A dry scalp occurs when the scalp lacks enough oil to keep the skin lubricated. This, like other types of dry skin, can result in itching, flaking, and irritation. It can also make the hair appear dry because oil from the scalp helps condition the hair. Dry scalp is more common in people who have dry skin. This means that many of the same factors that cause dry skin can also cause dry scalp, such as:
Excessive washing of skin conditions, such as eczema, is exacerbated by dry air, especially during the winter months.
Washing your hair every day can deplete your scalp's natural oils, which it requires to stay hydrated. You can dry out your hair to the point where it becomes brittle and breaks over time.
The frequency with which you should wash your hair is determined by the type of hair you have. People with coarser hair may only need to wash their hair once a week. Those with fine hair may need to wash their hair several times per week. Very dry scalps can cause hair loss, and you may need hair restoration to recover.
Contact dermatitis can cause your scalp to turn red, itch, and flake after you wash it. This allergic reaction occurs when you use certain shampoos, soaps, or other hair products. Dermatitis may occur if you dye your hair black due to a reaction to the chemical PPD in the hair dye.
The first step in treating contact dermatitis is determining which product triggered the reaction. Remove one thing at a time to see if your symptoms improve. Your dry scalp should improve after 2-4 weeks of not using the product.
Try not to scratch your scalp while you investigate the cause. Scratching irritates the skin and can exacerbate your symptoms. To relieve itching, place a cool, wet washcloth on your scalp for 15 to 30 minutes several times per day. You can also use an anti-itch cream containing cortisone.
The humidity in the air decreases during the winter months in cold climates. Cold weather dries out the skin on your entire body, including your scalp. Heat blasting can also be drying.
To keep your skin and scalp moist, use warm water instead of hot water in your shower and bath. Stay in the water for no more than 5 or 10 minutes at a time. Spending too much time in hot water can deplete your skin's natural oils. To add moisture to the air in your home, turn on a humidifier. Also, when washing your hair, use a gentle moisturizing shampoo.
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