Scalp problems troubles many people in their lives. Flaky skin on scalp is a mutual problem encountered by many people especially during winter. It can be due to various conditions including dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, and poor nutrition among others, but it is very possible to restore you scalp health. Discover more on the flaky scalp causes, flaky scalp treatments, preventions and more.
What causes flaky scalp?
There are several causes for flaky scalp that sprung different symptoms. Here, we discuss the most common causes of flaky scalp.
Dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis)
Dandruff on scalp is due to overproduction of sebum and build-up of sticky dead skin cells and hair care products which then shed as clumps or flakes. This condition has been associated with fungus Malassezia. Flaky scalp due to dandruff will have diverse symptoms compared to flakes from other causes. According to cosmetics.com, “The flakes caused by dandruff are white, and tend to have a thick, heavy texture.” Such flakes may also accompany itching and tend to occur all over the scalp. The can be noticeable in both hair and scalp.
Dandruff on scalp have got many remedies, hair dandruff treatment ranges from OTC drugs to prescribed treatments to natural home products for flaky scalp. Some of the treatments enmesh antifungal agents, zinc pyrithione, coal tar, selenium sulfide and salicylic acid. There are also more options for dandruff treatments i.e. best shampoo for flaky scalp and more.
Scalp eczema or what is otherwise called seborrheic dermatitis causes redness, itching as well as flaking. There are several conditions that can lead to eczema, they include “genetics, climate, stress, overall health and an overgrowth of or sensitivity to the yeast that normally reside on the scalp.” [livestrong.com]. It is also imperative to note that scalp disorders affect any race and, children and adults of both gender. It can also be prejudiced by weak immune system and this is why this condition is more prevalent with people having HIV.
Scalp eczema is a common cause of flaky scalp. Everydayhealth.com, states that, “Irritated, red, and itchy skin on the scalp, which causes the flakes known as dandruff, is called scalp eczema.”
Psoriasis and flaky scalp
This is another common problem that results to raised, reddish, scaly patches. A part from occurring on the scalp, it can also affect more areas such as forehead, back, neck, behind the year among other parts. It initiates when your immune system is disturbed making the skin cells to grow too quickly. This condition can also be influenced by genetics.
The symptoms may vary from a person to the other. Among the symptoms are dandruff-like flaking, itching on scalp, severe dry skin, hair loss and silvery-white scales among many more.
Dry and dehydrated scalp – dry scalp
Dry or dehydrated scalp may be due to changes in weather or central heating at home. Stress and hormonal imbalances can also be another factors for dry skin. Dry scalp is normally prone to flakiness and thus you should get a prior comprehension of the underlying causes to prevent them. Application of some natural products such as olive oil, tea tree oil and lemon juice among others can relieve dry skin on the scalp.
Too much shampooing
Shampoos for hair care are very vital products for healthy hair but, their mode and frequency of applications also matters. Too much application of hair shampoos can clog the skin pores leading to build-ups on the scalp. When the build-ups combine with excess sebum (natural skin oil) and dead skin cells on the scalp, the resultant symptoms will include flaky skin on the scalp. Instructions for applying shampoos should be obeyed to the later to avoid opposite results.
Not properly rinsing shampoo
After application of shampoo on the scalp, proper rinsing should be assured to avoid remnant shampoo that could trigger build-ups on the scalp hence aggravating the symptoms of dandruff. What is used to rinse shampoo may also depend on the type of the shampoo applied but, in many cases we use lukewarm water. Uncleansed shampoo can also increase the rate of sweating on the scalp which also contributes to flaky scalp too.
Nutrition and diet
Look at your diet, it may also help also help in preventing flaky scalp syndrome. Some says that, in some incidences, it is not what we put on our body that can lead to flakiness but, it can be what we put on our body. Usually, nutrition is very crucial for healthy skin. It is advisable to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables instead of refined surgery goods such as biscuits and cakes. You should as well strain to include omega 3 and 6 oils which are found in vegetables, nuts and fish in your diet. Deficiencies of these ingredients may result to dry scaly scalp or even itchy head.
