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Causes, Signs, and How to Get Rid of Dry Scalp

Are you experiencing dry scalp and you can’t define the exact causes? How can one get rid of dry scalp? Dry scalp can be very irritating and itching and thus being very troublesome. It may also occur alongside embarrassing white flakes on the shoulder as well as dull dry hair. Find out what causes dry scalp, its symptoms, diagnosis and ways to get rid of dry scalp and more.


There are many causes that can lead to dry scalp. Again you find that some individuals are prone to dry scalp than others, this depend 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 sun burn or internal factors including hormonal imbalance or thyroid disorders. Let us now have a look at the very common causes for dry scalp.

1.  Skin Conditions

Any skin condition that can cause dry skin in other parts of the body can also cause dry scalp skin. 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 dry skin.

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 on scalp and open sores may get infected. According 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 scalp eczema. It major symptom is dry scalp dandruff.

The major cause for this type of scalp eczema is the overproduction of skin oil (sebum) that contribute to build-ups on the scalp. The may aid the growth of normal skin fungus known a Malasezia. This will then aggravate the symptoms of dandruff. Severe dandruff treatment can be very effective in this case.

b) Psoriasis

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 of scalp psoriasis, dry skin on scalp or dry scalp hair loss can also be a symptom of psoriasis on the scalp. It can also lead to itchy scalp and skin.

2. Over washing the Scalp

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 on the scalp 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 dry skin on scalp, but how? Well, over cleaning of the scalp 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 dry scalp. 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 dry scalp. You should be able to acknowledge that any kind of exposure to the sun can cause dry scalp. Apart from dry scalp syndrome, exposure to harmful UV can lead to other severe conditions such scalp 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 scalp skin dryness. Some of the soaps, shampoos and detergent used to clean the scalp also often rob the scalp its natural moisture.

7.   Aging 

Dry skin on scalp 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 or dry scalp 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

Dry skin or dry scalp skin has got wide range of causes. The severity of the symptoms occurring alongside dry scalp will basically depend on this causes. So apart from the above mentioned dry scalp causes, here are more causes:

  • Stress and Depression causes
  • Rub-Down from wash clothes used during shower or bathing
  • Dietary deficiencies
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • 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 scalp skin becomes more severe, crack and fissures may be seen. More symptoms include:

  • Gray, ashy scalp skin
  • Scalp skin becoming 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 dry scalp due to internal conditions such a disorder of the internal organs. Another issue with the dry scalp 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. Dry scalp may also crack and thus allow bacteria to enter and a new infection will occur! So we must learn that symptoms of dry scalp or generally dry skin should be treated as soon as they are discovered to prevent them from growing to their severity.

To diagnose a dry scalp, physician may just do physical examination to the scalp skin. He/she may also ask you questions about your medical history, when the dry scalp 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 for dry scalp 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, dry scalp 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 dry scalp 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 dry scalp skin which has cracked.

There are more medications that can be recommended or prescribed depending on the causes and the severity of dry scalp. Just see your dermatologist upon discovering the very first sign of dry scalp.

Home Remedies

There are several ingredients contained in natural home remedies that can be used to treat dry scalp 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 dry and itchy scalp. Imagine just a simple wash of the scalp using apple cider vinegar can reduce dry or flaky scalp drastically. It also has many nutrients contained in it that is very potent for nourishing the scalp. 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 your scalp 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 a round 5 minutes and rinse off using warm water
  • You can repeat this process daily until you get your desired result

3. Aloe Vera Gel to Treat Dry Scalp

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 your dry scalp
  • 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 dry scalp. It has antibacterial properties that kill the bacteria that may causes dry scalp. 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 dry scalp 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 you scalp and hair using lukewarm water

More home ingredients that can also help in case of dry scalp 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?

Dry scalp 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, your dry scalp 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 dry scalp care.

  1. Treatments for a dry scalp: https://www.truthinaging.com/review/treatments-for-a-dry-scalp
  2. Dry Scalp: What Causes Dry Scalp and How to Get Rid of Dry Scalp: https://www.truthinaging.com/review/what-causes-dry-scalp-and-how-to-get-rid-of-dry-scalp
  3. How to Get Rid of Dry Scalp with Natural Home Remedies: http://homeremediesforlife.com/dry-scalp/
  4. 11 Scalp Treatment Products for a Healthier Head of Hair: http://www.bestproducts.com/beauty/g548/scalp-treatment-dandruff-shampoos/
  5. Dry Scalp: http://www.headandshoulders.com/en-us/healthy-hair-and-scalp/itchy-dry-sensitive-scalp/dry-scalp
  6. What Can Make Your Scalp Dry: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/other-causes#1
  7. Fighting Back Against Dry Skin: http://www.webmd.com/beauty/dry-skin-13/dry-skin-causes
  8. What causes dry skin? 19 possible conditions: http://www.healthline.com/symptom/dry-skin

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