Are you experiencing dry scalp and you can’t define the exact causes? How can one get rid of it? This problem can be very irritating and itching and thus be very troublesome. It may also occur alongside embarrassing white flakes on the shoulder as well as dull dry hair. Find out what causes it, its symptoms, diagnosis and ways to get rid of it and more.
There are many causes that can lead to this problem. Again you find that some individuals are prone to it than others, this depends on how much a person is exposed to the risk factors for developing dry scalp. This condition can be experienced by anybody but more prevalent as we grow old. It can be due external factors such as allergies or sunburn or internal factors including hormonal imbalance or thyroid disorders. Let us now have a look at the very common causes:
1. Skin Conditions
Any skin condition that can cause dry skin in other parts of the body can also cause it. Skin conditions causing dry scaly scalp can have many triggers. Risk factors for developing such skin conditions may vary from one individual to the other. Here are the most common skin conditions that can lead to this problem.
a). Scalp Eczema
This is a skin condition that shows up as “Patches of chronically itchy, dry, thickened skin, usually on the hands, neck, face, and legs (but it can occur anywhere).” [webmd.com]. If they are scratched, the dry patches and open sores may get infected. According to medical experts, irritated, red, and itchy skin on the scalp, which causes the flakes known as dandruff, is called scalp eczema.” seborrheic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema that affects this area. Its major symptom is dry scalp dandruff.
The major cause of this type is the overproduction of skin oil (sebum) that contribute to build-ups on this part. The may aid the growth of normal skin fungus known a Malassezia. This will then aggravate the symptoms of dandruff. Severe dandruff treatment can be very effective in this case.
Psoriasis is a skin disorder that can occur anywhere in the body but the scalp is the common site. They cover small or large area. It occur when the immune system gives the skin cells wrong instruction to mature too quickly. “New cells form within days instead of weeks. Your body can’t shed the excess skin cells, causing the skin cells to pile up on the surface of the skin, which leads to the formation of patches of psoriasis,” explains healthline.com. Apart from other major symptoms, dry skin on scalp and hair loss can also be a symptom of psoriasis on the scalp. It can also lead to itchy scalp and skin.
2. Over washing it
Though washing you scalp hair is recommended, there are limits. One of the main reason to wash your scalp hair is to get rid of the build-up but the opposite may also come out to be true-this may enhance the build-up of sebum, dead skin cells and other hair products. To make matter worse, this can lead to this problem, but how? Well, over cleaning it will rob off the scalp its natural moisture hence becoming drier. The oil producing glands may respond by producing excess oil hence greasy scalp, another menace!
3. Cold, hot or windy Weather
Changes in weather are also to be blamed for severe instances. According to healthkart.com, “During winters, the humidity present in the air is low. This leads to the problem of skin dryness.” Dry scalp can also be experienced during summer when the temperatures are high and body skin is prone to dehydration. Windy weather is another condition that can lead to the same menace. So, when the weather changes are not friendly to you, seek for guidance from your medical service provider.
4. Hot or hard water Washing
This is another reason for many dry skins including scalp skin. The extreme temperatures of hot water usually aids the skin damage. It will destroy the skin lipids leading to skin dryness. It also wash and melt away the skin natural moisturizer. Hard water on the other hand may lead to the same condition. Water-rightgroup.com confirms that, “Not only can soap scum from hard water clog your pores, many people find it also causes them to feel dry, itchy, and irritated” To be on the safer side, you have to avoid the use of both hard and hot water bathing or cleaning your scalp.
5. Exposure to the sun
A good symptom of sunburned scalp is dryness. You should be able to acknowledge that any kind of exposure to the sun can cause this issue. Apart from dryness syndrome, exposure to harmful UV can lead to other severe conditions such skin cancer, hair loss and pain. Critical point should get clear is that, although bald men and women are more prone to sun burn, full scalp hair will not protect you. You should lower the exposure to the sun by usually covering your head.
6. Bad Hair Care Products
Though people apply many hair products (such as dryer sheets, dyes, perfumes and more) for good upkeep, this can turn to be a ‘storm’. There are some hair care products that are termed irritants and can potentially led to itchy dry scalp. Some of these products also contain substances such as alcohol, phthalates, sodium lauryl Sulphate, dea, tea and fragrances that can cause dryness. Some of the soaps, shampoos and detergent used to clean it also often rob the scalp its natural moisture.
Dry skin as we age is common condition that affect many of the aging people. According to Dermatologist Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD, decreased cells renewal, sunburn can induce dry, rough skin as we age. Remember your will not produce much or rather enough sebum as it used to be before. The hormonal changes may influence your skin to produce less natural oils and hence the development of dry top layer of the skin. Such victims needs to moisturize their skin daily to reduce the effects of having itchy or irritated skin anywhere in the body.
8. Side Effects of Certain Medications
If certain medication can cause dry skin in other parts of the body, do you think that same cannot occur in the scalp? Oh, yes it is definitely true that side effects of some medications can also lead to dry scaly scalp skin and hair loss. Medicinenet.com proves that, “Dry skin condition may be caused by taking some medicines as well.” Examples of such medications include drugs for treating allergies, acne, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
9. More Causes
This problem skin has got wide range of causes. The severity of the symptoms occurring alongside this will basically depend on this causes. So apart from the above mentioned causes, here are more causes:
- Stress and Depression causes
- Rub-Down from wash clothes used during shower or bathing
- Dietary deficiencies
- Swimming in chlorinated pools
- Heat emergencies
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The main symptoms that signifies dry skin is an itching sensation. In this connection, a victim suffering from a dry scalp may develop a rough, dry, red patches that usually bother alot. When it becomes more severe, crack and fissures may be seen. More symptoms include:
- Gray, ashy scalp skin
- It will very tight. This often occur after bathing, showering or swimming
- Mild to severe flaking, scaling or even peeling of scalp skin
- Smooth lines of crack in the affected skin
Dry scalp can also result to very serious symptoms that can be life-threatening especially if it is due to internal conditions such a disorder of the internal organs. Another issue with this condition is itching. This can trigger the urge to scratch the affected dry skin. Scratching will damage the skin and can lead to bacterial infections hence more complicated conditions. It may also crack and thus allow bacteria to enter and a new infection will occur! So we must learn that symptoms or generally dry skin should be treated as soon as they are discovered to prevent them from growing to their severity.