A diet containing too much sugar can also enhance the growth of yeast in the gut line hence exacerbating dandruff related conditions. Again, not all oils are bad, there are good oils that are essential for balanced diet. Proper diet can help maintain good healthy skin.
Medical experts advise that, flaky scalp is usually common during cold weather or during winter. This is due to the fact that cold temperatures are usually associated with very dry scalp skin or scalp leading to itchy flaky scalp. Dry scalp in combination with other factors will lead to flakiness. So you should consult with your dermatologist to get more medical advice on how to minimize the risk of developing dry scalp during winter.
Best ways to get rid of flaky scalp
Despise the various causes for flaky scalp, there are still more remedies to restore the health of your scalp. The remedies include medical treatments and Natural home remedies. They will enable you to once again have a head of beautiful hair.
Flaky scalp treatment
Treatments for flaky scalp will basically depend on the underlying causes and their severity. The age and medical history of the patient will also determine the treatments.
1. Topical treatments
This is the first line of defense against many conditions that can lead to dry flaky scalp. They are applied directly on the skin. Some of these topical drugs may have higher concentration that can irritate the skin more so, for the sensitive skins. Some over of the counter drugs for flaky scalp include coal tar, salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione and ketoconazole among many others, they are very effective especially for psoriasis, dandruff and eczema that may also be in the form of creams, soaps, medicated shampoos, gels and oils.
On the other side, prescription drugs having higher concentration include:
- Antimicrobials, which cure bacterial or yeast infections that may accompany scalp psoriasis
- Calcipotriene, a strong derivative (different form) of vitamin D
- Calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate, this is a vitamin D derivative blended with a strong steroid
- Other topical steroids
- Tazarotene, a derivative of vitamin A
To achieve effective results while applying these flaky scalp treatments, make sure you follow the directions from your doctor keenly until your flaky scalp heals.
2. Doctors office flaky treatments
When the symptoms of your flaky scalp does not respond to flaky scalp, then your doctor or dermatologist may inject some steroids directly on the scalp skin. Phototherapy with a laser or non-laser light source may help.
Oral medications may also be applied to treat specific causes of flaky scalp. Oral medications include: Corticosteroids, cyclosporine and methotrexate which are very crucial for severe flakiness in the scalp. Since oral medications may lead to dreadful side effects, doctor`s close monitor is required.
Due to the facts that flakes on the scalp are caused by overproduction of skin cells, there are latest treatment called biologics that can keep your skin from making too many cells. The seven known biologics according to American Academy of Dermatology include;
Make sure you follow the instructions given by your doctor when undergoing the above mentioned medications. Apart from medical treatments for flaky scalp, there are also many home remedies that can also effectively treat flaky scalp. They have many amazing properties that make them potent for healing worrisome flaky scalp.
Natural home remedies for flaky scalp
Here are the top 6 rated home remedies you should try for flaky scalp.
A) Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar, more so apple cider vinegar works excellently for getting rid of the dead skin cells that build up on the scalp skin or may be from dandruff. It also has the potential to kill all the fungal infections that can result to flaky scalp. Below is how to make appropriate home treatment for flaky scalp from apple cider vinegar:
- Combine ½ a cup of warm water with ½ a cup of apple cider vinegar
- Apply the mixture on your hair and then massage into your scalp and hair
- Rinse off using cold water. The whole procedure should repeated once in a week
B) Tea tree oil and aloe Vera
This is natural home product for treating many skin conditions including flaky scalp. It has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties that has proven to be very effectual for treating scalp flakiness. Here is how to apply this wonderful remedy:
- Start by mixing equal amount of aloe vera and tea tree oil
- Massage the mixture on the scalp using your fingers
- Leave it to sit on your scalp for two hours before washing off using water
C) Olive oil remedy
Olive oil has all the capacity to restore the health condition of the scalp and leave you with beautiful hair hence termed wonderful oil for dry scalp or flaky scalp. It also have more combatant characteristics for getting rid of factors causing flakiness on the scalp. Another thing to acknowledge about this remedy is that, this remedy has the potential to restore the scalp`s moisture.
