Dandruff: What Your Dry, Flaky Scalp Is Trying to Tell You
It’s something we don’t often like to talk about, but it happens to just about everyone at some point. Yup, I’m talking about dandruff. Whether you’ve experienced dandruff once in your lifetime or struggle with a serially dry and flaky scalp, you know that either way, it’s no fun.
Community Manager, HairLust
January, 17, 2020
Stine has a Master in communication from Copenhagen Business School and a never-ending love for the playful world of writing.
At HairLust she works hard to communicate the natural values of the HairLust brand and has pushed HairLust in a more transparent direction. Her knowledge about ingredients and her passion for natural hair care shows in every sentence she writes for us. Read more.
Having dandruff can make it harder to wear your favorite hairstyles, make your routine more time-consuming, and can seriously put a damper on your confidence. That’s why we’ve created this in-depth guide for how to deal with that dry and flaky scalp for good.
Want to know what causes dandruff and learn how you can stop those pesky flakes in their tracks? Keep reading for our go-to guide on banishing dandruff for good.
At its core, dandruff has to do with the skin cells on our scalp. Just like the skin cells on the rest of our body, the ones on our scalp are constantly dividing, multiplying, and being replaced with new cells. The dead cells are then shed off and normally that’s where the story ends.
But if the skin cells on your scalp can’t keep up with themselves and are dividing too fast, then you’ll start to see a problem with buildup, flaking, and eventually full-blown dandruff. And like most things, there are a variety of factors that can contribute to your dry, flaky scalp.
Let’s go ahead and tackle some of the most common causes of dandruff:
Dandruff Cause #1: Your Scalp is Dry
Dry scalp is pretty much exactly what it sounds like—your scalp isn’t getting enough moisture! When that happens, your skin becomes irritated and begins to flake off, leading to dandruff.
Common causes of an overly dry scalp include cold weather/air, old age, and negative reactions to hair products.
Dandruff Cause #2: Your Diet and Lifestyle Need to Change
We know that a poor diet and inactive lifestyle can lead to a variety of health problems, but did you know it could also be causing your dandruff? A diet that’s high in sugar can trigger insulin spikes, which can in turn lead to an overproduction of oil that causes dandruff.
Dandruff Cause #3: Your Scalp is Oily / Irritated
Just like when your skin gets too oily and you find yourself with a new breakout, your scalp reacts similarly when its oil glands go into hyperdrive.
There can be many culprits behind an oily scalp, including genes, diet, hormonal imbalances, pregnancy, and menopause.
Dandruff Cause #4: You’re Not Washing Your Hair Often Enough
Depending on your hair type, you should be washing your hair at least about three times a week. If you go too long without a wash, all the oil, dirt, and product buildup can irritate your scalp and cause dandruff.
Dandruff Cause #5: Your Scalp is Sensitive to Your Hair Products
You probably know of a few foods that upset your stomach, but did you know that there can be just as many hair products out there that upset your scalp? That’s right. Not every hair product works on everyone and if you’re dealing with dandruff, the products in your shower caddy might be to blame.
Consider switching to a dry and flaky scalp treatment specifically made to cater to the needs of your specific hair and scalp type instead of sticking with a product that may not be doing you any favours when it comes to dandruff management.
Dandruff Cause #6: You’ve Got a Skin Condition, Like Psoriasis or Eczema
Certain skin conditions can cause or even exaggerate a dry, flaky scalp. Make sure to consult your dermatologist if you suspect this may be the case.
Here Are 6 Ways to Get Rid of Dandruff For Good
If you’re ready to stop dealing with dandruff, there are several ways you can bring your scalp back to a healthy place. Stick around because we’re going to jump into our tried-and-true methods for banishing that dry, flaky scalp for good.
1. Switch Up Your Diet
Like we mentioned before, your diet is way more important to your scalp’s health than you might realise. If you’re struggling with dandruff and a dry, flaky scalp and can’t seem to fix it, consider giving your diet a makeover.
Adding biotin, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids, along with plenty of fruits and veggies can help improve your scalp’s oil production and help the overall quality of your skin, hair, and nails. If it’s difficult to add all of these vitamins and minerals through your diet at once, take a supplement to help get you started.
Oftentimes we’re told that we’re washing our hair too often. And while that may be the case for certain hair types and people with dry hair, if you’re dealing with a dry, flaky scalp, you should be washing your hair more often.
