Hair » Dry Scalp Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Dry Scalp Causes, Treatment & Prevention

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Have you been struggling with dry, flaky and itchy scalp? This article is an eye-opener to everything pertaining to scalp health, including how to get rid of dry scalp.

In this article:

Common Dry Scalp Causes

Most times, people are not aware that their scalp is dry, dehydrated and needs treatment. Some brush it away as normal scalp issues that would go away without finding out the problems, the dry scalp causes and how to avoid it.

Flaking off and itchy scalp are the two main symptoms of dry scalp, and they occur when the scalp does not produce or hold enough moisture.

There are various causes of dry scalp, and proper care should be taken to avoid them. They are:

  • Older age
  • Reaction to the products you apply on your hair that can cause contact dermatitis, which in turn triggers dry scalp
  • Dry and cold air
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema and ring worm
  • Excessive washing can also cause the scalp to lose moisture

Dry Scalp vs. Dandruff: What’s the Difference?

Thousands of people often mistake one for the other. They may seem like the same condition and even share some common symptoms like flaking and itchy scalp, however dry scalp and dandruff are not the same.

While the skin gets irritated and flakes in case of dealing with dry scalp, the cause of flaking with dandruff is due to excess oil on the scalp. The excess oil causes skin cells’ build-up and shedding. It is important to identify their differences so you don’t use the wrong treatments.

Also, dandruff flakes are bigger and look oily, while in case of dry scalp the flakes are smaller and dry. As opposed to people’s opinion, dirty hair does not cause dandruff. Not washing your hair often enough can cause the oily build-ups to contribute to the flakes.

Dry Scalp vs. Dandruff: What's the Difference?

How to Get Rid of Dry Scalp

Dry scalp can give many women sleepless nights but that doesn’t make it untreatable. Aside from using dry scalp treatment products, there are other ways to hydrate and moisturize the scalp.

  • Deep Treatments: Using natural deep treatments is one of such ways. Such a scalp treatment provides moisture and vibrancy to hair and scalp. From natural oils to products you have in your kitchen, you can combine ingredients to get a great deep treatment for your dry scalp.
  • Exfoliation: Just like your body, your scalp also needs special treatment. It is recommended for you to exfoliate your scalp once or twice a week to reduce flakiness and soothe irritation.
  • Use a Tonic: Scalp tonic penetrates the scalp deeply, providing a long-lasting relief. A leave-in tonic works wonders when it comes to keeping flakes at bay. Before use, it is important you cleanse your scalp thoroughly with a suitable shampoo.
  • Apply Scalp-Soothing Shampoos: This therapeutic treatment, which contains ingredients like zinc, salicylic acid and tea tree oil, not only moisturizes the scalp but also tackles whatever scalp issues you have, no matter the severity.
  • Eat Healthy Food: For any product to work effectively, you also need to aid it by eating nutrient-rich foods and drinking lots of water. Foods like avocado, salmon, nuts and anything containing essential omega-3 oils are recommended.
  • Use Hair Oils: Applying a beneficial hair oil directly to your scalp is another easy and affordable way of treating dry scalp. Coconut and olive oils are both natural oils that not only lubricate the skin but also protect.
  • Avoid Hot Water! This might not only make your hair prone to damage and breaking but also will damage your scalp. If you do not want to use cold water, then use warm water to wash and finish with a cold rinse to seal cuticles and boost circulation in the scalp.
  • See a Specialist! If the dry scalp problem worsens, and the dryness becomes painful, then it’s high time you saw a trichologist or a dermatologist. Prescription dry scalp treatments will be recommended for you.
How to Get Rid of Dry Scalp

Natural At-Home Dry Scalp Remedies That Work

Using the wrong product can worsen your scalp condition instead of treating it. Then again, some dry scalp treatment products may be too expensive and not readily available, that’s we have homemade remedies for dry scalp.

Below are the best at-home dry scalp treatments you can use to get that scalp back to normal.

