The real lifesaver for dry scalps
Itching, flakiness, tightness – do you also suffer from the unpleasant feeling of a dry scalp? Not only does it feel uncomfortable, it also doesn’t look good when small sores or dandruff form. There can be a number of reasons for a dry scalp. What is certain, however, is that women tend to have dry scalps more than men. Which products can help if you suffer from symptoms? Below you will find detailed information about this issue as well as valuable tips for tackling this problem.
The symptoms of a dry scalp
To detect a dry scalp early on, you should look out for the following symptoms: The first signs of the problem are an increase in itching and a feeling of tightness. When small white, dry flakes start sprinkling from your head and collecting on your shoulders, then you’re certainly dealing with the unsightly problem. A dry scalp can also be accompanied by redness and a burning sensation, often due to scratching your head, which only gives you short-term relief. Scratching actually causes pathogens to enter the skin, making the symptoms worse – resulting in a vicious circle. In some cases, it may even result in infections, which means that the supposedly harmless problem turns into a visit to the dermatologist.
The causes of a dry scalp
The basic prerequisite for a healthy scalp is an intact lipid film. This consists of moisture from the skin’s pores and sebum, also known as lipids. The scalp’s protective acid mantle has an oily effect, simultaneously supplying your skin with sufficient moisture to prevent it from drying out. However, if the function of this important protective layer is damaged in any way, your skin cannot retain this moisture and it becomes more susceptible to external influences. The result: Dry scalp
There are different reasons for this moisturising and oily lipid film becoming damaged.
Using incorrect and harsh products to care for your hair can be a reason for the acid protective mantle becoming affected. You might be using a shampoo that is not tailored to your scalp’s needs, causing it to act aggressively on your scalp. When your scalp is exposed to too much heat in particular, it can cause your scalp to dry out. Washing your hair daily with hot water is just as problematic as blow-drying and excessively straightening your hair. But you’re also doing your scalp no favours if you colour your hair frequently. In addition to incorrect care, diseases such as psoriasis or atopic eczema can also be the cause of dry, itchy scalps. But too much stress and advancing age are also contributing factors for dry scalps and annoying itching and dandruff.
Dry scalps during the menopause
A further cause that can be responsible for the occurrence of the unsightly problem in women over 40 is the menopause. During the menopause, the oestrogen levels in the female body decrease, while the level of male hormone testosterone increases. The body reacts to this hormonal change in various ways, including with skin problems that may occur during the menopause.
As oestrogen is important for healthy hair growth, the hair roots also react sensitively to the hormonal change, meaning that the hair's growth phase becomes shorter and the hair becomes thinner in the long term. As a result, many women suffer from hair loss during the menopause, also known as menopausal hair loss or androgenetic alopecia.
Dry scalps in winter
When winter is just around the corner and the temperatures start dropping, we like to keep warm at home and put the heating on. Even though this generally provides comfort on cold winter days, this is not beneficial for a healthy scalp. This is because the cold air outdoors and the warm air indoors are both particularly dry and subject the scalp to significant stress. Changing from warm to cold surroundings and vice versa also irritates the scalp.
A further problem that can result in the scalp drying out in the winter is wearing hats and hoods. But even beloved hot showers can cause the scalp to dry out, dandruff to form and unwelcome itching to occur. We have also compiled some more information on dry scalps in an additional article.
Dry scalps in summer
Unfortunately, the warm season also doesn’t spare the scalp completely. The scalp is repeatedly exposed to other stresses and strains during this time: Direct sunlight and sweating are the causes of dry scalps in summer. The things that cool us down – i.e. air conditioning or a refreshing swim in saltwater or chlorinated water – have a dehydrating effect on the scalp. And this isn’t made easier by the fact that most people shower more frequently in summer than in winter.
On the whole, we can say that dry scalps are the result of a damaged lipid film that can be caused by the following:
- Washing your hair daily with excessively hot water
- Excessive heat when blow-drying
- Regular straightening
- Frequent colouring
- Skin diseases such as psoriasis or atopic eczema
- Excessive stress
- Age-related drying out of the skin
- Hair loss during the menopause
Help for dry scalps
If you suffer from a dry scalp that is not due to a disease, the first thing to do is reduce the triggers that might be responsible for the damaged lipid film. This is why you should note the following:
- Do not wash your hair too often and try to extend the time between washes.
- Use a mild shampoo without silicones. It is best to choose a moisturising shampoo.
- Gently massage the shampoo into your scalp. This relaxes and promotes the scalp’s circulation.
- Do not use excessively hot air when blow-drying your hair and do not rub it with a hand towel when drying.
- Do not tie up your hair too tightly in braids and buns, preferably wear your hair down or in a loose hairstyle.
- Be careful when combing. Avoid pulling at knots with your brush or comb and pulling out strands of hair.
- Do not constantly wear head coverings; let air get to your scalp as often as possible.
- Make sure you have a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
- Avoid stress where possible and take the time to relax.
- Avoid colouring your hair too frequently and avoid styling your hair regularly with straighteners or a hairdryer.
- Ventilate heated rooms well.
- Avoid wearing hats in winter, or choose to wear a winter headband instead.
- In summer, wear a light head covering that protects against the sun.
Which shampoo is for dry scalps?
If you notice that your scalp is dry, it is necessary to start using a particularly gentle product when washing your hair. This is because the majority of conventional shampoos have not been developed for dry scalps, but are instead for fighting oily hair for example – their formulas are too aggressive and would only make your dry scalp worse. And even if you get dandruff as a result of a dry scalp, anti-dandruff shampoos are not the right solution to fight the cause of dandruff in the long term. This particular hair care product is usually aimed at oily dandruff or only treats the symptom of dandruff.
Choose a mild shampoo instead without unnecessary fragrances or colourants and with selected, moisturising additives, such as e.g.:
- gel and extracts of aloe vera
- Hyaluronic acid
Washing dry scalps
But it is not just about selecting a moisturising shampoo – you should turn your regular hair washing routine into a real wellness experience.
Take a time out. Before washing your hair, indulge your scalp with a soothing treatment, for example by mixing coconut oil, honey or curd cheese. Generously apply the mixture to the scalp and gently massage it in with your fingertips. This not only helps the active ingredients to penetrate more effectively you also improve your stressed scalp’s circulation.
Leave the treatment on for a while before washing it out with lukewarm water and a mild shampoo specially tailored to the needs of your dry scalp. Finish off your hair care routine with a conditioner from the same care series.