Dandruff: 7 ways to get rid of itchy, dry scalp

Photo Credit: Instagram: Simply Cyn

Dry scalp can happen all year round. But it is more common in winter. It is characterized by loose, white, powdery flakes. Some confuse dry scalp and dandruff. Below we discussed the differences.

In most cases, it is caused by dehydrated sebaceous glands (the glands that produce the natural oil for our scalp).

This dehydration may be due to extreme climate, not drinking enough water or skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.

Dry scalp is caused by a yeast-like fungus called malassezia, also known as pityrosporum. Malassezia is normally found on the scalp without causing problems.

However, hormone imbalances, stress, immune suppression, rare shampooing, illness or increased oil production can result in mild inflammation that results in dead skin cells. These dead cells are mixed with oil and clumps resulting in flakes that appear white and sometimes yellowish.

Do you have extremely dry winter hair? Read: 4 Quick Ways To Revive Hair In Winter

There are some simple tricks for handling dandruff, getting rid of the flakes and dry scalp.


Pre-poo is the method of using your favorite moisturizer, oil blend or aloe vera to completely saturate your hair and scalp before shampooing. Let your pre-poo treatment sit for about 20 minutes or so, it can help soothe the dryest scalp.

The benefits of pre-pooing or a pre-poo treatment

The use of a "pre-poo" prior to the shampoo process provides many additional benefits to the hair and scalp. Here are just a few.

  • Helps with the detangling process (before shampoo)
  • Adds extra oils and moisture, reducing the dryness of the hair and scalp that can be caused by shampoos
  • Pre-poo oil blend can be blended with your favorite moisturizing conditioner or used alone.
  • Helps fight boredom due to stripping natural oils during the shampooing process.
  • Makes hair softer, more manageable

The perfect Pre-Poo treatment for dry scalp

Pre-poo oil blend: mix ½ cup coconut, ½ cup olive oil and ¼ cup castor oil; Add 1 tablespoon tea tree oil or 2 drops of eucalyptus. Be careful not to overuse eucalyptus oil; it is extremely potent and can cause irritation if not properly mixed.

Nature's Way Organic Coconut Oil

Natural oils

The key to combating dry scalp is to integrate natural oils into your hair care program. Not just some oils, but the right ones that help maintain a healthy scalp.

Olive and coconut oil have anti-fungal and bacterial properties and they also absorb easily into the scalp.

Jojoba oil is more similar to sebum or oily fat secretion by the sebaceous glands, which act as a lubricant for hair and skin and provide some protection against bacteria.

Some other amazing oils are jojoba oil, coconut oil, olive oil and castor oil.

Read: The benefits of coconut and olive oil

Read: Best oils for hair growth

Castile soap

Castilla soap is a natural soap derived from vegetable oils. It usually consists of coconut, jojoba, olive and hemp oils and essential oils for fragrance. It is thoroughly cleaned with natural oils but cleaned without drying out the hair or scalp.

We recommend that instead of shampooing twice with a regular sulfate shampoo, first you can replace with castile soap and then follow with your regular sulfate shampoo.

Castile soap can have a high pH. Shampooing in the above order helps to restore and maintain a healthy pH.

Buy Dr. Bonner Peppermint Castile Soap

Apple Cider

Apple cider vinegar is also rinsed well. Mix a solution of 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to 3 cups of water, pour into a spray bottle, measure hair, cover with a plastic cap and leave for 20-30 minutes.

This helps with many irritating scalp conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and dandruff. It is rinsed clean, removes product build-up and also gives shine and restores the pH of the hair. ACV has anti-inflammatory properties that help destroy yeast that can follow dandruff or dry scalp and cause itchy scalp.

A few drops of rosemary or tea tree oil will increase this rinse, says Shera Lee, health coach and yoga instructor told Beauty High. Those with a very sensitive scalp should be careful when adding essential oils and can find comfort by increasing the amount of water used for the blend.

Read more about the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for your hair and scalp

Try dry scalp with peppermint oil
100% Peppermint Oil (Drugstore.com, $ 7.99)

Essential oils

Peppermint Oil – The PH levels found in Peppermint Oil help balance the dryness of the scalp while neutralizing oil production, providing quick relief from an itchy scalp.

Melaleuca Alternifolia, or simply "Tea Tree Oil" is ubiquitous in shampoos and conditioners for this particular condition largely due to its highly antiseptic properties. It is a triple threat of scalp irritation due to its anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Again,

Again, Tea Tree Oil should not be used at full strength and is best when used with a carrier oil.

Shampoo with a clarifying or chelating shampoo

Flaky is a good indication that it's time to use a clarifying or chelating shampoo to really detox the hair and scalp. They are specially formulated to get rid of things that ordinary shampoo leaves behind. This can be hard water materials or product residues.

Here is a list of clarifying and chelating shampoos for natural hair

Ouidad Superfruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo
SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo
Kinky Curly Come Clean Natural moisturizing shampoo sulphate free
Eden BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Moisturizing Shampoo
Eden BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Clear Shampoo


Bentonite clay is known to pull dirt and contaminants from the hair and scalp without drying the hair of its natural oils. It can be the perfect solution for hydrating the sebaceous glands that are basic.

Here is more about Bentonite and how to use this treatment for your hair and scalp.

Both dry scalp and dandruff are very common. It can be embarrassing and annoying. Some people experience more severe flaking, dry scalp. If inflammation and extreme conditions persist, make an appointment with a dermatologist who can prescribe medicated ointments. Each situation is case by case and should be assessed if the problem persists or worsens.

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