Dry Scalp: Expert Solutions and Effective Remedies for Healthy Hair
Delve into the world of dry scalp, explore the reasons behind this common issue, and discover proven solutions to alleviate discomfort and restore a healthy scalp. Our comprehensive guide provides insights to help you achieve relief and maintain optimal scalp health.
By Sophie Bronstein / Dec 02, 2023
It’s officially that dreaded time of year for our scalp. The bitter chill in the air has set in once again, which can only mean one thing if your scalp usually suffers during the colder months - itchiness, dryness, soreness and those not-so-attractive scaly bits dusting off onto everything within a mile of radius of your head!
But what if we told you that there are ways to combat winter scalp issues once and for all?
We spoke to Living Proof Ambassador Errol Douglas to get the low-down on exactly what we can do to keep flakes at bay…
what causes dry scalp?
Firstly, it’s important to consider what it is that’s causing your scalp to become dry and flaky.
According to Errol, the best way to look at your scalp is to simply see it as skin. “Your scalp is skin, so the same sort of conditions that can cause dry skin on your face or your body can contribute to a dry scalp,” he says.
“Dry scalp is quite literally a lack of moisture on the scalp, which can be caused by seasonal changes, habits like excessive washing, genetics or even dehydration,” he continues. “A healthy scalp has clean, open pores with good blood flow.
Just like with the skin on our faces, it’s essential that the hair follicles and scalp are clean and clear, and the microbiome is in harmony with a good balance of good and bacteria, and a healthy scalp equals healthy hair.”
the difference between dry scalp and dandruff
Did you know that there’s a difference between dry scalp and dandruff? Before you go ahead and treat the problem, make sure to determine what it is that you are suffering with.
“While both dry scalp and dandruff can make your scalp itchy and irritated and can cause visible flaking, it’s important to note that they are very different conditions,” says Errol.
“Dandruff is actually a result of excess oil build up and contracting a fungal infection, which triggers dead skin cells to build up and shed. It can also leave your hair looking greasy, and the key symptoms to look for are oily, large flakes that are yellow or white,” he continues.
Dandruff is caused by overactive fungus, hormones, and stress. If you just have dry, small flakes that are white, it is likely that you have dry scalp (a lack of moisture on your scalp). This can be triggered by cold, dry air, excessive washing and dehydration – and can often make your scalp feel tight.
how to treat dry scalp
Once you’ve determined whether dry scalp is what you’re trying to tackle, you’ll want to address the symptoms as well as the root cause. Using a flake-fighting, anti-irritation restoring scalp treatment will give both short and long-term relief. A leave-in treatment can help to restore and balance the scalp’s microbiome and scalp’s natural ecosystem.
When your scalp’s ecosystem (made up of “bad” and “good” microorganisms) is imbalanced, it most likely means that the population of “bad” microorganisms have outnumbered the “good” and can lead to dry scalp itching, flaking, and irritation,” says Errol.
Look for a scalp-nourishing formula that contains hyaluronic acid, which will deliver instant relief and sustained hydration to a tight, dry scalp.
And when it comes to what you shouldn’t be using on dry scalp? “Harsh surfactants and high amounts of ethanol can sometimes leave your scalp feeling tight and dry,” says Errol. “The typical culprits are SLS and SLES, to name a few.” Be sure to steer clear of any hair and scalp products that contain these ingredients.
what else can be done to improve scalp condition?
“Trying to manage the stress in your life is important for scalp health, as it can affect hormone levels and cause disruption to the scalp’s microbiome which can lead to irritation and flaking,” Errol says.
“Diet also influences the health of the scalp, so try to include lots of protein, vitamin B, Zinc and Iron in your diet, and cut down on processed foods and sugars. Hard waters can also dry out the scalp leaving it feeling irritable and prone to flaking, so it’s important to choose products that help moisturise the hair and scalp.”