A dry and itchy scalp robs your crowning glory of its luster and can even turn out to be embarrassing. Harsh soaps, the hot sun, and hot water can all strip natural oils meant to keep your scalp moisturized and your hair glossy. Even an overheated room or the cold, dry air of winter can sap your scalp just as it would your skin – the scalp is also skin, after all. And older skin, which is less effective as a barrier against the environment, is hit harder.1 But fret not: the easy home remedies below can help you tackle this common problem.
A dry scalp may not always be the reason behind those grey or white flakes of skin on your head. It could also be a mild case of seborrhoeic dermatitis or dandruff. Natural remedies like tea tree oil or honey can help clear that up.
1. Condition With Natural Oils
Many natural oils can help keep your scalp hydrated. Since oils help retain water best when applied on damp skin, wet your scalp slightly before massaging in a few drops of a vegetable oil to ease dryness.2 Some oils that you might want to try include:
- Coconut oil, which penetrates into your hair and helps reduce protein loss
- Argan oil, which is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin E3
- Jojoba oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can also help tackle scalp infections
- Olive oil, which is also rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin E
2. Get A Weekly Hot Oil Treatment
Get a deep-conditioning hot oil treatment once a week to keep your scalp and hair healthy and moisturized. To do this, warm a tablespoon of avocado, jojoba, or olive oil and massage it into your scalp and hair. Wrap your head in a plastic shower cap and let the oil sit for around half an hour to an hour. Then rinse it off with a gentle shampoo.
3. Apply Honey On Your Scalp
Honey is a humectant, which means that it can attract moisture. This makes it a great conditioner.5 But that’s not all. It also has antioxidant and antifungal properties and can help clear dandruff. In fact, a study found that participants who applied 90% honey diluted with a little warm water and left it in for 3 hours experienced freedom from itching and scaling due to dandruff within a week. Moreover, a weekly application of honey prevented the recurrence of dandruff.6
Choose dark buckwheat honey. The darker the honey, the more its mineral content and antioxidative properties.7
To condition your scalp and hair and combat dryness, mix a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of coconut oil and apply it to your scalp and hair. You can dilute this with a little warm water if you need to. Rinse off after 10 minutes for a hydrated scalp and well-conditioned hair.8
4. Use An Avocado Head Mask
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and phytosterols which can help condition your scalp. Try this avocado mask to tackle a dry scalp: scoop out the flesh of an avocado and mash it with an egg yolk and a tablespoon each of honey and coconut oil. Apply to damp hair and massage it into your scalp. Now cover your head with a shower cap and let the mask work its magic for around 15 minutes before rinsing it off thoroughly.9
5. Apply Yogurt On Your Scalp
Yogurt contains lactic acid, a potent humectant.10 It also has proteins which can nourish your hair. To make a conditioning mask, whisk an egg yolk and a little yogurt. Massage this onto your scalp and hair and let it work its magic for around 15–20 minutes before you rinse it off.11
6. Use An Oatmeal Head Mask
Oatmeal improves the barrier function of skin. When water is added to ground oatmeal, the gluten present in it turns it into a gooey substance. This can coat your scalp (and skin!) and help seal in moisture. But that’s not all, it is an antioxidant and fights inflammation too.12 13
So mix ground oats with water and apply it to a dampened scalp. Let it sit for about half an hour before rinsing it out to relieve dryness and itching. While this may seem a little messy, the result is well worth it!14
7. Don’t Shampoo Daily
More often than not, dry scalp is caused by an improper hair-washing technique. Many of us shampoo daily as a matter of course. But this can strip your scalp of moisture. If your scalp is not oily, you don’t really need a daily wash. Shampooing every other day or even less frequently might work for you. However, if you see flakes in your hair, make sure you wash them out.
On most days, wash your hair with plain water. Use lukewarm water to open the hair follicles and then end with a cold water rinse to lock in the moisture.
Using excessively hot water can also dry out your scalp as hot water leaches moisturizing skin oils. Opt for tepid water when you wash your hair and use a conditioner after you shampoo.15 Here are a few other tips on the right way to wash your hair.
8. Avoid The Blow Dryer
Hot air from a blow dryer can dry out both your scalp and your hair. Instead, use a super-absorbent towel to gently pat away excess moisture from wet hair and then let it air dry. If you’re in a tearing hurry and need to use your hair dryer, use the coolest possible setting.
9. Get A Shower Filter
A shower filter can reduce the chlorine content of the water which causes your scalp and hair to dry out. It’ll also deflect minerals which can coat your hair and rob it of shine.
10. Use A Humidifier At Home
In spite of all these measures, you may find your scalp drying out more frequently in dry weather. A humidifier can help. It can replace lost moisture from the environment and protect your scalp from drying out. Set it at about 60% to keep your scalp (and skin!) happy.16
|↑1||Latona, Valerie. “Mane Attraction”. Vegetarian Times. April, 2000.|
|↑2, ↑10||Moisturizers: Do they work?. Harvard Health Publications.|
|↑3||Graves, Louisa. Age-Proof: Beauty Alternatives You Need to Know. eBookIt, 2015.|
|↑4||Pazyar, N., R. Yaghoobi, M. R. Ghassemi, A. Kazerouni, E. Rafeie, and N. Jamshydian. “Jojoba in dermatology: a succinct review.” G Ital Dermatol Venereol 148, no. 6 (2013): 687-691.|
|↑5||Barve, Kalyani, and Apurva Dighe. The Chemistry and Applications of Sustainable Natural Hair Products. Springer, 2016.|
|↑6||Al-Waili, N. S. “Therapeutic and prophylactic effects of crude honey on chronic seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.” European journal of medical research 6, no. 7 (2001): 306-308.|
|↑7||Frankel, S., G. E. Robinson, and M. R. Berenbaum. “Antioxidant capacity and correlated characteristics of 14 unifloral honeys.” Journal of Apicultural Research 37, no. 1 (1998): 27-31.|
|↑8||Lewis, Melissa Calais. The Nature of Honey. WestBow Press, 2015.|
|↑9||Editors at Reader’s Digest. Doctors’ Favorite Natural Remedies: The Safest and Most Effective Natural Ways to Treat More Than 85 Everyday Ailments. Simon and Schuster, 2016.|
|↑11||Kumai, Candice. Pretty Delicious: Lean and Lovely Recipes for a Healthy, Happy New You. Rodale, 2011.|
|↑12||Bedi, Monica K., and Philip D. Shenefelt. “Herbal therapy in dermatology.” Archives of dermatology 138, no. 2 (2002): 232-242.|
|↑13||Wu, Jessica. “Treatment of rosacea with herbal ingredients.” Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD 5, no. 1 (2006): 29-32.|
|↑14||Penley, Kaitlin. How to Look Chic & Spectacular: Tips & Secrets for Looking Flawless. Lulu Press, 2014.|
|↑15||Tips for healthy hair. American Academy of Dermatology.|
|↑16||9 ways to banish dry skin. Harvard Health Publications.|