- Apply warm olive oil on the scalp
- Massage it for 15 minutes and then leave it for one hour
- You can then wash off using mild shampoo
- Continue applying this remedy until flakiness subsides
D) Lemon juice
This natural product contain exfoliating property that help in clearing dry and flaky skin from your scalp. Regular application of this remedy will keep away the troublesome dandruff. To apply this remedy:
- Prepare a fresh lemon juice and apply it directly on the scalp
- Rubdown on the scalp for about five 5 minutes using your fingers
- Allow this juice to remain on the scalp for about ½ an hour
- Wash off using lukewarm water
For very effective results, lemon can be applied alongside olive oil following the same procedure above
E) Avocado pulp
Avocado have higher content that enable it to moisturize the skin and thus preventing your scalp hair from turning brittle and dry. Avocado can as well get rid of the dead skin and clean or nourish the scalp skin. It also prevents the risk of developing dry scalp and so, we have all the mandate to pronounce it a better dry flaky scalp treatment. Follow the procedure below to apply avocado pulp:
- Smash an avocado or turn into paste
- Apply it on the scalp and hair and allow the pulp to get absorbed into the scalp, this should take around an hour
- You can then wash using mild shampoo
- This remedy need to be continued for several days until the flaky scalp vanishes.
F) Egg white and yogurt
The two ingredients are two famous remedy for treating hair and scalp problems. Egg white contain several nutrients that maintain healthy scalp and hair and also strengthen the scalp and hair follicles. Yogurt on the other side, helps in removing dirt and dead skin cells accumulated on the scalp and thus is really successful for dry scalp flakes.
- Take one egg and a cup of fresh yogurt
- You can then mix well before applying it on the scalp
- Leave the mixture on the scalp for 30 minutes before washing off using a shampoo.
- Repeat the remedy thrice a week and wait for your desired results.
More tips fight flaky scalp (preventions)
You should not continue to suffer the wrath of flaky scalp anymore. Try the tips below instead:
- Wash your hair regularly to get rid of the flakes off your head. This is very critical especially for those who shampoo too often. Use frequent shampoo if you have mild dandruff
- Choose the correct shampoo for your dry flaky scalp symptoms and this should be done alongside your doctor`s instructions.
- Another tip that we should bear in our minds is that, while using dandruff shampoo, we need to lather at least twice and the lather should stay for about 5 minutes. This one for sure will yield a very effective result.
- You should also make sure that you condition your scalp and hair after the application of dandruff shampoo. This is necessary since it will protect your scalp against the risk of dryness and flakiness
- Scratching is another vulnerability factor that should be avoided at all times. Though this condition is hard to avoid, we should look for more alternatives. Scratching itchy and flaky scalp may lead to more secondary infections that would aggravate the symptoms accompanying flaky scalp.
- Factors such as dietary restrictions should be considered too.
When to See a Doctor
In summary, a flaky scalp is always a mild condition that have many causes but, the above mentioned remedies can really relieve it effectively. When the over the counter drugs and home remedies for flaky scalp above seem not to bear any fruit or when the symptoms aggravates, please see your doctor or dermatologist for advanced medications.
Source of References
- Flaky Scalp: http://www.medicinenet.com/flaky_scalp/symptoms.htm
- Fight Flaky Scalp: http://www.webmd.com/beauty/fight-flakes
- How to Get Rid of a Dry, Flaky Scalp: http://www.livestrong.com/article/15919-rid-dry-flaky-scalp/
- Expert Advice on How to Treat a Dry, Flaky Scalp: http://www.glamour.com/story/how-to-treat-a-dry-flaky-scalp
- Treatments for dandruff: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Dandruff/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- How to Get Rid of Dry Scalp with Natural Home Remedies: http://homeremediesforlife.com/dry-scalp/
- 10 Home Remedies For Dry Flaky Scalp: http://www.findhomeremedy.com/home-remedies-for-dry-flaky-scalp/
- Home Remedies for Dandruff: http://www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-dandruff.html