Dealing with a dry scalp is no walk in the park. From dandruff to scalp soreness and pesky flakes, a dry scalp can become uncomfortable to deal with. The good news is there are a few tried-and-true remedies to soothe an irritated scalp. Scalp-care has gained major headway in the hair-care industry, now being recognized as an integral aspect of any hair-care routine. Continue reading for everything you need to know about combating a dry scalp after 40.
What Causes a Dry Scalp?
Itching, flaking and irritation are common signs of a dry scalp. A dry scalp occurs when there is not enough oil for the skin to feel lubricated and moisturized. A dry scalp can compromise the appearance of your hair, making it look dry and brittle. It is a common misconception that a dry scalp is the same thing as dandruff, however this is not the case. Dandruff is a chronic scalp condition caused by a fungus, called malassezia. Dandruff flakes are bigger and oilier than flakes from a dry scalp. A dry scalp can have a few different causes, though most commonly is a result of a change in weather or harsh hair-care products. Additional causes of a dry scalp include over-washing your hair, dehydration, eczema and psoriasis. If you are experiencing symptoms of eczema or psoriasis, it is best to consult your dermatologist before trying any home remedies.
How to Combat Dry Scalp after 40?
Use Gentle Products
Harsh, chemical-heavy hair products have no place in a dry scalp-care regimen. Many gels, creams and sprays collect on your scalp and form tiny flakes. The additives in shampoos can be unsafe and irritating for sensitive scalp skin. Chemicals are added to many products as preservatives and detergents. Avoid ingredients like parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrance and coal tar in any hair product. Harsh ingredients strip your scalp of its natural oil, leaving the scalp skin dry and tight. Instead, opt for gentle formulas packed with soothing oils and natural clarifying agents. Below you will find hydrating, soothing ingredients to look for in hair products:
- Tea tree oil offers antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory benefits. Tea tree oil acts as a natural conditioner and reduces scalp flaking and itchiness. It increases blood flow, helping nutrients reach your hair follicles.
- Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help reduce the risk of scalp infections. It is also a strong moisturizer, so it works wonders on dry skin conditions. The vitamins and fatty acids found in coconut oil nourish the scalp and strands.
- Ginger improves the health and cleanliness of the scalp. It calms dryness and itchiness, while also stimulating circulation to the scalp.
- Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory properties and is an effective moisturizing agent. It helps soothe skin irritations and repairs dead skin cells.
- Centella Asiatica is an herb that provides the scalp with a soothing sensation and strengthens the hair follicles.
Find the Right Hair-Washing Schedule
Daily hair washes make your mane feel fresh and clean, but they may be adding to your scalp’s dryness. On the other hand, not washing enough can also lead to a dry scalp. Sounds tricky, right? It may take trial-and-error to discover the washing schedule that works for your hair type. Start by considering how often you wash your tresses. Does your scalp itch after a few days without washing? If so, consider washing your hair more frequently.
Use a Scalp Exfoliator
Exfoliation is a cornerstone of scalp health. A purifying scalp exfoliator will detoxify and hydrate a dry scalp. A scalp exfoliator is formulated to remove oil, dirt, dead skin cells and product buildup from the scalp to make way for fresh skin and hair growth. Exfoliating the scalp allows its natural oils to nourish the scalp and maintain hair health. Treat yourself to a scalp exfoliation every seven to 10 shampoos. Be kind to your scalp by choosing gentle products with natural ingredients.
Give Yourself a Scalp Massage
Not only do scalp massages feel amazing, they increase circulation and loosen any scalp impurities. Scalp massages are beneficial for those who suffer from a dry scalp because they remove dead skin cells from your scalp and aid with hair regrowth. To give your scalp a soothing massage, use your fingertips to apply medium pressure in small circular motions. Massage your scalp for a few minutes to ensure you work your way across your entire scalp. Consider using a scalp serum, like the one from Better Not Younger, which contains nourishing ingredients like centella asiatica, oleanolic acid and ginger.
Clean Up Your Diet
The foods you consume may trigger dry skin conditions. Your diet is directly related to the health of your skin and scalp. A high-carb diet can lead to increased yeast on the scalp, which can result in scalp flakes and dryness. Also, an excessive amount of sugar increases the body’s production of androgen, a hormone that damages hair follicles. Sugar can cause flaky, itchy skin. Additionally, too much alcohol can contribute to an irritated scalp because it decreases your body’s levels of zinc, an important nutrient for hair health. Alcohol dehydrates the body, which can also increase skin dryness.
To keep your scalp hydrated and healthy, ensure your diet includes sources of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamins A, B and C. Also, don’t forget to drink water!
Scalp-care isn’t the most glamorous aspect of our hair regimen, but it makes all the difference in supporting healthy aging hair. To combat a dry scalp, consider using a gentle shampoo, give your scalp a scrub, and prioritize a nutritious diet.