Dandruff: 7 Ways to Get Rid of Itchy, Dry Scalp

Photo Credit: Instagram: Simply Cyn

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

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

This dehydration can be due to extreme climates, not drinking enough water, or skin conditions like 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.

But hormone imbalances, stress, immune suppression, infrequent shampooing, illness, or increased oil production can result in mild inflammation that produces dead skin cells.  These dead cells mix with oil and clump together resulting in flakes that appear white and sometimes yellowish.

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

There are a few simple tricks to deal with dandruff, get rid of the flakes and dry scalp.


Pre-poo is the method of using your favorite moisturizer, oil blend, or aloe vera to fully saturate the hair and scalp prior to shampooing. Allow your pre-poo treatment to sit for approximately 20 minutes or so, it can help soothe driest of scalp.

Benefits of Pre-pooing or a Pre-Poo Treatment

The use of a “pre-poo” prior to the shampooing process yields many additional benefits to the hair and scalp. Here are just a few.

  • Aids in the detangling process (prior to shampoo)
  • Adds extra oils and moisture, reducing dryness in hair and scalp which may be caused by the use of shampoos
  • Pre-poo oil blend can be mixed with your favorite moisturizing conditioner or used alone.
  • Help combat dullness due to the stripping of natural oils during the shampooing process.
  • Will make hair softer, more manageable

The Perfect Pre-Poo Treatment for Dry Scalp

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

Nature’s Way Organic Coconut Oil

Natural Oils

The key to combating dry scalp is to incorporate natural oils into your hair care regimen. Not just any oils but the right ones that help to maintain a healthy scalp.

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

Jojoba Oil most closely resembles sebum or the oily secretion of the sebaceous glands that acts as a lubricant for the hair and skin and provides some protection against bacteria.

Some other great oils are jojoba oilcoconut oilolive oil and castor oil.

Read: The Benefits of Coconut and Olive Oil

Read: Best Oils for Hair Growth

Castile Soap

Castile soap is a natural soap derived from vegetable oils. It’s usually composed by the use of coconut, jojoba, olive, and hemp oils and essential oils for fragrance. It thoroughly it cleans with natural oils but it cleans without drying out the hair or scalp.

It’s recommended that instead of shampooing twice with a regular sulfate shampoo, you may swap by using the castile soap first, then follow with your regular sulfate shampoo.

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

Buy Dr. Bonner’s Peppermint Castile Soap

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar rinses are great as well. Mix a solution of 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to 3 cups of water, pour into a spray bottle, saturate hair, cover with a plastic cap, and let sit for 20-30 minutes.

This will help with many irritating scalp conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and dandruff. It rinses out clean, removes product buildup, and also adds shine and restores the pH to the hair.  ACV has anti-inflammatory properties that helps destroy yeast that may accompany dandruff or dry scalp and causes itchy scalp.

A few drops of rosemary or tea tree oil will boost this rinse,” says Shera Lee, a Health Coach and Yoga Instructor told Beauty High. Those with a very sensitive scalp should use caution when adding essential oils and may find comfort by increasing the amount of water used for the mix.

Read more about the Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Your Hair & 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 out 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 very condition in large part due to its highly antiseptic qualities. It’s a triple threat to scalp irritations because of its anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Again,

Again, Tea Tree Oil should not be used 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 use a clarifying or chelating shampoo to really detox your hair and scalp. They are specially formulated to get rid of things that regular shampoo leaves behind. This could be hard water materials or product residue.

Here’s a List of Clarifying & Chelating Shampoos for Natural Hair

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

Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay is known to draw dirt and impurities from the hair and scalp, without drying the hair of its natural oils. It can the perfect solution to hydrate the sebaceous glands that are core due build up.

Here’s more on 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 serious flaky, dry scalp.   If inflammation and extreme condition persist make an appointment with a dermatologist who can prescribe medicated ointments. Each situation is case by case, and should be assessed if problem persists or worsens.

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