How To Treat Dry Scalp, According To Experts
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On our list of annoying beauty problems we have, a dry scalp is in the top 10. There’s nothing fun about dealing with a dry, itchy, and flaky scalp day in and day out. “Is it dandruff? Could you feel a negative reaction to styling products? Or could a dry, tight scalp suggest something more serious? If you ask yourself these questions, you know that it can be difficult to find the root cause of your dry scalp. So we spoke to three scalp and hair experts to learn more about the causes and treatments of dry scalp.
What Are the Causes of a Dry Scalp?
Nicole Williams, head of hair care brand creation and communications, Headquarters, explains that a dry scalp can be caused by several factors. “Some of these can be an individual’s predisposition to dry skin, sunburn, or environmental changes,” she says. New Jersey-certified dermatologist and founder of NJ’s Skin Cancer and Cosmetic Surgery Center Adriana Lombardi, MD, adds that bleaching, shampooing, or using alcohol-based hair products can also exacerbate dry scalp and irritated.
Sometimes, however, a dry scalp can result from something a little less obvious. Penny James Salon certified trichologist Penny James says it could be due to a thyroid problem or extreme stress. “Hypothyroidism often results in dry skin, a dry scalp, brittle hair and hair loss,” she says. Increased stress levels can also trigger itchy and dry scalp. The disease is called neurodermatitis, and research shows that it can cause itchy, flaky, or red skin due to extreme stress, anxiety, emotional trauma, or depression.
What is the difference between dry scalp and dandruff?
Understanding the difference between dry scalp and dandruff can be tricky, given the similarities, such as itching and dandruff. However, the causes of these two conditions are different. “Dandruff is different from a dry scalp because it is caused by fungal overgrowth of the scalp, leaving a thicker white scale and leading to excessive sebum production,” says Dr. Lombardi.
A dry scalp, on the other hand, is simply dry skin. The best way to tell the difference is to watch the flakes. If it is dandruff, your scalp will be oily and you will notice thicker and more oily white or yellow flakes. If it is a dry scalp, the flakes will appear smaller and dry. Another way to find out is your skin type. If you have dry skin on the rest of the body, Williams says you may also experience a dry scalp.
How to get rid of a dry scalp?
The way you hydrate the dry skin on your face and body is how you should take care of your dry scalp. Use moisturizers and avoid styling products that dry out your hair and scalp. “Treat it by using moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, scalp treatments, using a humidifier at night, and decreasing bleaching, frequency of hair washing, and use of alcohol-based hair products.” , explains Dr. Lombardi.
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The frequency with which you need to wash your hair depends on several factors such as the type of hair and skin, but if you are struggling with perpetual scalp dryness, avoid washing your scalp with daily hair. hot water as this could deprive the skin of necessary hydration. Instead, use lukewarm water, and when it’s wash day, Williams recommends sticking with moisturizers, like the brand’s dry root cleansing shampoo and hydrating conditioner.
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James also recommends using a nourishing mask infused with soothing ingredients like moisturizing vitamin E, shea butter, and castor oil on the scalp once a week. “All of these ingredients combined will restore the moisture that skin and hair so badly need,” she says. (The Maria Nila Head and Hair Heal Mask is a great option that prevents and treats dryness and dandruff by hydrating the scalp and hair. It is also suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin.) Likewise she says to stay away from dry shampoo as they tend to dry out the hair and scalp.
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If you find that your dry scalp isn’t improving despite incorporating these expert-approved tips into your routine, Williams recommends speaking with your dermatologist or trichologist to find the treatment plan that’s right for you.