Daily Hair Care for a Dry and Itchy Scalp
February 09, 2018If you find yourself constantly scratching your head—and it is not because you are puzzled about something—then you probably have a dry scalp. Contrary to popular belief, dandruff, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis are not the only causes of an itchy scalp. Even your lifestyle or daily hair care routine can be causing it.
For the most part, a constantly itchy scalp is nothing more than an annoyance, not the sign of a major problem. However, this condition doesn't only come with itchiness. You will get flaking, a tight feeling in your scalp, or more serious consequences, like red patches and soreness, depending on the underlying cause.
Common Causes of Dry and Itchy ScalpOne of these factors (or a combination of several factors) might be the culprit of your dry and itchy scalp.
- Seasonal changes: Some people can find that the cold, dry winter air can strip skin of its natural oils. Others find that their skin, hair, and scalp get drier during the warmer months. Even being exposed to heating or air conditioning can make all the difference for your scalp.
- Naturally dry skin: If you have dry skin, you probably have a dry scalp because your sebaceous glands do not produce enough natural oils due to genetics or underlying medical conditions, or your hair is failing to keep those natural oils locked in due to damage to the outer layer of the scalp. People with dry hair can make things worse by using heat tools, frequently exposing their scalp to the sun or chlorinated water, or by treating their hair chemically with dyes and perms. All these external agents open the hair cuticle, leaving the hair shaft vulnerable to damage. Plus, an open cuticle means that the hair shaft will fail to retain moisture. The best remedy for a naturally dry scalp—regardless of the cause—is to apply extra moisture and reduce exposure to drying agents.
- Your usual shampoo/conditioner: Most shampoos and conditioners contain sulfate surfactants. These detergents make your shampoo bubbly and your conditioner silky (and they also make your scalp dry). Sometimes, all it takes to stop the constant itching is to change your shampoo and use a formula that is does not contain sulfate surfactants and parabens.
- Your hair styling products: Hair styling products like cream, mousse, spray, oil, and wax contain a long list of chemicals, each with a very specific function. Conditioning agents make hair soft, film formers coat hair strands, plasticizers and neutralizers add flexibility and allow formulas to wash out more easily, just to name a few. These chemicals work wonders on hair, but they can irritate the scalp if they are used on a daily basis. What's more, they can build up on your hair and make flaking worse.
- Lifestyle factors: Your scalp can lose moisture if you are constantly exposed to environmental pollution. Likewise, some medications (like acne, blood pressure, or allergy medications) deprive the skin of its natural oils. Your diet is another factor that can affect your hair's health. Last but not least, physical or emotional stress can take a toll on the overall appearance of your skin and hair.
- Hormonal changes: Hypothyroidism and the onset of menopause are two of the most common underlying causes of a dry scalp. Both of these conditions cause hormonal imbalances that can be fixed with medication.
- Skin conditions: A dry, itchy, and flaky scalp can be a symptom of several conditions, including dandruff, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, and ringworms (tinea capitis). For this reason, you should look for other symptoms in order to establish which condition, if any, you might be suffering from. These are some of the characteristics of some of them:
- Dandruff usually causes flaking all over the scalp.. The flaking is continuous, and it is more or less oily, depending on your hair type. Serious cases can cause bigger crusts of flakes.
Psoriasis causes scaly patches to form along the hairline. The flakes are thin and silvery.
Seborrheic dermatitis causes red (and often burning) patches of skin with thick, oily yellow or white scaling. This condition is commonly confused with dandruff.
Eczema causes thick, leathery, red patches of skin that can scale and crack.
Ringworm or Tinea Capitis causes round, red patches of skin and blister-like lesions. The outer rim of the round lesion might scale lightly.
Once you have closely observed the lesions on your scalp, you will have some hints as to whether you are only suffering from dandruff or if you might have one of these skin conditions. If you suspect the latter, you should consult a dermatologist.
Care Tips for Dry and Itchy Scalp
- Protect your hair from environmental factors. Wear hats when you're going to be exposed to sunlight for a long time and use a cap when you're going for a swim in a pool.
- Use natural moisturizing ingredients,such as coconut, olive, or jojoba oil. Also use clearing ingredients, such as apple cider vinegar, when you're in need of a quick but effective solution to keep natural dryness under control.
- Avoid regular shampoos.This is a rule of thumb. Most over-the-counter shampoos and conditioners contain surfactants and parabens. These chemicals dry the scalp, so they exacerbate dandruff. Switch to a formula that does not contain surfactants or parabens like The Cosmetic Republic USA's Oily Hair Cleansing Shampoo. Some people, however, might find that they do not need to wash their hair too often no matter which shampoo formula they are using. If you are one of those people, wash your hair less so your natural oils stay around longer.
- Don't abuse hair styling tools and products.This includes hair chemicals like dyes and perms. Using too many products can lead to buildup, which in turn can lead to an itchy, flaky scalp. Overusing heat tools can break down the hair cuticle, causing chronic dryness. In short, using hair products and heat tools excessively can damage your hair and scalp until they start looking lifeless. Once that has happened, you need to start a repair routine that gives your hair a rest from chemicals, which takes us to the next tip.
- Choose formulas that are enriched with natural ingredients.The Cosmetic Republic USA offers the products you need to restore the balance of your hair and scalp. Try our Scalp Repairing Mask to nourish your hair and improve the natural balance of your scalp. The texture and manageability of your hair will also dramatically improve. Likewise, our Ultimate Hair Serum deeply nourishes your hair while taking care of frizz and split ends.
- Lead a healthy lifestyle.Everything you do is reflected in your overall state of health. Incorporate foods into your diet that have good fats, like avocados and olive oil. Reduce your consumption of starches (they induce inflammation and promote the growth of fungi, one of the causes of dandruff), and maintain good personal hygiene. Your whole body—and your hair—will thank you.
- Keep check of your hormones.If you also notice hair loss, unexplained weight gain (or loss), and fatigue, you might be suffering from a hormonal imbalance.
Last but not least…
- Consult your doctor if you suspect a more serious underlying issue.The daily care routine you need for your itchy and flaky scalp will largely depend on if you are suffering from any of the skin problems we have described above. A doctor can prescribe the treatment that is best suited for you.
The Cosmetic Republic USA's products can help you get rid of your itchy and dry scalp. We have a wide array of hair care solutions that nourish your hair from the inside. For more information, call us at TOLL FREE 1-888-513-8815 or fill out the contact form on this website. Subscribe to our newsletter for more information about our latest news and products. Don't forget to find us on Facebook (The Cosmetic Republic USA, and follow us on Twitter (@TheCosmeticUSA), and Instagram (@thecosmeticrepublicusa).