Many people tend to associate a dry scalp and dandruff, but what you may not realize is that they are two very different things. Yes, dandruff can appear to be caused by a dry scalp, but not the other way around. But, then what causes a dry scalp in the first place? The answer may be more obvious than you might think: Dry scalp is often due to dehydration.
Think about it; if your body is dehydrated, you’ll feel tired, with a lack of energy, and you might even get sick. When your skin is dehydrated, it can dry out, get itchy, etc. We don’t often think about the skin on our head getting just as dehydrated as any other part of our body, but a dry scalp is actually a fairly common ordeal. Your head, after all, is always exposed, can oftentimes be directly in the sun, and if we’re not moisturizing it properly, and getting it the hydration it needs, it can lead to a dry, itchy, and flaky scalp.
What Causes a Dry Scalp?
Dry scalp can be caused by a number of different factors. You’re first likely to notice it either by an itching sensation, or by loose, powdery white flakes landing on your clothes, etc. Don’t mistake this for dandruff. Dandruff will stick to the scalp more easily than just dry scalp flakes alone.
A dry scalp is caused when the glands that produce the natural oils our scalp needs aren’t working properly, because they are dehydrated. Everything from cold seasonal temperatures, to hydrating your body well enough with water, or even some skin conditions can cause a dry scalp.
Experiencing a dryer scalp in the winter is fairly normal for many people, while in the warmer months, your scalp may naturally be more hydrated.
If you feel as though you might have a skin condition, it’s important to check in with your doctor to talk about possible treatment options. Chances are, the condition will be present elsewhere on the body, too, so starting a solution from the inside out is the best way to go.
Again, it’s important not to confuse a dry scalp with dandruff. Dandruff is actually caused due to the overproduction of the natural oils in your scalp, causing thicker flakes.
How to Treat a Dehydrated & Dry Scalp
There are several ways to fight back against a dry scalp due to dehydration. The most obvious, and perhaps the easiest, is to make sure the rest of your body is fully hydrated. Not only is it good for your entire body to help flush out toxins and keep your skin glowing and elastic, but getting enough water everyday will help to hydrate your scalp, reducing itchiness, dryness, and flaking.
Try getting at least eight 8 oz. glass of water every single day for optimal hydration, and stay away from beverages that can actually dehydrate you, like alcohol and soft drinks.
Home remedies are a popular way to treat a dry scalp, because many items you may already have laying around your house can help to lock in moisture, and allow your scalp to produce the natural oils necessary for a healthy, hydrated head. Some popular home remedies include:
- Lemon Juice: Not only will lemon juice help to reduce itching and remove dead cells, it helps to lock in moisture. Try a mixture of fresh lemon juice and honey in your hair, and rinse it out after several minutes.
- Honey & Olive Oil – This combination works as both an anti inflammatory, and has an anti-viral effect. Use ½ cup olive oil mixed with two or three teaspoons of honey as a balm for your hair, leaving it in for about ten minutes before rinsing it away.
- Mayonnaise – This may sound strange, but mayonnaise is made up of very basic ingredients, including oil and eggs, which are both natural moisturizers. Massage about ½ cup of mayonnaise into dry hair, let it sit for about ten minutes, then rinse clean and wash your hair as you normally would.
Of course, at the very core of dry scalp, the reason comes from the fact that your body isn’t producing enough of the natural essential oils needed. So, adding in oils on your own is a great way to rehydrate your scalp and stop the flaking and dryness. You can mix these essential oils in with your shampoo, or use them on their own as a sort of serum to seal in moisture, and hydrate your skin. Some of the most common oils used to rehydrate the scalp are:
All of these oils have strong hydration properties, and can work wonders on any part of your skin. If you don’t use them in your shampoo, you can massage them into your scalp with dry hair, and let sit for several minutes so they really penetrate into the skin. Then, simply rinse and wash your hair as you normally would. If you’re looking for even deeper penetration into the skin, you might want to consider a hot oil massage, done by a professional. You can choose to have a hot oil massage once every few weeks, as a means of routine maintenance for a hydrated scalp.
Dealing with Dry Scalp Due to Dehydration
Most people will have a dehydrated scalp to some degree, depending on a few different factors. If you live in a colder climate, or have a hard time staying hydrated in general, you may simply be more prone to a dry scalp. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with the embarrassment of dry, powdery flakes, thanks to several effective, natural solutions.
If you have dry scalp due to dehydration, don’t be afraid to get to the source of the matter, and re-introduce the natural oils your body needs for a healthy, hydrated scalp.