If you currently wash your hair only two times a week, try washing your hair every other day. And if you already wash your hair daily, consider this next tip we’re about to give you.
3. Try a Scalp Scrub
One of the easiest ways to get rid of excessive buildup and dandruff is to try our favourite dry, flaky scalp treatment—the scalp scrub. Our Hair & Scalp Detox Scrub is specifically formulated to help remove product residue, excess oils, and hard water minerals and get your scalp back in tip-top shape.
Simply use in the shower once a week and follow up with your shampoo and conditioner as usual.
4. Don’t Scratch
Remember how your mom always told you not to scratch or pick at your pimples? Well the same principle applies to a dry, flaky scalp. We know it can be tempting to scratch your dandruff off (especially if it’s causing your scalp to feel itchy), but it’s one of the least helpful things you can do.
Instead of using your sharp nails to scratch and irritate your scalp further, try gently tapping your scalp with the palm of your hand to relieve the itching sensation without irritation.
If your current hair care routine is making your scalp unhappy, it’s time to switch things up. A good shampoo and conditioner pair should nourish, protect, and moisturise your hair and scalp without creating more dandruff or causing irritation.
Don’t just stop at the products you use in the shower though. You can do your scalp a huge favour by controlling what you sleep on at night. While most pillowcases are made of material that isn’t very breathable, a Pure Bamboo Pillowcase protects your hair from damage and is especially helpful for those with sensitive scalps.
Treatments You Can Do at Home For a Dry, Flaky Scalp:
If you can’t get your hands on any new products quite yet or want to see results more quickly, you can always have a go at a dry, flaky scalp treatment you can DIY from the comfort of your own home.
Tea Tree Oil:
You may have heard of using tea tree oil to help combat acne and oily skin, but did you know it can be an effective way to treat a dry, flaky scalp too?
By adding 4-5 drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo, you can quickly create a dry, flaky scalp treatment that can help get your hair back to normal. Tea tree oil works to help manage dandruff by reducing yeast overgrowth on your scalp and can also relieve the itchiness and soreness often associated with a dry, flaky scalp.
Apple Cider Vinegar:
Another great dry, flaky scalp treatment is good ol’ apple cider vinegar. Either add a tablespoon to your shampoo or spritz onto your scalp via spray bottle for a dandruff-busting effect.
The acidic nature of ACV works to stop the growth of certain dandruff-causing microbes and can help balance your scalp’s pH levels if they’re out of whack.
Oh coconut oil, what can’t you do? Turns out this miracle oil is pretty great at relieving a dry, flaky scalp with its über-moisturizing properties.
Before washing your hair, apply a generous amount of coconut oil to your scalp as a mask, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then wash your hair as normal. Repeat once a week to help relieve dandruff.
Here’s another dry, flaky scalp treatment you might not have heard of before. We all know aloe vera is the bomb when it comes to bringing sweet, sweet relief to sunburns, but like coconut oil, aloe vera can also help a dry scalp retain more moisture. Plus, aloe vera contains anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe and relieve an itchy scalp.
Again, apply like a mask and let sit before rinsing and washing hair as usual.
Alright, listen up. This dry, flaky scalp treatment should be used with caution, as it may cause irritation if your scalp is sensitive.
If you want to DIY a lemon treatment for dandruff, we suggest not applying lemon juice directly to your scalp, but mixing a tablespoon or so into a mixture of coconut oil and sugar to create a gentle scalp scrub you can use to slough away buildup. Just make sure to stop your usage immediately if you notice any burning, redness, or irritation!
Instead of sugar, mix salt with your favorite oil to create another dry, flaky scalp treatment. After scrubbing (gently, mind you!), follow through with your shampoo and conditioner. You know the routine.
Now here’s something nearly everyone has in their kitchen. If you find yourself dealing with a dry, flaky scalp on the reg, using olive oil can help you out in a pinch.
Just massage 1-2 tablespoons into your scalp for one minute. Then leave on for 15-20 minutes, rinse, and shampoo like you normally would. This is also a great treatment for bringing new life to dull or damaged tresses!
Now that you know pretty much everything there is to know when it comes to dandruff, we hope you’re able to banish that pesky dandruff once and for all!
Stine has a Master in communication from Copenhagen Business School and a never-ending love for the playful world of writing. At HairLust she works hard to communicate the natural values of the HairLust brand and has pushed HairLust in a more transparent direction. Her knowledge about ingredients and her passion for natural hair care shows in every sentence she writes for us.