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Ever found yourself scratching at your head throughout the day and wondering why?
You could be suffering from men's dry scalp - a condition that affects most of us at some point in our lives. Some men have been plagued with a dry, itchy scalp for years but for others, it comes and goes.
In this blog, we explain what men's dry scalp is, what causes it, and most importantly - how to eliminate it.
Dry Scalp or Dandruff?
First up, you need to determine whether you're suffering from Dry Scalp or Dandruff.
They're often confused because both conditions look similar but in reality, they're very different:
- Men's Dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in your scalp. This causes the skin on your scalp to become irritated and flake off. If your scalp is dry, you'll probably have dry skin elsewhere on your body too.
- Dandruff is caused by too much oil in your hair. This excess oil causes skin cells to build up and shed.
Use this table to check whether you're suffering from Dry Scalp or dandruff:
Men's Dry Scalp Cause 1: Using The Wrong Hair Products
Why? The ingredients in some shampoos and conditioners can cause allergic reactions in some men.
If you've noticed your scalp turning red and itching after you wash your hair, you're likely suffering from a reaction to the products. This is known as dermatitis.
Solution: The key is identifying which product is causing your dry scalp in the first place.
Find the culprit by the process of elimination. If you shampoo and condition your hair, change out your shampoo for a week. If this doesn't help, change out your conditioner.
The good news is that in most cases, dermatitis will disappear in 2-4 weeks, once you cut out the substance causing the problem.
Always pay attention to what's in your shampoo and conditioner.
Synthetic chemicals and artificial fragrances can irritate your scalp. Always go for natural hair care products for men.
Avoid anything which contains bleach, alcohol, or strong synthetic fragrances that can dry and irritate your scalp.
Look for ingredients like:
- Aloe Vera - helps heal and soothe your scalp.
- Kakadu Plum Extract -an ingredient native to Australia which is great at flushing out toxins and calming your skin.
- Cinnamon Leaf Oil - enhances circulation and nourishes your scalp.
Men's Dry Scalp Cause 2: Not Treating Your Scalp like Your Skin
Why? The skin on your scalp is the same as the skin on the rest of your body. You exfoliate and moisture your face, so why ignore your scalp?
Using a hair conditioner after shampooing your hair isn't enough. Hair conditioner is - as the name suggests - designed to condition your hair and the ingredients in some cheaper hair conditioners can further irritate your scalp.
Solution: You need a solid scalp care routine. In addition to the routine we outlined above:
- Brush your hair every day - this is good for blood circulation in the scalp.
- Shampoo and condition your hair 2-3 times a week.
- Condition your scalp regularly using a men's dry scalp treatment. Massage the treatment onto the scalp well. This step is key - leave the treatment in your hair for at least 20 minutes before rinsing out.
Men's Dry Scalp Cause 3: Dying Your Hair
Why? If you dye your hair, your scalp can react to Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) - the chemical substance widely used in men's hair dyes.
Solution: Find a hair dye that is PPD Free. (Or get rid of your dye altogether. Gray hair is good - just ask George Clooney.)
Men's Dry Scalp Cause 4: Too Much Scratching
Why? This is a difficult one. If your scalp is itchy, you want to scratch it. But continually scratching serves only to make the problem worse. It irritates the skin and can cause flaking, cuts, and bleeding - increasing the likelihood of developing a scalp infection.
Solution: Long term, you need to identify what's causing this problem but short term, get a cool, wet flannel and place it on your scalp for 30 minutes, a few times a day to soothe the itch.
Men's Dry Scalp Cause 5: Weather Changes
Why? When it gets cold, air humidity drops, which dries out your skin (think 'chapped lips'). The same is true of hot weather.
Solution: There's not much you can do about the weather (any British person will tell you that) so the key is keeping your scalp moisturized.
If you're working from home, consider buying a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
Men's Dry Scalp Cause 6: Eczema
Why? Eczema is a skin condition that leaves your scalp dry, red, itchy, and cracked.
Eczema is caused by several things, like:
- Dry skin
- An immune system problem
- Environmental triggers such as pollution
- Perfume and fragrance
Solution? Through a process of elimination - identify, and then avoid products that trigger your symptoms.
Speak to your doctor about using a cream to add moisture back into your scalp.
Manage stress with relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing, and taking 20 minutes away from your phone, TV, and laptop at the end of your day.
Summary - How To Fix An Itchy, Flaky Scalp
Don't neglect your dry scalp - develop a regular scalp-care routine and don't over shampoo and condition your hair. 2-3 times per week is enough for most men.
Identify what could be causing the problem in the first place and eliminate the problematic product through a process of elimination.
Search for a treatment that hydrates and soothes your scalp, replenishing your skin with moisture to help prevent Dry Scalp from reoccurring.
Always look for soothing natural ingredients like Aloe Vera and Kakadu Plum Extract and if you don't understand an ingredient - don't take the risk. Google it.
Make sure you treat your scalp 1-2 times a week with a natural men's scalp treatment and make sure the products you use are free from artificial ingredients and fragrance which could lead to even more irritation.
Finally, here's a list of natural ingredients that help alleviate dry scalp:
- Aloe Vera Leaf Juice - soothes and hydrates your dry scalp.
- Argan Kernel Oil - an antioxidant that reduces scalp inflammation.
- Coconut Oil - moisturizes your scalp and loosens dead skin cells.
- Quandong Seed Oil - a natural medicine with skin healing qualities.
- Kakadu Plum Fruit Extract - a natural antioxidant that can repair skin. damage.
- Patchouli Oil - a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic used to treat irritated scalps.
- Ylang Ylang Flower Oil - naturally stimulates sebum production, helping to keep your scalp hydrated.