Let’s take a look at 5 insightful tips for dry, flakey and itchy scalp.
Dry itchy scalp can be a true nuisance but even more, white dandruff flakes can be a bigger, more visible problem. As a hairstylist, I am often asked: why do I have dandruff? And, more importantly, what can I do about it?
I encourage my beauty guest to focus on the “why” first. If one uncovers the reason “why” dandruff has occurred in the first place, the “what to do” is an easy fix. Because there are different types of dandruff, there are different remedy approaches. Let’s review each kind:
Seborrheic dermatitis or Seborrhea
This type of dandruff appears with redness, itching and flaking. It can occur on many parts of the body but when it shows up on the scalp, it’s called dandruff. This type of dandruff is also referred to as cradle cap, which is a term used when infants experience it. Although the cause is not always that clear, my research leads me to believe it is something internal in your body. It’s important to avoid harsh detergent type shampoos. I strongly encourage higher consumption of foods containing biotin (vitamin B7) such as eggs, fish and liver.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder triggering too many skin cells to grow. Although Psoriasis is not dandruff, it is a skin condition. In my experience, beauty guests with Psoriasis are likely to have dry, itchy patches that appear on the scalp. There isn’t much conclusive information about a surefire remedy for Psoriasis; however, I’ve observed a pattern in beauty guests sitting in my chair. The common threads these guests had include undue high stress or a subtle food allergy discovery. Some of my beauty guests experiencing Psoriasis have had success alleviating itwith UV light treatment and extreme stress reduction.
Another skin condition that can make ones scalp itch is Eczema. Like Psoriasis, it is unknown for certain what causes it. Based on the articles and books I’ve read, advice has been consistent: avoid harsh products and avoid or minimize stress.
These last two types of dandruff are the most common I see in my salon.
When an allergic reaction to a shampoo, conditioner or styling product occurs, it is referred to as Contact Dermatitis. Reactions include mild irritation and itching. After observing beauty guests over the years, the biggest culprit is identified as synthetic fragrance, which is found in most traditional products. Detergent based ingredients such as MEAs, TEAs and EDTs, too, are additional allergic irritants.
To alleviate this condition, I recommend a few drops of Harmonic Healing Oil massaged into the scalp followed by a mild shampoo, such as the Pure Harmony Hairbath. The Harmonic Healing Oil absorbs easily into the scalp, and provides relief from irritation. Follow with Pure Inspiration Daily Conditioner, which cleans hair and scalp without irritation.
Malassezia is a type of yeast (fungus), which lives on the surface of the skin. It is perfectly normal to have this condition present. It’s when an overgrowth occurs and creates dandruff. This type of dandruff looks like very small white flakes that sit on the top layer of the scalp. It can also show up underneath your fingernails after scratching the surface of the scalp. I’ve seen it more prevalent in winter when indoor heating is common and the scalp is not exposed to as much sun. It’s also common to experience an overgrowth if a diet is too high in refined or natural sugar.
My best recommendation: limit sugar intake and give your scalp a bit of stimulation by scalp massage or brushing the hair. This will stimulate and create better blood flow to the scalp. A soft natural boar bristle brush is helpful, too.
When experiencing the first sight of a dandruff flake, most people immediately grab a dandruff shampoo. It’s often what physicians recommend. These types of shampoos usually give a quick and temporary fix. But, the minute you discontinue use, white flakes return. I often hear people say, “I can’t use anything but a dandruff shampoo”. Unfortunately, these types of shampoos use harsh ingredients, and dry out the hair and scalp. I always ask, “What is actually causing the problem in the first place?” and, “How can I cure my root problem?” No pun intended!
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