Top tips for combatting a dry scalp
Having a dry scalp can be frustrating, uncomfortable and embarrassing for some. There are a variety of factors that can contribute towards a dry scalp, including cold weather, hot showers, harsh hair products, and poor diet. Our nutritionists share a number of ways you can improve a dry scalp, including dietary changes as well as some home remedies that can help.
Best supplements and foods for a dry scalp
Diet plays a massive part in the health of skin, including the scalp. Nutrient deficiencies may contribute towards a dry and flaky scalp. Here are the key nutrients to look out for in your diet.
Not sure what your body needs? Create your Diet Profile.
Biotin and B Vitamins
B Vitamins are needed in high quantities for skin cells and their normal function. Try increasing the consumption of sweet potatoes, leafy greens and wholegrains, or look for a supplement containing Biotin.
Vitamin C is needed for the maintenance of collagen, an important factor in skin health. The best way to increase your Vitamin C levels is through consuming more citrus fruits and raw salads.
Be cautious of taking collagen supplements, we recommend reading our short article 'the truth about collagen' first.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects skin cells from environmental damage. Nuts, seeds and whole grains provide Vitamin E, as well as avocados and olives. You may be wondering, "Should I take a Multi-Vitamin every day?", and we recommend taking your Diet Profile or reading our expert article on Daily Multi-Vitamins to help decide.
Vitamin E is also noted as one of our 7 key nutrients to support your eye health as it is a fat-soluble antioxidant, which may help protect cell membranes in the eye from being damaged.
Omega 3 fats are essential for the moisturisation of skin. When not enough is consumed, it leads to dry, flaky, itchy skin and scalp. Recommended foods to increase your intake of Omega 3 are walnuts, chia seeds, a vegan Omega-3 supplement, as well as other nuts and seeds.
Zinc helps to regulate skin cell turnover and may help with flaky skin and scalp. Zinc rich foods include nuts, seeds, beans, chickpeas and lentils.
Taking supplements that boost your intake of vital skin nutrients help improve the condition of your scalp.
Find out why Zinc is so important for your immune system, hair, and skin from leading nutritionists.
Foods to Avoid
It is important to avoid foods that contribute towards dryness and inflammation. Foods high in sugar and processed foods trigger inflammation, leading to a dry scalp. Excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine are dehydrating and contribute to a dry scalp.
What else causes a dry and itchy scalp?
Dandruff is a common condition often mistaken for dry scalp. Both conditions cause flaking and itching, however dandruff is caused by the fungus Malassezia, which feeds on oils on the scalp. For treatment, nutritionists recommend trying antifungals, preferably natural ones like coconut tea tree oil.
Nutrition is important and we recommend reading '5 key nutrients for healthy hair'.
Eczema and Psoriasis
Sometimes, the cause of a dry scalp is eczema or psoriasis. These are both caused by abnormal immune function. It is worth getting your scalp checked over by a doctor who can make an appropriate diagnosis.
Glycolic acid and coal tar are used in professional treatments. Glycolic acid exfoliates, removes dead skin and promotes cell turnover. Coal tar reduces inflammation and itching. There are downsides to using these however, so it is preferable to improve the diet first.
Treatment at Home
Apple cider vinegar
Mix in equal parts water and apply to the scalp. Leave for a few minutes before rinsing. The acidity helps balance the scalp pH, reducing dryness and itching.
A medicinal review of coconut oil for the scalp suggests to massage the coconut oil into the scalp and leave for 30 minutes. Coconut oil moisturises and soothes, reducing dryness and inflammation.
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