A dry scalp can occur when harsh shampoos and styling products are used on the hair, or when these products are not thoroughly rinsed from the scalp. Many people who believe they have dandruff actually suffer from a dry, flaky scalp caused by the buildup of dead skin cells and shampoo and conditioner residue. Hormonal and environmental factors can aggravate an already dry scalp, and in some cases, the condition may stem from a lack of essential fatty acids in the diet.
Eating a balanced diet, practicing proper hygiene, and using effective dry scalp home remedies can help you get rid of the problem naturally. Use gentle shampoos and leave-in conditioner in your hair care routine, preferably hypoallergenic and without harsh ingredients, and avoid harsh hairstyling hair care products to ensure your symptoms don’t return and you don’t damage your hair follicles that can lead to hair loss. Always consult your doctor if your symptoms become worse, or if you develop swelling, redness, or severe pain, as this may be an indication of a more serious problem, such as scalp psoriasis.
Vinegar Rinse for Dry, Itchy Scalp for scalp care
Vinegar rinses such as the one below are beneficial for a dry scalp, as they help restore natural acids, balance pH levels, and remove buildup left behind by hair products, shampoos, conditioners, gels, product buildup and other styling products. If the smell of apple cider vinegar doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry; the use of essential oils reduces the odor, and the scent won’t linger after rinsing on your natural hair. So for a healthy scalp and different hair types you can use these tips:
- dried herbs (see suggestions below)
- apple cider or white wine vinegar
- essential oil (see suggestions below)
1 . Fill a quart-sized jar about halfway with dried herbs. Completely cover the herbs with apple cider or white wine vinegar, and secure the lid tightly on the jar. Place the jar in a warm spot, shaking once or twice daily, for three to four weeks.
2. Strain the mixture through a piece of cheesecloth folded in half or a fine-mesh strainer. Add five to 10 drops of essential oils and one cup water to the mixture, and transfer to a plastic storage bottle. Store in the shower for up to one week and shake well before each use.
3. To use, pour the vinegar rinse slowly over your scalp and through your hair after shampooing and rinsing as usual. Massage into the scalp, rinse with warm water, and if you can stand it, follow with a cold water rinse to stimulate the scalp.
Essential Oil Dry Scalp Treatment
Massaging healing essential oils into your scalp can help alleviate dryness, according to A. Dickey, author of Hair Rules! The Ultimate Hair-Care Guide for Women With Kinky, Curly or Wavy Hair. Dickey notes that essential oils and natural ingredients work wonders for treating a dry, itchy scalp by restoring natural oils. The massage itself opens clogged pores, rejuvenates the scalp dried from poor circulation, and corrects damage done by over-shampooing.
For the best results, place three to four drops of essential oil (see suggestions below) into the palm of your hand and rub your hands together. Massage the oil into your scalp thoroughly, allow it to remain for at least 30 minutes, and then rinse with cool water. Shampoo with a gentle shampoo and follow with a vinegar rinse, if desired. Perform this treatment two to three times a week to help moisturize your scalp.
Herbal Rinse for Dry, Flaky Scalp
Conditioning herbs, such as thyme, comfrey, or calendula (see suggestions below for more), can also help reduce dry scalp. Herbal rinses make a good alternative to vinegar rinses for individuals that can’t abide the smell of vinegar. To make, bring two cups water to a rapid boil, and add four tablespoons dried herbs. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to steep for at least 10 minutes. Strain and allow the liquid to cool.
To use, pour half the herbal rinse over your clean, damp hair, and massage into your scalp gently. Do not rinse. Store the leftover rinse in a covered container or bottle in the refrigerator for up to three days. For the best results, repeat the treatment daily after shampooing your hair as usual. Continue until your dry scalp subsides.
Olive Oil Dry Scalp Leave-In Treatment
According to Nancy Evelyn in her Pocket Guide to Herbal First Aid, olive oil is one of the best natural remedies for a dry scalp. It moisturizes the scalp, prevents dryness and flaking, and can act as a carrier for healing essential oils. Warm about a quarter cup of olive oil in a saucepan over low heat or in the top of double boiler. Add five or six drops of essential oil, if desired. Massage into your scalp, cover with a plastic shower cap, and leave on for at least an hour. Rinse with cool water, and shampoo to remove any remaining oil residue.
Giving a Scalp Massage
Many natural treatments for a dry scalp require massage, and the proper technique is necessary to yield the best results. When performed properly, a daily five- to 10-minute scalp massage can promote blood flow to the scalp, which may help reduce dryness, and it also enhances the overall quality of your hair.
If you don’t have access to oils and vinegar, a simple scalp massage may help reduce itching and flaking when used consistently. To give a good massage, use your fingertips to work over the surface of your scalp, including the temples and back of your head. Apply pressure and move in small, circular motions. Continue for at least five minutes and up to 10 minutes at least once a day.
Herbs for a Dry Scalp
The following herbs can be used in any homemade dry hair and scalp treatment. They help moisturize the scalp, balance pH level and reduce itching, flaking and dryness.
Essential Oils for Dry Scalp
The following essential scalp oils can be added to homemade dry scalp remedies, or used for healthy hair growth. Dilute two to three drops essential oil in one tablespoon carrier oil such as sweet almond, olive, apricot kernel or grapeseed oil, and then massage into the sensitive scalp, or use in the recipes listed above.
- tea tree oil
- argan oil
- avocado oil
- oregano essential oil
- eucalyptus essential oil
- jojoba oil
- myrrh essential oil
- rose essential oil
- Rosemary Essential Oil
- sage essential oil
- Lavender Essential Oil
Best Products You Can Purchase for Dry Scalp
When shopping for the right treatment, it’s essential to read the ingredients list to ensure that you are using a product that will not counteract its benefits. I suggest trying an anti-dandruff shampoo that contains pyrithione zinc, which provides a gentle formula and soothes dry and itchy scalps. This ingredient is known to counter dandruff shampoo and has been scientifically proven to be effective in treating dry scalp.
- Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo: This shampoo contains coal tar, which helps to relieve dryness and itching of the scalp. It’s especially useful for conditions like dandruff and psoriasis.
- Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Care Shampoo: This popular shampoo contains pyrithione zinc, which can help soothe a dry, itchy scalp and combat dandruff.
- Aveeno Scalp Soothing Oat Milk Blend Shampoo: Aveeno’s oat-based products are known for their gentle and soothing properties. This shampoo is designed to moisturize and calm a dry, itchy scalp.
- Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo: Nizoral contains ketoconazole, an antifungal ingredient that can help treat dry scalp conditions caused by fungi. It’s effective for dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.
- Dove DermaCare Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo: Dove’s DermaCare line is designed to moisturize the scalp while treating dandruff. It’s a good option for those with dry scalps.
- Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo: This shampoo is specifically designed to soothe and moisturize a dry, itchy scalp while helping to control flakiness.
- Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo: This product not only hydrates the scalp but also includes exfoliating properties to remove dead skin cells and flakes.
- Eucerin DermoCapillaire Calming Urea Scalp Treatment: This product is designed to provide intense hydration and relief to dry, itchy scalps. It contains urea, which is effective at retaining moisture.
Remember that everyone’s scalp is unique, and the best product for you may vary depending on your specific needs and the underlying causes of your dry scalp. It’s a good idea to consult with a dermatologist if you have persistent or severe dry scalp issues to determine the best course of action and products for your specific condition.