A dry, flaky scalp is hard to hide. Indeed, it can be downright embarrassing to have a dusting of flaky skin circling your shoulders. However, the greatest discomfort for many people is the itching that accompanies flaking skin.
Flaking is usually caused by dandruff or dry scalp. Although both conditions have very similar symptoms, they are caused by different processes. Flaking caused by dandruff or dry scalp can be difficult to treat. Furthermore, dandruff can worsen baldness in both males and females. Fortunately, there are treatment options that can restore your scalp and hair health and eradicate those embarrassing flakes.
Dandruff Versus Dry Scalp
Flaking skin is the hallmark symptom of both dandruff and dry scalp. However, each condition has different factors that cause flaking.
When a person has dandruff, their skin cells shed more rapidly than normal. Symptoms of dandruff include:
- An itchy scalp
- A scalp that is oily, red, or scaly
- Large flakes that are oily, and yellow or white in color
There are two primary conditions that are thought to cause dandruff: seborrheic dermatitis and malassezia. Seborrheic dermatitis is most commonly found on the scalp but can also affect other oily parts of the body, such as the face and upper chest. Excess production of oil can irritate the skin, causing an increased turnover of skin cells. Malassezia is a fungus that lives in harmony with oil glands on your scalp. However, when malassezia grows in abnormal quantities, it can lead to an overproduction of oil, which in turn causes skin cells to turn over more quickly. Age, stress, and hormones can all increase malassezia growth and subsequent flaking.
A dry scalp is the result of a deficiency in skin moisture. When the skin on your scalp is too dry, it can lead to flaking because the skin is irritated. Many people with dry scalp notice the flaking worsens with cold, dry weather such as in the winter months. Certain hair habits and products can also lead to dry scalp including harsh shampoos, styling gels, hair dyes, and sprays. Furthermore, dry scalp can worsen as you get older.
How Can I Prevent Flaking?
There are certain steps that you can take can reduce your risk of flaking.
Good hair hygiene - Healthy hygiene habits can improve dandruff. When your hair is not washed frequently, oil build-up can increase scalp flaking. If dandruff is the culprit behind your flaking scalp, wash your hair daily to keep up with oil production. Make sure to rinse your hair thoroughly of shampooing products so that your skin is clean and free of product build-up.
Shampoo products are key - The shampoo you use is imperative to your scalp and hair health. If your flaking is caused by dry scalp, use a mild soap to minimize dryness from chemicals and a hydrating conditioner to restore moisture in your skin. There are many over-the-counter (OTC) products that aim to treat flaking skin caused by dandruff. These shampoos primarily contain either antifungals or acids. Dandruff shampoos that serve to treat abnormal levels of melassezia may contain pyrithione zinc, selenium sulfide, or ketoconazole. Salicylic acid and coal tar are also primary ingredients found in some OTC shampoo products. These shampoos aim to remove scaly skin before it has the opportunity to flake onto your hair and shoulders. If you choose to treat your dandruff with OTC shampoos, it is important to follow directions carefully on how and when to use the product.
There are side effects to OTC shampoos that you should consider when shopping for dandruff relief. Firstly, some shampoos that aim to remove scaly skin in fact create more dryness and dandruff due to the acid in the product. Secondly, some people develop a tolerance to OTC shampoo products and find they have to switch products frequently in order to gain control over their frustrating dandruff. Thirdly, shampooing products may discolor your skin or hair. And finally, some people who have used OTC shampoos have experienced hair loss.
For a long-term, clinically-proven product that controls flaking, scaling, and irritation, consider Dandrene® Anti-Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner to restore your scalp health. Dandrene® Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is a high-performance system that not only restores hydration and exfoliates, but it also targets fungus-causing dandruff with the maximum concentration of zinc pyrithione. Furthermore, Dandrene® restores your hair health and increases hair thickness and shine.
Dandruff is a cause of hair loss in both men and women. Fortunately, Revita.CBD shampoo can stimulate hair growth and combat dandruff. Using cutting-edge research to tap into cannabinoid receptors in your skin cells, Revita.CBD contains super antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents that strengthen existing hair follicles while simultaneously growing new hair.
Consider tea tree oil - If you are looking for a natural remedy for flaking, some people find that tea tree oil relieves itching and flaking. However, tea tree oil may cause burning or even an allergic reaction. If you want to try tea tree oil, first consider applying it in a small area on your arm to ensure you do not react negatively to this product.
Avoid harsh cosmetic procedures on your hair - Cosmetic chemical treatments, such as hair coloring and permanents, can worsen flaking and hair loss. Similarly, products that contain oils to increase shine can worsen dandruff.
Sun exposure - A little bit of time in the sun every day can do wonders for your skin and hair health. Indeed, sunlight can improve other skin issues including eczema. As always, it is important to limit sun exposure and wear a good sunscreen to reduce your risk of skin cancer.
Lifestyle modifications - Stress can wreak havoc on your body, including your skin. Many people with flaky skin find that it worsens when they are stressed or tired. Yoga, exercise, good sleep hygiene, and a healthy diet can be great tools to reduce stress in your life.
Hydrate - One of the primary causes of a flaky scalp is dry skin. Drink plenty of water to moisturize from the inside out.
Dandruff and dry skin can accompany you throughout your life. And indeed, they can worsen with age. Establishing healthy habits and finding a good product that can restore health back into your scalp and hair is key for controlling flaking and feeling your best. Shop our collection of dandruff-fighting shampoos to get rid of embarrassing flaking and itching, and regain your confidence.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, does not take the place of medical advice from your physician, and is not intended to treat or cure any disease. Patients should see a qualified medical provider for assessment and treatment.