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Dry Scalp: What You Can Do This Season

ayurvedic oil massage

If you suffer from dry or itchy scalp that seems to intensify during cold weather, you're not alone. Winter is the season known for causing not just dry skin in most people, but also dry hair and scalp that can lead to increased hair loss, dandruff, itchiness, and coarse or rough hair that doesn't seem to soften no matter how much conditioner you use. Fortunately, you can do something about this condition that doesn't involve purchasing expensive shampoos or hair treatments at salons. Read on for tips on how to treat dry scalp and get back that silky, shiny, thick hair all season long.

Use Natural Oils

During the winter, you may find that your scalp is drier than other times of the year and this is normal. The key to combating dry scalp is to incorporate natural oils into your hair care regimen. 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. Apply oil directly to your scalp using a massage motion with your fingertips. Use warm oil and use copious amounts so the scalp is saturated, especially for severely dry hair. Let stand for at least two hours, or better yet, place a towel on your pillow and sleep with it overnight. You'll see the difference after just one application, but long term benefits and changes to hair come with regular weekly use. If you have a steam in your shower or at the gym, apply the oil before entering the steam room for deeper strand penetration.

Use 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. A few drops of rosemary or tea tree oil will boost this rinse.

Apply Honey Hair Mask

Honey is one of the best remedies for many skin problems, including an itchy and dry scalp. There have been many studies into the antimicrobial effects of honey and they have found that honey can destroy the bacteria and fungus that cause itching on the skin.

A study published in the European Journal of Medical Research found that when honey was applied to the scalp as a hair mask once a week, symptoms of chronic seborrheic dermatitis improved. This means that honey can help to reduce itching, scaling, and dandruff when you apply it as a hair mask.

To make a honey hair mask to treat an itchy and dry scalp, do the following:

Wash your hair and leave it damp Dilute raw honey with some warm water (about 90

% honey to 10% water). Massage the honey into your scalp for 2 – 3 minutes. Cover with a warm towel and leave for 2 hours.

Repeat the honey mask treatment once a week and you should find that your symptoms of an itchy and dry scalp will be completely gone within a couple of weeks.

Check Your Shampoo

Avoid shampoos that have sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate as one of the main ingredients (first 4 in the list). Also avoid products that have cetyl alcohol as a main ingredient. Both are drying and damaging to hair. Unfortunately, most conventional shampoos DO have both of these as primary ingredients. You really have to search for a good shampoo and be familiar with reading labels. Try your local health food store or look online, but even organic shampoos can have these ingredients so be sure to read. Natural shampoos will usually say "Sulfate Free" on the bottle, but still check for cetyl alcohol.

Wear a Hat

Keep a warm natural wool or cotton hat in your car for when you need to be outdoors. Wind and extreme cold can worsen the condition of your dry hair and scalp. A thick hat will prevent any further damage and keep you warm.

Check Your Vitamin B Levels

Low levels of the B vitamins is a certain cause of dry hair and scalp, specifically vitamins B6 and B12. If you're wondering why nothing you do helps to improve your hair condition, this may be the reason why. If you're a vegan or strict vegetarian you may be at increased risk of being deficient in these important vitamins and a supplement may be necessary. You'll see a huge improvement if this is the case.

Adjust Your Diet

A diet rich in essential fatty acids (like flaxseeds and walnuts) and minimizing coffee and alcohol can help alleviate dry scalp. Kelp, a seaweed, is an excellent source of essential and trace minerals needed for proper functioning of many bodily systems. Kelp is especially high in iodine, which is known to support hair growth and scalp healing. To be safe, talk to a doctor or dietitian about using kelp for scalp health, and check the label of your kelp supplement for the exact iodine content. Keeping yourself hydrated with water is a complete skin savior especially when it comes to your scalp.

There is plenty you can do to help problems with hair and scalp which can be frustrating and embarassing. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on infomercial products that guarantee a cure, try these natural remedies... they've stood the test of time and cost almost nothing!

If you have any questions on the above tips, feel free to contact me at

To your good health this cold season! Hari OM!

--Amita Jain

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