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Why A Dry Scalp Is The Hidden Cause Of Thinning Hair.

scratching scalp

Autumn means damp days and darker clothing so it’s important to keep your shoulders flake free. Ever been out and looked down and seen an embarrassing dusting of fake snow on your shoulders? Oh just me then! It’s caused by a dry scalp.

Dry scalp is often confused with dandruff but they are two separate conditions, although the symptoms are similar. With dandruff the main symptoms are greasy, yellowish or grey flakes that are relatively large. With a dry scalp it is often whiter and much finer which means it falls much more easily! It happens more than you would imagine, especially in the colder winter months with the central heating on as this can dry out the scalp to the max.

Why a dry scalp may affect hair growth.

When it comes to the condition of your hair, its texture and thickness, the condition of the scalp is key. Those of us with thinning hair can improve the thickness and amount of existing hair growth by making sure our scalp isn’t dry. There doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of evidence that dry scalp actually causes hair loss but according to experts or trichologists, there is evidence that it can disrupt our hair growth.

It appears that a dry scalp may prevent some new hair growth by blocking individual hair follicles. This further causes clogging of the hair follicle with scalp sebum build up, leading to limited hair growth. In practical terms, the new hair growth struggles to push past this plug on the surface of the scalp.

It makes total sense, a soft moisturised scalp will provide the best environment for new hair growth.We are losing and replacing hair all the time, so the hair we have left needs to be growing to its maximum capacity. This way it will remain thick and healthy, instead of thinning in the areas where no male pattern baldness may be occurring.

What are the causes of a dry scalp?

One of the main causes of a dry scalp may be an allergic reaction to a product that you are using, it may just be too harsh for your scalp! Sulphate-free and organic shampoos are a lot gentler and contain less of the additives that your scalp may react too.  They are also milder so will not strip the hair of existing oils.


Try washing your hair less…every other day?

Stress can also play a part.  When I was doing my university finals my scalp became so dry my buddies nicknamed me ‘Scurf’!

Maybe I shouldn’t have shared that with you!

How to prevent a dry scalp

For those with a severe dry scalp a moisturising treatment once a week can really help. I have tried Dr Hauschka Neem hair oil in the past which you can massage into your scalp and leave for half an hour or so before you wash your hair.  Coconut oil, Aloe Vera and tea tree oil are all options that seem to work.  Tea tree oil also has antifungal/bacterial properties so maybe one to try if others don’t work. It can help clear up any fungal or bacterial problems that may be an under lying cause of the condition.

If you have a dry scalp which is overly itchy with maybe some sore areas, please consult a doctor as this is likely to be a more serious condition such as eczema or dermatitis.


Diet wise, the essential omega 3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin b12 and iron found in fish sources can prevent a dry scalp according to hair scientists. I have also found that some food intolerances, such as a dairy can lead to dry flaky skin. This may be worth investigating if you are concerned.

Simple changes you can make to prevent a dry scalp.

  1. Avoid harsh chemicals in hair products
  2. Avoid excessive heat from hair tools
  3. Keep your scalp hydrated from the inside by drinking plenty of water.
  4. Regularly use treatments that add moisture to your scalp.
  5. Reduce your stress levels…easier said than done!
  6. See a Doctor if you feel you have a specific skin condition.

So, look after your scalp and your hair will stay healthy, thicker and stronger for longer!

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