Dry scalp is a painful and disruptive condition that affects many people. This condition is sensitive to treat and diagnose because of the vast number of possible causes. Dry scalp is not necessarily the same as dry hair. Dry scalp is caused by a lack of lubrication by the sebaceous (oil) glands on the scalp. There are many possible causes for the under-production of natural oils, including environmental changes, the use of hair care products, changes in diet or stress levels, and in some cases, medical conditions.
Identify the causes of dry scalp. Treatment alone will not keep dry scalp away. Dry scalp tends to be heavily influenced by environmental factors. The dry air of colder seasons or the excessive use of indoor air conditioning inhibits the production of natural oils in the scalp. In dry conditions such as these, be sure to take extra care to prevent dry scalp. This disorder can also be triggered by changes in routine, such as new diets or increased stress levels. Other causes can include over-washing of the hair, irritation from use of hair care products or dyes, and the use of heat during styling. Before treatment of dry scalp can begin, you must identify all the possible causes and eliminate them where possible.
Consider the natural remedies available to you in treating dry scalp. Because dry scalp is triggered by an under-production of oil by the sebaceous glands, natural oils such as coconut oil, olive oil and jojoba oil can be very helpful and gentle treatments. Just place a few drops of any of these oils directly onto the scalp, rub thoroughly, allow to condition, and then rinse off. Avocado is another great natural treatment for dry scalp. Just use a small amount as a topical remedy, and then rinse. These natural remedies can be used regularly to cure dry scalp and then continued occasionally as a preventive practice.
If Steps 1 and 2 don't begin to cure dry scalp within the first few days, then try one of the more aggressive over-the-counter remedies. The best shampoos to use for dry scalp are pH Balanced, with pH levels between 4.5 and 5.5. Be sure to look for ingredients such as Zinc Pyrithione, Selenium Sulfate and Coal-Tar. Dry scalp-specific shampoos such as Selsun Blue and Head and Shoulders are usually helpful for prevention and treatment of dry scalp. There are also a number of overnight and deep-conditioning treatments that can be purchased at drug stores with the advice of a pharmacy representative.
Consult a doctor if a dry scalp is not fully recovered within one or two weeks. While dry scalp is a common affliction, it can also be the result of a more serious skin condition such as psoriasis, or a symptom of a seemingly unrelated medical problem.
Antihistamines are helpful during the treatment of dry scalp, to prevent discomfort and aid in sleeping. Be sure to consult your doctor regarding any long-term use of medications. Another common trigger of dry scalp is dehydration, so remember to drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated, especially in the dry winter months.