its antiseptic property. It also acts as a natural heat protectant for your hair and scalp.
The citrusy essential oil is a popular cleansing oil, which helps in managing oily hair as well as strengthening your hair follicles. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it protects your scalp from itching and dryness.
How To Use Essential Oil In Your Scalp
- You may add a few drops of any essential oils, such as tea tree oil, in your regular shampoo, hair mask, or conditioner before using.
- You can prepare a nourishing hair mask by adding a few drops of essential oil of your choice with a suitable carrier oil, such as almond or coconut oil, and apply it to your hair and scalp. Leave it for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it thoroughly with water.
D. Home Remedies For Dry Scalp
Before visiting a dermatologist or physician, you may try a few simple yet effective home remedies to treat and manage your dry scalp. These include:
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been extensively used in various skincare and haircare routines for its numerous benefits. It deeply nourishes and moisturizes your dry scalp, and its antibacterial and antifungal properties protect your scalp from any further infections. Additionally, it is an excellent remedy for treating atopic dermatitis.
How To Use Coconut Oil:
- Take a small amount of pure coconut oil and apply it directly onto your hair and scalp.
- Gently massage the oil into your skin and leave it for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Rinse your hair with a mild, herbal shampoo.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera  is extremely beneficial for hydrating and nourishing your dry skin, including your dry scalp. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera may minimize irritation and itching in your scalp, as well as deeply moisturize your scalp.
How To Use Aloe Vera:
- Take an aloe vera leaf, slice it open, and extract the gel from within the leaf.
- Apply the freshly extracted gel directly onto your scalp and leave it for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with normal water.
- You may also take oral supplements and juice of aloe vera for tackling dry skin condition.
Before you take any aloe vera oral supplement, consult your doctor as it also acts as a powerful laxative which may cause you inconvenience.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, also known as ACV, offers you a multitude of hair, skin, and health benefits. It's antifungal and antibacterial properties help in preventing scalp infections which may result in a dry, itchy scalp. Additionally, it also cleanses and exfoliates your dry scalp.
How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar:
- Dilute one cup of apple cider vinegar with two cups of distilled water.
- Apply the diluted vinegar directly onto your scalp and hair.
- Leave it for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it off with a mild, herbal shampoo.
4. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel has been used for a long time in herbal medicine due to its quick itch-relief action, especially for sensitive and dry skin type. Also, it is used to minimize inflammation and redness which may lead to a dry scalp condition due to specific conditions. A potent astringent, Witch hazel effectively soothes and calms your dry scalp condition.
How To Use Witch Hazel:
- Dilute one part of liquid witch hazel with two parts of a carrier oil or distilled water.
- Gently massage the formulation onto your scalp and leave it for 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse it off with a mild, herbal shampoo.
5. Olive Oil & Baking Soda
Baking soda is a potent antibacterial and antifungal ingredient, whereas olive oil is a known moisturizing and nourishing oil. When combined, both the ingredients can help exfoliate and nourish your dry scalp condition. Apart from moisturizing your dry scalp, both the ingredients also help in treating dandruff.
How To Use Olive Oil & Baking Soda:
- In a mixing bowl, take both the ingredients in equal amounts.
- Apply the mask onto your scalp and hair, and leave it for 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse it off with a mild, herbal shampoo.
Bananas are in general moisturizing and nourishing, making them an excellent remedy for dry scalp. Due to their antimicrobial property, bananas also help in fighting off scalp infections.
How To Use Banana:
- Blend or mash a banana and add a tbsp of olive oil or coconut oil. blending helps in ease of application and rinsing.
- Apply the mixture onto your scalp and hair and leave it for 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse it off with a mild, herbal shampoo.
7. Egg & Yogurt
The wonderful combination of eggs and yogurt offer you quick relief from dry and itchy scalp. Yogurt helps in gently cleansing and exfoliating your scalp, whereas the rich protein content of egg yolk deeply conditions and nourishes your hair and scalp.
How To Use Egg & Yogurt:
- Take a single well-beaten egg, and add a tbsp of plain yogurt in a mixing bowl.
- Apply the mask onto your hair and scalp, and gently massage for a few minutes.
- Leave it for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with a mild, herbal shampoo.
8. Jojoba Oil
Similar to coconut oil, jojoba oil is considered as an effective treatment for managing and preventing dry scalp condition. The anti-inflammatory property of jojoba oil also helps in alleviating itching and redness in your scalp.
How To Use Jojoba Oil:
- For treating dry scalp, you may add a few drops in your regular shampoo or conditioner.
- This helps in hydrating and conditioning your hair and while cleansing, and prevents further dryness of your scalp.