To diagnose a it, physician may just do physical examination to the scalp skin. He/she may also ask you questions about your medical history, when the symptoms started, bathing habits, what conditions or factors aggravate it, your diet and hair product you use daily. He/she may also want to know if you are under certain medication. He/she may also carry out diagnostic test to determine whether your dry scalp skin is due to underlying medication conditions such as thyroid disorder or problem of internal organs such as kidney, liver, lungs or other organs
How to Get Rid Of Dry Scalp?
To get the best treatment for dry scalp, try to have a prior comprehension on the primary causes of the dryness fast. Age, medical history and severity of symptoms may also be considered. Treatments may involve over the counter drugs, prescribed medications as well as natural home remedies. Read on to explore more about the effective treatments discussed below.
Many times, it will depend on or respond to lifestyle measure such as god diet, avoiding hot showers/bathes, sunburn etc. But sometimes when you experience dry and itchy scalp you dermatologist may prescribe nonprescription creams containing lactic acid, salicylic acid or urea acid.
Serious case may be due to atopic dermatitis, psoriasis or something else very serious, prescriptions creams and ointments may be recommended by your doctor. Another best dry scalp treatment is hydrocortisone, hydrocortisone containing lotions can also be prescribed for red itchy skin. Wet dressing may also be prescribed for a skin which has cracked.
There are more medications that can be recommended or prescribed depending on the causes and the severity. Just see your dermatologist upon discovering the very first sign.
There are several ingredients contained in natural home remedies that can be used to treat this problems. For your suitability, we have explored the most applauded ones below. The best thing is to choose one of them at a time and apply it regularly.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar neutralizes the PH of the skin and also has antibacterial properties that makes it potent for fighting the bacteria causing scalp infections that may trigger dryness and itchiness. Imagine just a simple wash it using apple cider vinegar can reduce dry or flaky scalp drastically. It also has many nutrients contained in it that is very good for nourishing it. To apply this remedy:
- Mix ½ cup of apple cider vinegar with water
- Massage the mixture on the scalp and wait for 10 minutes
- You can then wash it using medicated shampoo for dry hair
- You need to rewind the procedure regularly for better result
If you have a sensitive skin then you can dilute the apple cider vinegar
2. Lemon Juice and Coconut Oil/Honey
First, lemon juice ha antiseptic and moisturizing properties that can be very essential for many skin conditions. It also works excellent by getting rid of dead skin cells.
Procedure 1: With coconut oil
- Add a few drops of lemon juice to a warm cup of coconut oil
- Apply the mixture on your scalp and leave it to sit for some few minutes
- Wash off using a shampoo and water
Procedure 2: With Honey
- Get a fresh lemon juice and mix well with honey
- Massage the mixture on your scalp for around 5 minutes and rinse off using warm water
- You can repeat this process daily until you get your desired result
3. Aloe Vera Gel
This king of herbs has been in use to treat many skin conditions for years. It has cooling, soothing, moisturizing and cleansing properties that enable it to be excellent dry scalp cure. There are aloe Vera products available over the counter but we prefer fresh aloe gel. This is how aloe vera is applied:
- Get fresh aloe gel from aloe leaf
- Add a few drops of any essential oil if you wish
- Massage the mixture on the affected area
- You should leave it there for 20 minutes before rinsing of using water
4. Tea Tree Oil for Dry Scalp
This another perfect natural product to give a try. It has antibacterial properties that kill the bacteria that may cause this condition. It can also be added to shampoo to effectively soothe a dry and itchy scalp skin. Tea tree oil can be applied following the procedure below:
- You begin by mixing 5 drops of teat tree oil to your shampoo or conditioner
- Use the mixture to wash you scalp
- You can instead use tea tree based shampoo for effective result
5. Egg Yolk and Olive Oil
The combination of egg yolk and olive can work out effectively than any other single essential oil. This combination will in conditioning the scalp, nourishing the hair follicles and providing answers to severe dryness problem.
- Mix 3 egg yolks to 2 teaspoons of olive oil and few drops of water
- Whisk the mixture well
- You can then dampen your hair
- Apply the mixture on the scalp as well as the hair
- Leave it there for about 20 minutes
- Lastly, rinse it and hair using lukewarm water
More home ingredients that can also help in dealing with this condition include, neem oil, ginger, fenugreek, onion juice, sea salt, oatmeal, baking soda, sugar scrub and more. There are many natural remedies you can use to treat you dry hair but make sure you consider your skin sensitivity before applying any natural ingredient on your scalp.
When to see a doctor?
This condition is often nothing to worry about, but if you can’t find a treatment of your own then you should immediately book appointment with you doctor or dermatologist. Remember whenever over the counter drugs or natural remedies are not bringing about positive result, it may be due to hidden health condition which can be very severe. The important tip is to always keep your hair and scalp clean and moisturized regularly as well as observing good care.