About Dry Scalp
One of the worst things about dry scalp is, ironically, it’s name. Many people thus think that washing hair – and thus making dry scalp “wet” – will be the perfect treatment to dry scalp.
Sadly, in the vast majority of cases, washing hair actually makes the scalp even drier, because harsh shampoos and conditioners, or just water itself, pulls moisture away.
Dry scalp occurs when the hair strand exiting the scalp is not being lubricated by the sebaceous gland (sometimes called the “oil gland”). It’s the sebaceous gland that actually gives hair its shine and luster; and when it isn’t doing its job (when it’s under-producing), hair is denied this essential oil. The result is the dreaded dry scalp.
Many people experience dry scalp in the winter, or working in office environments that use heavy air conditioners in the summer. In such environments, even if the scalp is emitting “enough” oil for normal living, these external elements (such as an air conditioner, or very dry air in the winter) cancel their contribution. Many people experience dry scalp when flying as well, because the air in an airplane is usually extraordinarily dry (as is the air in many hotels, which is where people often go after they’ve been in the very dry airplane!).
In addition to flakes (which look like dandruff, but which aren’t caused by dandruff!), dry scalp can also cause split ends, which can do damage to the hair if left untreated.
Causes of Dry Scalp
There are numerous causes of dry scalp. A deficiency in fatty acids can lead to excessive dryness, as can a sudden, stressful switch to a new “fad” diet that shocks the system. Using a hair dryer, the aforementioned air conditioner, and gels/sprays that contain alcohol are some of the other popular causes of dry scalp. Excess shampooing can (ironically) lead to dry scalp; especially if the shampoo is loaded with detergents and other chemicals. Dehydration also typically leads to dry scalp, as can excess intake of caffeine or other diuretics (foods that promote water loss through urination).
Dry Scalp Treatments
In addition to avoiding some of the dry scalp causing agents noted above, some interesting alternative remedies have been used by some to treat this (often seasonal, but very annoying) problem. Some people swear by the power of avocado to defeat dry scalp, when it’s used as a topical agent in the hair.
Other people find that applying a few drops of jojoba oil does the trick (jojoba oil is not actually an oil; it is a wax, and the human body is very receptive to jojoba because it is very close to the skin’s natural sebum).
Dry Scalp Notes
For many people, dry scalp is something that they learn to deal with; it comes for a few days, and then leaves. This is fine, and often, there is no real intervention that is required other than perhaps switching to a milder shampoo, or turning the air conditioner off for a while. However, for some people, dry scalp can become rather serious; especially if it also involves itching. Excess itching of the scalp can lead to severe skin conditions that may require medical treatment.