Dry Scalp Causes & Treatments


For some people, daily washing can lead to dryness, with natural oils being washed away from the scalp. The optimum frequency for washing varies depending on hair type; thinner hair may require more regular washing, whereas thicker hair may benefit from less frequent washing. Try reducing your hair wash schedule and see if your symptoms improve. A hair or skin professional may be able to recommend the best approach for your particular hair type.


In some cases, dryness in the skin can correlate with a dietary deficiency. Vitamin B6 and B12 are both thought to contribute to the condition of the skin. It’s possible that incorporating more of these vitamins into your diet could help with a dry scalp. You can also hydrate your skin from the inside through regular water intake. Maintaining a well-balanced diet is important whether you experience dryness in your scalp or not, but you may find certain foods trigger your symptoms. You could try recording a food diary to see how your diet influences your scalp condition.


Have you noticed a difference in your scalp health throughout the year? This may be due to changes in the weather; there is often a drop in humidity during cold weather meaning your skin is exposed to a dryer environment. Heating systems can also have a drying effect and are more likely to be used in the winter months. Using a humidifier in your home can help to add extra moisture into the air which may provide some relief.

Hair Products

Your hair care products can contain lots of different ingredients. If you’re sensitive to an ingredient in your shampoo, conditioner or styling product, you may experience dryness as a result. Ingredients such as dyes, fragrances and alcohols can leave a residue on the scalp and sometimes have a drying effect. If you suspect an ingredient doesn't agree with your scalp, opt for an alternative and see if your symptoms improve.

Skin Conditions

Certain skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, can also leave the scalp dry. Eczema can lead to skin becoming dry, cracked and sore - you can find out more about how to treat scalp eczema here. Scalp psoriasis typically appears as red, scaly patches which can also be dry. If you think you may have one of these chronic skin conditions, a healthcare professional will be able to provide more guidance. There are also over-the-counter treatments, such as Polytar Coal Tar Shampoo, which can help to alleviate the associated symptoms of eczema and psoriasis on the scalp.


If you’re experiencing flaking skin, your scalp could actually be more prone to oiliness than you think. Dandruff is often considered to be an oily condition, as its primary cause is a fungus which interacts with the oils on your scalp. Understanding whether your symptoms are caused by dandruff or dryness is key for seeking out the most suitable treatment.

Unsure what's causing your symptoms? It’s best to speak to your GP, or another healthcare professional, to discuss your scalp health in more detail and what treatment may be most effective.

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