Happy Wednesday! Today's post is one highly requested one - in private! I get lots of messages regarding dryness, flaking and dandruff, in my Instagram DM's and private messages on Facebook. There's no need to suffer in silence any more though! While white, rusty particles ain't cute, the truth is most of us have had a dry spell or two over the course of our hair journeys, so there's no need for this to be a hushed topic! Here's a few pointers on how to effectively deal with dryness.
Causes of excessive scalp and hair dryness:
1. Change of diet
Our hair and scalp, just like the rest of our body, respond to our diet. For example, if you're eating clean everyday you might notice that you feel more energetic, or that your skin clears up. In contrast, if KFC is your staple diet, you might notice you're more lethargic. Trust me, your hair and scalp will show it too. Your hair, over time might simply grow out weaker/thinner and your scalp might not have the necessary nutrients to fight off bacteria/fungus and so it might flake excessively.
2. Change of routine
If your pace of life has picked up lately, you might notice your skin is reacting too. Our bodies respond to stress in different ways. For me, the skin on my nape flares up and itches HEAPS! For others yet, a change of routine might lead to compulsive itching - trust me, this is a thing! I had a friend in Uni who'd compulsively scratch her crown when she was studying. Itching excessively irritates the scalp and can lead to bleeding, scabbing and eventually flaking.
3. Hormonal Imbalances/Illness
This ties in with a change of routine, but is probably more sensitive. If you've had excessive dryness - I mean, your scalp resembles the sands of the Sahara desert (no judgement) - you might need to see your doctor. Oftentimes, this might be a sign of nutritional/hormonal deficiency and needs to be checked and then treated medically. Alternatively, if you're pregnant or have just given birth, your hair might shed or your scalp might peel off. If you think there's reason to see a doc, book an appointment and seek a second opinion.
4. Environmental changes
This could be anything from a change of seasons (summer to fall) to a change of hair products. Our scalp and skin respond to the environment just like the rest of our body. If you've moved to a drier climate you might find that your skin feels drier too. Alternatively, if you just moved to the middle of the Amazon forest, your hair might thrive in all the humidity!
Additionally, if you've recently changed your hair products, you might find your skin is reacting as you might be allergic to an ingredient in the formulation. Be sure to keep track of when you started to use new products and when your scalp reacted.
How to treat excessive dryness:
1. Drink water - many times, we are just dehydrated. Drink at least 2 litres of water a day and you'll notice a significant improvement in your hair and scalp health.
2. Deep Condition Regularly -This will ensure your hair and scalp are intensively moisturised.
3. Avoid heat use - heat is a huuuggee culprit! Try heatless stretching methods when you don't have to have your hair bone-straight.
4. Wear a hat - if you spend lots of time outside because you play a sport or volunteer with an NGO, be sure to protect your strands by wearing a hat. This will save your strands from extreme weather. This also applies to all my naturalistas who live in temperate climates!
5. Wash your hair more regularly - Yep! Hydrate! Hydrate! Especially in the heat of summer and the dead of winter. Our hair needs a little more TLC.
6. Moisturise daily until you get relief - Dab some plain ol' water on your scalp and along the length of your hair. If you'd like, you can use a moisturising leave-in conditioner. Once your hair's water levels are back up, you can moisturise as you normally would.
7. Seal with a heavier oil - ditch Argan Oil and grab Avocado, Castor or Coconut Oil. Once you've moisturised effectively, seal your strands to prevent moisture loss. You should notice a difference over time.
8. Give your hair a break from extensions - I'm not fan of wearing extensions. They weigh my hair down and prevent me from effectively taking care of my hair. That said, if you do love your braids and weaves, remember to give your hair a rest. Extensions can hold on to a lot of bacteria that can then infest our scalp. Make sure you switch things up regularly and give your hair at least 2 weeks to recover before your next installation.
9. Watch your hair products - Products that have a lot of artificial or chemical ingredients are more likely to cause irritation. Read the ingredients list on each bottle of hair product you have. If there's more than 5 ingredients you have no idea how to pronounce, you might need to ditch it and opt for more natural/organic formulations. If in doubt, keep it simple. Hydrate and seal. There's no need to have 30 hair products in your stash that are doing more harm than good.
10. See a doc - If your scalp is bleeding or balding, it might be time to see a dermatologist. You might need a prescribed ointment to deal with a bacterial or fungal infection. You'll be sure to find much relief over time! :-)
Do you have excessive dryness, itching or flaking? How have you dealt with it? Please offer your tips down below as I'm sure another naturalista could greatly benefit.
As always, LOVE & SUNSHINE!