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Dry Scalp: Causes and How to Help Treat It

Hair health doesn't just apply to locks. Learn how to get rid of a dry scalp with our expert recommendations and tips.

The bounce and shine of our manes relies not only on the way we care for our hair, but also on how we look after our scalp. When the skin on our head is aggravated or stressed, it can become dry and flaky. This occurrence is common, and most of us will be familiar with the symptoms of a dry scalp.

Thankfully, there are simple and proactive steps you can take to both manage and prevent dry scalps. This form of selfcare is often left out of our regimes but taking time to ensure your scalp remains hydrated is worth it. Scalps are no different to the rest of the skin on our body – when it’s healthy we look and feel our best, and when the balance is out, we can suffer from painful and irritating symptoms.

To understand more about dry scalps, including what causes it, and the best dry scalp treatment, read on.


What is dry scalp?

Think of the scalp as your hair’s helping hand. The scalp is made of two layers – the dermis, the deeper layer, and the epidermis, the outer. The scalp supports hair growth through its sebaceous glands, which produce both the hair follicle and sebum. Sebum is a natural oil which serves to moisturise and protect skin from external irritants like dehydration and pollution. When our scalp produces too little sebum, it becomes dry, leading to the condition known as dry scalp.

Symptoms of a dry scalp

Dry scalps are often mistaken for dandruff, but they are in fact two different conditions. Whereas dandruff can be caused by the overproduction of sebum, dry scalp is caused by a lack of it. The results can be irritating, embarrassing and sometimes painful. Symptoms of dry scalp include small dry flakes (smaller than and often mistaken for dandruff), and itchiness.

What causes a dry scalp?

Pre-existing skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema can cause a dry scalp, but there are a range of factors that can make anyone prone to it. Remember that your scalp is no different to the rest of the skin on your body – it’s the first defence against external irritants and is therefore susceptible to change. Knowing how to get rid of a dry scalp starts with the causes. Below are the biggest causes of dry scalp to look out for.

The Environment

Our environment presents a range of stressors that our skin works hard to defend against. Just like the skin on your face, our scalp can dry out in harsh, colder weather or exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Long-haul flights, where there is a lack of moisture in the air can cause dryness on the scalp. The same goes for pollution in the air, which can clog the sebaceous glands and unbalance the natural production of oil.

Chemical treatments & hair washing

The use of chemical treatments on hair without proper guidance from a stylist can cause dehydration in your scalp. Alongside special treatments, our everyday hair routine also carries its own risk. By over-washing your hair, you risk stripping your scalp of its natural, healthy levels of oils. It’s important to leave time between washes to encourage the natural ecosystem of your skin.

Stress Levels

Stress is an inevitable part of our fast-paced lives. Being aware of and responding to your stress levels is important for not only your mental health but your physical health too. When we experience stress, our hormones increase, leading to an overproduction or underproduction of moisture is skin.


How to Treat a Dry Scalp

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we have you covered. Managing a dehydrated scalp comes down to the changes you make to your everyday hair routine. By incorporating products that target the symptoms of dry scalp and support the natural renewal of moisture, you can manage your dry scalp from the comfort of home.

Know the difference between dry scalp and dandruff

Although many of the signs of a dry scalp and dandruff overlap, there is a difference. A dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin while dandruff imay have several causes, including the overproduction of oil. This can happen when scalp health is out of balance - either too oily or too dry. Knowing these differences and identifying whether you have a dry scalp or dandruff can help you target the underlying cause of your issue and treat a dry scalp effectively.

Use a nourishing shampoo

When you are experiencing a dry scalp, using certain shampoos may strip your scalp’s natural oils. Look for nourishing and cleansing scalp care shampoos that contain skin-enforcing ingredients. Our Spécifique Vital Dermo-Calm Shampoo for Sensitive Scalp gently cleanses and nourishes the scalp to comfort any sensitivity that may occur as a result of a dry scalp.

Incorporate a scalp scrub into your routine

Using a scalp scrub can help detox and nourish your dry scalp. The Symbiose Micro-Exfoliating Cellular Scalp Scrub isn't only beneficial for those experiencing dandruff. This purifying scalp scrub will help gently exfoliate the scalp while providing a cooling effect, making it perfect for uncomfortable and sensitive dry scalps.

Use a hair mask treatment

Hair masks are your secret weapon in rejuvenating tired hair, and the same goes for your scalp! By using a hydrating hair mask like the Spécifique Masque Rehydratant Hydrating Mask, the health of your hair can be improved from the 'ground up'.

Use intensive treatments where your scalp is especially dry

Sometimes dry scalp care requires special attention. If itching or dry flakes in your scalp persists, use a targeted treatment to solve dry woes. By using our Spécifique Cure Anti-Chute Scalp Concentrate, discomfort is eliminated, and your scalp is protected against oxidative stress.

Use scalp serums

One of the most effective hair products for treating dry scalp is scalp serums. Unlike hair serums that are usually only applied to your lengths, a scalp serum is directly applied to the scalp to promote a healthy microbiome. Using a scalp serum like the Nutritive Scalp Food Hydrating Scalp Serum will help treat a dry scalp by regulating and protecting hydration levels.

Try a scalp massage

Scalp massages not only feel good but can have several benefits for the health of your scalp. Receiving regular scalp massage can help remove dead skin cells and product build-up, improving oil control and scalp dryness.

Now that you know how get rid of a dry scalp for good, find out more about how to fix dry hair.

Shop The Dry Scalp Routine


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