11/15/13 Winter Hair Woes

First we need to determine if the condition is Dry Scalp or Dandruff.
Similarities: Dry,   Itchy,   Flakey,   Irritated

Most people take them to be the same and often are not treating their condition properly.  If we don`t know the root cause we risk using treatments which could possibly make matters worse.

Dry Scalp is the same as having dry skin.  So when other areas on our body need to be moisturized, most likely so does our scalp.  Sometimes we forget about caring for the scalp and just focus on the hair.

We really notice our scalp getting dry and itchy when the climate changes,  especially during the colder.
When we turn on our heat, forced hot air can cause dryness.
Frequent and harsh shampooing
Inadequate nutrition
Hard water
Alcohol consumption.

Treating a dry itchy scalp is fairly easy.
Start by drinking more water and reducing our caffeine and alcohol consumption.
Avoid excessive heat from the blow dryer and even super hot showers
Massage the scalp regularly to stimulate the follicle.  This in turn will assist in rebalancing the production on natural oil in the glands.
Shampoo less often with a mild shampoo.
Rule of thumb is, if you have to increase the moisture you are putting on your hands or face, then you are going to have to do the same for your hair and scalp.  Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Dandruff is an excessive shedding of the dead skin from the scalp and it comes in two types.  Dry or Waxy.  In most cases, irritation and redness will be visual on the scalp.

It is more commonly found in men and in people with oily skin.
Diets high in salt, sugar, or spicy food can exacerbate dandruff.

Most people either over treat or under treat the condition.
When someone thinks their dandruff is caused by the scalp being too dry, they usually try not to shampoo as often thinking they will dry the scalp out more.  This is a myth.  Dandruff actually needs to be shampooed more frequently, but with the proper medicated shampoo.

If a snowy dehydrated flakiness falls regularly from the scalp, most likely this is oil related issue and can be treated by using a natural boar bristle brush to exfoliate the scalp and then shampoo daily with a medicated shampoo designed for dandruff.  You want to make sure the product you select has zinc in it.

If the scalp has more of a waxy like feeling, it is a yeast related dandruff and you should have your doctor look at it for a through examination.

Everyone’s scalp naturally contains malassezia, which is a type of fungus.  If excess oil is present on the scalp then this becomes a breeding ground for the fungus to grow out of control.  As the fungus feeds, the skin becomes more and more irritated.

If you are not sure if you just have a dry itchy scalp or dandruff, discuss with your stylist.  If they are unable to help you with an effective treatment plan they will refer
you to your family Doctor or a Dermatologist.

© B Wiley Inc. 2013