Imagine, it’s a special occasion and you’ve gone all out with your look – decked up in your classiest outfit, spent hours putting on makeup, tried on a fancy hairstyle (all thanks to YouTube tutorials!) and finished the look with the choicest accessories – and just as you’re ready, you notice something on your dress. Little snow-like flakes on the shoulders of your beautiful black outfit. Argh! Frustrating, isn’t it? Though tiny, these flakes have the ability to make everyone extra conscious, making them look over their shoulder repeatedly, quite literally! Do you relate to this scenario? Are you also wondering how to get rid of a flaky scalp? Then fret not, you will find some useful tips here. However, before getting to the tips, let us first understand what causes your scalp to become flaky.
Causes of Flaky Scalp
Before we talk about how to get rid of a flaky scalp, it is necessary to understand what causes it. Flakes and an itchy scalp are the main symptoms of dandruff, and usually, these get worse during the winter months, when the air is dry. Dandruff happens when skin cells shed at a faster rate than normal. This causes yellow and white flakes to accumulate on your head and fall on your shoulders.
- Pinpointing the exact cause of your flaky scalp may be tricky, but a few possibilities could be:
- not shampooing regularly, which causes skin cells to accumulate and create flakes and itching
- not rinsing out your shampoo well
- a yeast called malassezia, that grows on your scalp and causes excessive skin cell growth
- a bad reaction to hair products that don’t suit your scalp
- irritated and oily skin
- a condition known as scalp psoriasis (a severe form of dandruff)
Apart from the above-mentioned points, a flaky scalp could also be the result of hormonal disorders, stress, and even an unhealthy diet. For some, a flaky scalp runs in the family and is hence, hereditary. Some conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, can also cause a flaky scalp.
How To Fight Flakes
No matter what the reason could be for your flaky scalp, there are some ways to fight off the flakes. If those flakes are stopping you from wearing your favourite dark clothes, then here are some easy tips that will help you get rid of a flaky scalp:
- Wash your hair often. This is the easiest way to get rid of the flakes on your head. If you’re wondering how often to wash your hair, then you must realise that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. Some people need to shampoo daily, while for others, once or twice a week is enough. If you have mild dandruff, then you can use regular shampoo.
- If your dandruff issue is such that a regular shampoo may not be effective, then try shampoos that are specially created for treating dandruff. You can start by using these shampoos daily. Then, as the flakes start to disappear slowly, start shampooing your hair every other day. However, keep in mind that the first shampoo you use might not necessarily help you. It might take you some time to figure out which shampoo works best for you. Different brands of anti-dandruff shampoos contain different ingredients, so try a few to find one that is the right fit for you.
Pro tip: Look for selenium sulphide, tar-based, zinc pyrithione, or salicylic acid shampoos.
- When you figure out which anti-dandruff shampoo works best for you, then lather twice and let the lather sit for 3-5 minutes. This helps the shampoo work better, helping you get rid of your flaky scalp faster.
- If you still do not use a conditioner, then it is recommended that you start using one ASAP! After washing your hair with an anti-dandruff shampoo, always condition your hair. It will protect your hair against dryness, thus reducing flakes.
- Try not to scratch your head if the flakes itch. Yes, we know this is easier said than done, but you know that you won't end the flaking by doing so. Instead, the itching may cause bleeding, making the problem worse. If you have long, sharp nails, scratching can even cause open scalp wounds that can lead to infections. So, if you want to get rid of a flaky scalp faster, then follow this tip diligently.
Home Remedies For Flaky Scalp
While the above-mentioned basic tips can slowly help you get rid of a flaky scalp, you can also try some natural remedies using ingredients available at home. These will not only help you get rid of dandruff, but also make your hair healthy, so what’s the harm in trying them out, right?
1. Lemon juice & yogurt:
Lemon’s antiseptic properties are a boon to treating dandruff. To prepare this hair mask, mix lemon juice with yogurt, apply it on your scalp and let it rest for a few minutes. Rinse this mixture off and then wash your hair with a mild shampoo. Try this daily.
2. Aloe Vera:
Aloe vera’s moisturising properties help relieve dryness and itching, which usually accompany a flaky scalp. So, scoop out the gel from the aloe vera (or go for a store-bought version if you do not want to go through that hassle) and apply it on your scalp evenly. After 15 minutes, rinse and wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
3. Bananas & avocado:
Here is a fun fact: bananas nourish the scalp and reduce flakes, so prepare this mask already! Mash two bananas and mix it with a ripe avocado. Apply this mixture to your scalp and let it sit for half an hour. Rinse thoroughly.
4. Tea tree oil:
Tea tree oil seems to be the holy grail of natural remedies, used to treat ailments ranging from acne to psoriasis. The anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil help alleviate the severity of dandruff. However, do keep in mind that tea tree oil is highly concentrated and can cause irritation. Hence, it’s best to dilute it before using. Add a few drops of it to a carrier oil like coconut oil before applying it on your scalp.
If you’re worried about those flakes falling on the shoulder of your black t-shirt, try out these tips along with using a dandruff shampoo. They will definitely help you get rid of a flaky scalp. However, if none of these tips help, and even the special anti-dandruff shampoo fails to improve the condition, then you must consult a skin doctor. The doctor may prescribe a stronger shampoo that contains the antifungal ketoconazole. In case your flaking is caused by a condition like scalp psoriasis, your doctor will recommend you suitable treatments.
FAQs About Flaky Scalp
Q. Does flaky scalp lead to hair loss?
A. Having dandruff does not directly lead to hair loss. However, if you constantly keep scratching your scalp, then it can damage your hair follicles, which can lead to hair loss.
Q. How long should a dandruff shampoo sit on the hair?
A. Let your anti-dandruff shampoo sit on your scalp for five minutes. This will give it time to work.
Q. Is dandruff related to gut health?
A. When dandruff is persistent, then it is usually a sign of yeast overgrowth elsewhere in the body, particularly the gastrointestinal tract. Hence, in that way, dandruff is related to your gut health.