What causes Dry Scalp and how to treat it

close up hand using comb

One of the most embarrassing things that can happen to any Naturalist is Dry Scalp. If you haven’t experienced the awkwardness of flakes tumbling from your uncombed hair in public, you might not fully grasp the situation I’m talking about.

Many ladies lack the confidence to open their hair/scalp in front of others, because they are fully aware of what would follow. If they do, their clothes, furniture, and anything close get covered with flakes.

This condition is very discomforting, annoying, and most of the times, you are perceived by people as ‘dirty’. However, dry scalp is not caused by dirtiness. This article will teach us about our scalp, its meaning, causes, consequences, and how to treat a dry scalp. Let’s delve in.

Let’s talk about the Scalp

Before we talk about dry scalp, we must learn about the Scalp. The scalp is very important in hair growth and hair care generally. Just as we care for our skin, we should also pay attention to the health of our scalp.

One thing that we must always remember is that healthy hair growth starts with a healthy scalp. When the scalp is well hydrated and balanced, it provides an optimal environment for hair follicles to thrive, leading to healthier hair. This is part of the reasons why I always tell ladies to focus more on their scalp when shampooing.

Like any other part of our skin, we must know that the scalp can be prone to issues and diseases such as dry scalp, dandruff, inflammation, infection, seborrheic dermatitis, and even hair loss. For now, we will focus on everything you need to know about dry scalp, and how to prevent it.

What is Dry Scalp?

close up hair with dandruff

A dry scalp is a condition where the skin on the scalp becomes dry, flaky, and itchy. Dy scalp can not only be uncomfortable, but also embarrassing. If you have a dry scalp, you will always have your hands in your hair, scratching it. Scratching the scalp to relieve itching can damage the skin, leading to further irritation and infection.

It’s important to note that dry scalp is different from dandruff. Most of the time, people refer to their dry scalp condition as dandruff and vice versa, they are both scalp issues, but not the same thing. They are characterized by itchy and flaky scalp, making it difficult to tell them apart. But then, main difference is that while too much oils cause dandruff on the scalp, dry scalp is caused by lack of moisture on the scalp. Knowing the difference is important because the treatment for each is different. You cannot treat a dry scalp condition the same way you treat a dandruff condition.

Causes of Dry Scalp

tired curly woman with closed eyes holding hand forehead


Just as our skin can become dry when deprived of moisture, so too can our scalp. Moisture should not only be given to the hair strands, consider the scalp too. The problem is that many people do not think the scalp is a part of their skin. If you start thinking of your scalp as part of your skin, I’m sure you won’t ignore it so much.

To combat dehydration, use Leave-in conditioners, moisturizing shampoos, and good hair oils on your hair and scalp. Also, keep yourself hydrated as well (drink enough water).

Harsh Hair Products

Harsh hair care products can cause irritation and lead to dry scalp. Shampoos containing sulfates for example can strip the hair of it’s natural oils, leading to dryness and flaking. This is why you should always read through the ingredients list of your hair products to avoid stories that touch the heart.

In addition, excessive use of styling products such as gels and hair sprays can build up on the scalp, clogging pores and inhibiting hydration.

Environmental factors

With my living in the northern part of the country for some months now, I can really relate to this. Exposing your hair to very harsh weather conditions such as cold weather, dry air, and excessive sun exposure can cause so much harm to your hair, sapping moisture from the scalp, leading to breakage, discoloration, irritation, and dry scalp.

Are you surprised to see ‘Overwashing’ as one of the causes of dry skin? Well, yes. Your scalp produces its oil, which helps to keep it moisturized. But when you wash your hair too frequently, it can strip the hair of its natural oils, leading to dryness.

Medical conditions

Furthermore, certain medical conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis can contribute to dry scalp. These conditions cause inflammation and flaking of the skin, leading to itching and irritation.

How to treat Dry Scalp

happy african woman touching her hair looking up

Fortunately, there are several effective strategies for treating and managing dry scalp. Some of them are listed out below:


A moisturizing shampoo and conditioner can help replenish lost moisture and soothe dryness. Also, remember to drink an adequate amount of water each day to help hydrate not only the skin but also the scalp.

Avoid harsh hair products

Avoiding harsh hair care products is also crucial. If you have a dry scalp, opt for gentle, sulfate-free, moisturizing shampoos that won’t strip the scalp of its natural oils. Limit the use of styling products like gels, and if you must, choose those specifically formulated for sensitive scalps.

Scalp treatments

You can also incorporate scalp treatments into your routine to relieve dryness and itching. To do this, use ingredients such as tea tree oil, coconut oil, and aloevera which have moisturizing and soothing properties that can help alleviate dry scalp symptoms. Regularly massaging the scalp can stimulate blood flow and promote healthy hair and scalp.

Consult a doctor

For those with underlying medical conditions contributing to dry scalp, it’s essential to consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment. Prescription medications, such as antifungal agents, may be necessary to manage more severe cases of dry scalp. If you are unsure, instead of experimenting too much, consult your doctor.

Since you understand the causes of dry scalp, do well to avoid them. And if you have a dry scalp, the treatments listed above will help you. Maintaining a healthy scalp is essential for overall hair and skin health. A dry scalp can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but it can be effectively prevented and treated with proper care and treatment. So, next time you think about your hair care routine, don’t forget to give your scalp the attention it deserves.

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