Coconut Oil

Earlier, I mentioned that natural oils could help get rid of dry scalp. Coconut oil for hair is one of such oil. It has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties and helps in reducing the risk of infections while also moisturizing the scalp. To use this DIY dry scalp treatment, melt a small amount of coconut oil and apply directly to your scalp, massaging gently. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before washing off.

Olive Oil

If you don’t have coconut oil, you can try an olive oil deep dry scalp treatment. It has the same moisturizing properties as coconut oil. Apply the olive oil to your scalp and gently massage it. Wear a shower cap or a plastic wrap for 30 minutes to let the olive oil penetrate deeply. Rinse the olive oil with warm water and use a shampoo to remove it.

Tea Tree Oil

This oil has strong anti-fungal and antibiotic properties just like the coconut oil. Such properties relieve dry scalp. To use this at-home dry scalp remedy, mix a few drops of tea tree oil with olive oil or coconut oil (carrier oil) and massage directly into your scalp.

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is another great anti-inflammatory and moisturizing oil you can use to get rid of dry scalp. Add a few drops of jojoba oil in your regular shampoo and use it to get regular hydration and treat your dry scalp.

Aloe Vera

You can get rid of dry scalp using an aloe vera treatment, which has both moisturizing and anti-inflammatory effects. Simply apply aloe vera to your scalp and let it sit for 10 minutes before washing it off.


Honey is a natural humectant and can act as a wonderful DIY conditioner to treat your dry scalp. You can either combine one-part honey with two parts of your conditioner and use it after shampooing, or mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 4 tablespoons of virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of glycerin to get your homemade honey conditioner you can apply after shampooing your hair.

Witch Hazel

This is an anti-itch dry scalp treatment that is normally used on dry and sensitive skin. It decreases inflammation that can arise as a result of dry scalp and soothes the scalp. To use witch hazel to treat dry scalp, mix one-part witch hazel with two-parts carrier oil or water, and massage the liquid into your scalp. Wait for five minutes before washing it off.

Dry Scalp Remedies

Apple Cider Vinegar

This is that one wonderful ingredient that is recommended in DIY hair care a lot, including for treating dry scalp. It is anti-inflammatory, can remove any bacteria from your scalp and also exfoliates the scalp gently.

The easiest recipe is combining one-part apple cider vinegar with two-parts water and applying it to the scalp. Wait for five minutes before washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner.


Avocado moisturizes and protects your scalp due to the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in it. You can either blend avocado and apply directly to your scalp or use avocado oil as an alternative. You can also use both. To use, blend an avocado, mix it with a few drops of carrier oil and massage it gently into your scalp. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes before rinsing.


Eggs are high in fat and protein so much needed for the healthy state of your hair and scalp. There are multiple deep treatments for dry scalp using eggs and they all are quite effective for clearing up your dry scalp ultimately.

You can combine one beaten egg with a few tablespoons of unflavored yogurt to get an amazing exfoliating paste. Apply it to your scalp and rinse off with lukewarm or cold water after 10 minutes, avoiding hot water in order not to get cooked eggs.

Another deep dry scalp treatment recipe using eggs is mixing 2 egg yolks with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1/8 cup of water. Apply the mixture to your damp hair after shampooing, let it sit for 15 minutes and rinse again with lukewarm water.


Made primarily out of eggs and oil that are rich in protein, this dry scalp treatment also contains vinegar, which acts as a disinfectant. To use this treatment, make sure your hair is dry. Then, apply 1/2 cup of mayonnaise and massage into your scalp. Rinse with warm water after 15 minutes and shampoo.


Bananas are delicious, but also nourishing and moisturizing, acting as a wonderful DIY remedy for dry scalps. Simply mash a banana and combine with a bit of olive oil or coconut oil to get a smooth texture. Massage your scalp with the paste and wash after waiting for 10-15 minutes.

Photos via @skincarestandard, Instagram