How To Treat A Dry Scalp

blande woman rubbing head

At best, suffering from a dry scalp is frustrating. At its worst, it can be painful and cause serious damage. Fortunately, there are lots of treatments out there to help you.

Finding out the best treatment for a dry scalp can be difficult, however. So many options can lead to you being paralysed by indecision or choosing something which isn’t right for you.

In this article, I’ll talk through my top four products you can use to treat your dry scalp and provide some top tips on how you can improve the situation. It might be a common problem, but that doesn’t mean we’re doomed to suffer with it forever.

What causes a dry scalp?

The root cause of a dry scalp is simple: your skin has too little moisture. And because the skin on your scalp doesn’t have enough moisture, your skin becomes irritated and starts to fall off. Dry scalp is often caused by:

  • Cold, dry air. Which is why this issue can often be seasonal.
  • Contact dermatitis, which is often caused by your skin having a negative reaction to the products you’re using
  • Natural aging – as you get older, your skin gets drier
  • Physical or emotional stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Lifestyle factors such as having a poor diet or smoking

Although you’re able to control some of these factors – changing your diet or switching products, for example – not everything is under our control. If this is the case, or you want to give the natural healing process a help hand, there are several products you can use.

If you have a particularly serious case, we would recommend seeking out your local dermatologist for further advice.

Do I have dry scalp or dandruff?

Before you go out and buy products, it’s also important to know whether you’re suffering from dry scalp or have dandruff. Although they’re often confused thanks to the symptoms being similar, they are different and will require a different regime.

Unlike dry scalp, dandruff is often caused by seborrheic dermatitis, a condition which turns the skin oily, red and scaly. These scales flake off naturally, creating dandruff.

Additionally, a fungus called malassezia can cause dandruff. This fungus lives on your scalp naturally but some people have too much of it, which causes your skin cells to multiply at a much higher rate than normal and create dandruff. Factors such as age, hormones and stress can also cause malassezia to multiply, making it even more difficult to establish your exact issue.

Fortunately, there’s an incredibly simple method you can use to determine if you have a dry scalp or dandruff: simply apply a light moisturiser to your scalp before you go to bed. If your issue is caused by a dry scalp, the flakes should disappear in the shower the next morning.

How to treat your dry scalp

We recommend using a range of products to treat a dry scalp. Alongside a specialist shampoo and conditioner, use a mask and toner to moisturise and boost the health of your scalp.

If you’re looking to find the right product to treat your dandruff, however, the right anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner can make all the difference. 

Our top picks are below, but we’ve also selected a range of products to treat dry scalps or dandruff suitable for any budget. You can find these here:

Our top ways to treat dandruff or a dry scalp:

Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

philip kingsley flaky itchy scalp shampoo

Perfect for daily use, Philip Kingsley’s Flaky/Itchy Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo will play a key role in the hair care regimen of anyone suffering from a dry scalp or dandruff.

The mild formula works to gently remove flakes whilst not irritating your scalp further (something which other, more popular anti-dandruff shampoos can be guilty of), meaning it can be both an effective long-term solution and a great short-term fix if you only get occasional outbreaks.

By restoring your scalp’s microflora balance whilst keeping your hair soft and shiny, this anti-dandruff shampoo is the perfect way to help ensure your hair and scalp look and feel amazing. And the amazing apple scent means your hair will smell amazing, too!

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Löwengrip Anti-Dandruff Sensitive Conditioner

Lowengrip Anti-Dandruff Sensitive Conditioner

Although still relatively new on the scene, Swedish brand Lowengrip has made waves with their amazing range of hair and beauty products, and this anti-dandruff conditioner is one of their best creations.

The anti-inflammatory formula uses a mixture of proven ingredients to fight itching and inflammation, gently suppressing your issues with dandruff. As well as soothing irritated skin, it promotes improved circulation in your scalp, thereby improving skin regeneration and easing your dandruff and dry scalp concerns.

Use this on a regular basis to restore balance to your dry, sensitive scalp.

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KeraCare Dry and Itchy Scalp Glossifier

KeraCare Dry and Itchy Scalp Glossifier

If you’re suffering from a dry scalp, a shampoo and conditioning treatment may not be enough to fully resolve your issues – pairing them with a regular treatment can make all the difference. 

The KeraCare Dry and Itchy Scalp Glossifier is best used 2-3 times a week and will moisturise and tone your dry scalp, restoring it to a naturally healthy, beautiful condition. All you need to do is rub a small amount between your palms after washing your hair and rub it through. 

In minor cases, you will see an immediate improvement in your scalp health, but the beauty of this product is the ability to use it regularly, meaning it works just as well as a regular treatment to improve and maintain the health of your scalp over time. And you only need to use a tiny amount for it to be effective, meaning one small tub will last for much longer than you’d expect.

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Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Toner

philip kingsley flaky/itchy scalp toner

Designed to be partnered with their Flaky/Itchy Scalp Shampoo, Philip Kingsley’s Flaky/Itchy Scalp Toner is the best option around if you’re suffering from serious dandruff issues.

This anti-dandruff toner alleviates your dandruff concerns almost immediately and helps stop if from ever returning in a big way. Unlike most fast-acting dandruff options, however, this toner has a gentle formula which is ultimately focused on keeping your scalp healthy.

Alongside instantly soothing dryness and itching, this anti-dandruff toner digs deep to clear out stubborn flakes and skin cell build up, before working to restore your scalp’s microflora balance to prevent future outbreaks.

Their water-based, fragrance-free formula is vegan-friendly and can be used on a daily basis. Once you’ve applied it, you can simply comb through and style your hair as normal, so you don’t even need to worry about adding loads of time to your morning routine!

You can get it in both 75ml and 250ml bottles.

Get 250ml on Amazon

Get 75ml on Amazon

Omorovicza Revitalising Scalp Mask

Omorovicza Revitalising Scalp Mask

This pre-shampoo mask can be used as often or as little as you’d like – we’d recommend once a week to give your scalp a nice health boost.

Coming from Budapest, Hungary, Omorovicza’s Revitalising Scalp Mask contains all the ingredients you’d expect for a product designed to sooth your dry scalp, plus one added special ingredient: Hungarian Moor Mud.

While ingredients such as Salicylic Acid, Virgin Plum Almond Oil and cooling Menthol work to gently exfoliate your scalp, the enriching Hungarian Moor Mud combines with them to detoxify and purify your scalp. Your scalp will never be healthier!

All you need to do is apply it to a dry scalp, leave it for 10-20 minutes and wash through with your usual shampoo – making it the perfect weekend treat for your hair and scalp.

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This page contains Affiliate links which pay me a small commission if you purchase from them. This products all remain the same price for you as everyone else. Commission earned from these links go to paying for the costs of running this website, so I don’t have to put annoying adverts everywhere.

Rebecca Johnston

I've been hairdressing for almost a decade, during that time I noticed I keep getting asked the same questions by people about their hair, and loads have the same misconceptions.

I started this website to answer these all-too-common questions and correct those misconceptions, so everyone can always have amazing looking hair!

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