There are few things as miserable, embarrassing or scary as an itchy burning scalp with possible hair thinning or hair loss. Do you have an itchy scalp with hair loss?
It is heartbreaking to watch your hair fall out slowly, but ever so steadily. And it is quite embarrassing when your shoulders are covered in white “snow”, especially when someone brings it to your attention (as if you didn’t know, right?).
Another misery is the burning that comes from scratching a sore, irritated scalp. Do you suffer from this problem? If you do, you are not alone. Itchy scalp problems with hair loss are more common than you might think. But what causes this condition, and more importantly, how can you treat it?
There are many reasons why a scalp produces flaky skin. Let’s go over a few of these reasons, and more importantly, let’s try to pinpoint a couple of simple but effective natural treatments for dandruff and dry scalp problems.
What the difference between dandruff and a dry scalp?
Dry, flaky skin on your scalp can be either dandruff or dry skin. It is important to know the difference between the two because how you go about treating your condition depending on what you actually have.
Is it a dry scalp?
Take a look at your skin flakes. A dry scalp usually produces white, small flakes of skin. Sometimes the scalp is itchy and irritated. This condition can be caused by the use of very hot water when you wash your hair, overwashing your hair, changes in the weather, or using shampoos and conditioners that contain harmful, drying ingredients. This last reason is one of the most common. Inferior shampoos and other hair care products are stripping the scalp of much-needed moisture and oils, resulting in a dry scalp that flakes.
Is it dandruff?
Dandruff, on the other hand, produces flakes that are a bit different than those produced from dry skin. The flakes are usually much larger, is more greasy and can also be gray or yellow in color. They can also be sticky.
Dandruff’s cause is usually associated with some type of infection, such as a fungal infection. Malassezia is a fungus that can cause dandruff. When your body has low immunity, this fungus takes advantage of the situation and wreck havoc on your scalp (and other parts of the body as well). In severe cases, the dandruff causes hair shedding.
So how do I treat these conditions?
Dry Scalp Treatment Tips:
- Your hair, scalp, and skin reflect what is going on inside of you. Even though your scalp needs oils to prevent dryness, make sure you are drinking plenty of water to hydrate your body. When your body is hydrated, it works better and can do a better job of supporting a healthy scalp.
- Get rid of all those harsh shampoos and hair care products and opt for those that are natural and nourishing.
- Cut back on the number of times you wash your hair weekly. If you are washing every day, wash every other day. If you are washing your hair twice a week, wash once a week. And don’t worry that your hair will not be clean. Your hair and scalp will adapt very quickly to the new routine, and it will help your dry scalp problem. Your scalp needs time to produce its own oils to keep it naturally moisturized.
- When washing your hair, don’t use very hot water; try using cooler water. Hot water is just going to take away all those natural oils that are desperately needed to keep your scalp from drying out. Most people wash their hair during their shower. Usually, hot water is used to wash our bodies and so when we wash our hair, we are using the same hot water. Hot water strips the scalp of oils, so use cooler water for the hair.
- Before washing your hair, do a scalp massage. Take your fingers and massage your scalp for about 5 minutes. This simple, yet relaxing task, will help to loosen the dead skin cells and also stimulate your scalp to produce and regulate oils for moisturization. It will also stimulate new hair growth.
Dandruff Treatment Tips:
- Rule #1 – don’t scratch. It is easier said than done, I know. But when you scratch your scalp, you are more prone to infections and irritated skin.
- Choose the right shampoos and other hair care products. Look for anti-fungal ingredients such as tea tree, manuka oil, or grapefruit seed extract. If you find that these shampoos are ineffective, your doctor may prescribe something else for you. As we discussed, most shampoos contain very toxic ingredients, so be careful in choosing the best anti-dandruff shampoo for your situation.
- Give hair care products a rest, if you can. If not, cut back on them. Too many products on the scalp can irritate and make your condition worse.
- Since a fungal infection can cause dandruff, change your pillowcase regularly. Keep your combs and brushes sanitized at all times. Practicing proper hygiene will go a long way to keeping dandruff controlled.
Whether you have dandruff or dry scalp, you can benefit from gentle, natural ingredients. Below are a few effective favorites.
Honey has been proven to help tremendously with dandruff. And no wonder because honey is an humectant that attracts moisture and delivers vitamins and minerals. It contains natural wax. It is also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It has been used for centuries to treat hair and scalp conditions. It is used in many hair care products worldwide. It’s qualities make it a perfect match for dandruff and dry scalp problems.
There was a study where honey was used to treat seborrheic dermatitis (a scalp problem that causes dandruff). Thirty patients were asked to apply diluted honey (90% honey diluted in warm water) every other day for 2-3 minutes. During these treatments, the honey was left for three hours before rinsing. All of the patients responded beautifully. Itching and scaling disappeared within one week. Skin lesions were healed within two weeks, and hair loss was improved as well. (source)
Here’s how you use it:
Make a mixture of 90% raw honey (preferably Manuka) and 10% water. Wet your hair and then massage the mixture into your scalp for about 3 minutes. Now let this mixture sit for three hours, and then rinse with warm water.
Apple Cider Vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is excellent for dandruff and dry scalp because it helps to stabilize the pH balance. When this happens the growth of fungus is inhibited. It also helps to remove dead skin cells, thereby unclogging pores and hair follicles. It also acts to remove any build-up of hair care products.
Mix ¼ cup ACV with ¾ cup warm water. Put the mixture into a spray bottle and apply to your freshly washed scalp and hair. Cover the hair and allow to remain on the scalp for about 30 minutes, and then rinse with warm water. You can use this gentle treatment as often as needed.
Don’t be hesitant to visit a dermatologist if your condition worsens or is unbearable.
How many of you have tried natural remedies for dandruff or an itchy scalp with hair lossp? Do you have a favorite natural treatment for dandruff? Please share your thoughts with us.