Avocado has polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids which help in protecting and nourishing your skin, including your dry scalp. It is an excellent moisturizing agent for your skin.
How To Use Avocado:
- You may either use blended or mashed avocado or avocado oil topically on your scalp and hair.
- If you’re using blended or mashed avocado onto your scalp, then add a few drops of olive oil or coconut oil before application.
- Leave it for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off with a mild, herbal shampoo.
Vedix Tip: If you’re looking for an extra boost and shine along with relief from dry scalp, you may blend both banana and avocado to use as a nourishing and hydrating hair mask.
How To Prevent Dry Scalp?
By following a few simple yet effective preventive measures, you may be better equipped to tackle the issue of dry scalp condition. These simple everyday tips include:
1. Be Gentle
If you already have a dry, itchy, and red scalp, then avoid using harsh, chemical-laden shampoos with sulphates as they could be further stripping away the natural oils and moisture. Use mild, hydrating hair care products which don’t cause any further irritation to your scalp.
Mild formulations containing active ingredients such as peppermint, spirulina, kale, and coconut oil help in restoring the natural balance of your scalp and control sebum production.
2. Eat Mindfully
You may be overlooking a simple fact that is similar to any other part of your body; your scalp requires equal nutrients from the food that you daily consume.
Maximize your daily intake of Omega-3 fatty acids  that help maintain your scalp’s moisture content as well as minimize inflammation arising from an inflamed scalp. Try and include seeds, nuts, walnuts, almonds, and fish in your daily diet.
3. Switch Up Your Hair Care Routine Seasonally
Your scalp tends to be drier and itchier in the winter season, as the weather becomes harsh and cold. One of the best ways to tackle scalp dryness is regular application of hair masks which help minimize the appearance of flakes as well as hydrate and nourish your scalp.
You can begin with a reparative or moisturizing formulation which can be used once a week for hydration. Jojoba oil and coconut oil are excellent moisturizers, which condition and strengthen the hydro-lipid layer in your hair.
4. Be Careful With Your Hairstyling Products
One of the major culprits of dry scalp condition is your hairstyling products and tools. Chemical-laden sprays, creams, serums, and gels can leave product build-up on your scalp and hair, leading to itchy and dry scalp.
A few other hair products may contain ingredients which may lead to the development of contact dermatitis infection from allergies or irritation. Excessive usage of hair dryer, ironing tools and blower may also cause scalp dryness.
5. Pick Quality Over Quantity
You may experience dryness in your scalp depending on the number of times you shampoo your hair. Excessively cleansing your hair can dry out your scalp. On the other hand, not washing your hair regularly may lead to a build-up of impurities and dead skin cells. The remedy is to choose a balancing cleanser and rinse your hair at least 2-3 times in a week.
6. Keep It Cool
If you have a dry, itchy scalp, then be careful of the water temperature you use to rinse your hair. Using hot water for shampooing can dry out your hair and scalp further, making it more damage prone and susceptible to external pollutants.
Before rinsing your hair, ensure that you either use cold, normal, or lukewarm water for shampooing. Always follow it up with a cold rinse to close your open hair cuticles. The cold rinse boosts natural shine and improves blood circulation in your hair and scalp.
If you’re experiencing continued scalp dryness which is uncomfortable and painful, then you should immediately seek medical advice to identify the underlying causative agent like eczema or psoriasis, which should be timely diagnosed and treated.
Can A Dry Scalp Cause Hair Loss?
Sensitive, itchy, and dry scalp can be associated with hair breakage and hair loss. Application of topical, chemical-based hair loss treatments may even lead to burning sensation along with itching and dryness in your scalp.
Dandruff is another scalp condition which affects at least men, women, and adolescents. This scalp condition further causes dryness in your scalp along with itching.
An itchy, dry scalp due to dandruff may have an adverse impact on your normal hair growth. It may cause hair breakage and hair loss if left unchecked.
When To See A Doctor?
If you are unable to find a suitable remedy for your dry scalp condition on your own, then it is time to seek medical advice from your dermatologist or Ayurvedic physician.
The underlying reason can be due to a specific, unknown health condition. For example, seborrheic dermatitis and eczema can cause the appearance of dandruff. However, it is actually a result of overproduction of natural oils and sebum which must be treated differently than an itchy, dry scalp occurring due to less sebum production.
Try and keep your hair and scalp clean and well-moisturized, but seek immediate medical attention if you’re still facing a challenge.
The Last Word
A dry scalp can be uncomfortable, however; it is curable with simple and effective home remedies and Ayurvedic treatments. By following a healthy diet along with a gentle and natural hair care routine, you may be able to say goodbye to your dry scalp condition.Know Your Dosha Now
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