Disclaimer: This article is not meant as medical advice. We always recommend you consult with a dermatologist if you’re experiencing severe scalp issues.
Do you frequently find yourself itching your scalp? You’re not alone!
If you’ve ruled out lice and any other dermatological issues (like eczema etc.), then you’re probably dealing with 1 of 2 things:
- Dandruff OR
- Dry Scalp
Identifying the root cause of your symptoms is crucial for choosing the right shampoo, treating your symptoms properly and avoiding worsening them.
How to figure out what you have:
If you’re itchy all year round and have large, yellow flakes, then you probably have dandruff. Flakes from dandruff are also more likely to look oily.
However, if your scalp is only itchy sometimes (usually during the winter) and you have smaller, white flakes, then you must likely suffer from a dry scalp.
What causes dandruff?
Your skin is an organ that is constantly shedding old skin cells and regenerating. An imbalance in scalp conditions may cause the cells to stick together and shed faster, in large clumps. Scalp imbalances that lead to dandruff might occur due to fungal infections, scalp oils or sensitivity to hair products.
How to treat dandruff?
Most people think that if they have dandruff, they need to be shampooing very frequently to keep the scalp clean. Ironically, too much shampooing can actually exacerbate the problem, especially if you’re using the wrong shampoo.
Because most supermarket shampoos have harsh stripping agents in them, frequent shampooing removes all the natural sebum (oils) that your scalp produces. To compensate, your scalp will overproduce sebum and then you end up with an oily scalp, as well as dandruff.
We recommend using a gentle clarifying shampoo like the Bounce Curl Gentle Clarifying Shampoo or the Flora & Curl Coconut & Mint Scalp Refresh Shampoo. These shampoos still cleanse your scalp thoroughly, without causing imbalances.
*Dandruff that is caused from a fungal infection might require special treatment. If you try a gentle / more moisturising shampoo and still feel like your scalp is not improving, we suggest consulting a specialist.
What causes a dry scalp?
When your scalp lacks moisture and is deficient in natural oils, it becomes dry. If you have chronically dry skin, you’re more likely to have a dry scalp. Dry scalp and dry hair usually go hand in hand because oils from your scalp are responsible for keeping your hair hydrated, so when those are lacking, your hair is subsequently dry.
There are a few things that may cause a dry scalp:
- Excessive washing: This removes healthy, natural oils from your skin, making it prone to dryness.
- Dry air during winter months: This causes the moisture from your skin to be drawn out and into the environment, leaving it dehydrated.
- Specific skin conditions like eczema result in dryness and other symptoms.
How to treat a dry scalp?
If you find yourself shampooing more than 3 times per week, AND you’re using a strong shampoo, it’s time for a change!
If you can’t cut down on frequent washing, try a gentler, more hydrating shampoo instead. If you're washing 2-3 times per week, we recommend you go for the CurlyEllie Gentle Shampoo. If you’re washing 4+ times per week, opt for the Flora & Curl Rose & Honey Cream Shampoo.
If you’re able to wash 1-2 times per week, the Flora & Curl Coconut & Mint Scalp Refresh Shampoo is the perfect solution.
*If you’re washing frequently because you want to refresh your curls, try wetting your hair without using a shampoo, instead of doing a full wash. At the end of the day, it’s all about experimenting to see what works best for you!
Listen to your scalp
Whether you’re battling with a dry scalp or dandruff, using the right products & avoiding irritants can significantly improve your scalp health. Experimenting is an important part of figuring out what works for your scalp & hair, so it may take some trial and error until you discover your perfect routine.
Try our recommendations for at least a month, and text us to tell us more about your journey!