If you suffer from dry hair or a dry & itchy scalp, running your fingers through your hair, tying it up or leaving it open can all be unpleasant experiences. And, extreme weather only tends to worsen that feeling. So, in order to reverse the damage that has been done, you need to first understand why you suffer from dry hair or a dry scalp. We will help you out as we address these conditions one by one followed by some remedial measures you can take.
What is Dry Hair and What Causes It?
To understand what dry hair really is, one must first know what healthy hair looks like. Healthy hair has sheen and lustre and retains sufficient moisture. Our hair is made up of three layers, where the natural oils in the outer most protect the inner layers. Dry hair is the result of the outer layer of the hair breaking down and your hair not retaining enough moisture, leading to increased frizz.
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Dry Hair could be the result of one or more of the following factors:
Environmental Conditions: A dry and hot climate often causes our hair to lose its natural moisture. Furthermore, the excessive heat and UV rays further break down the pigment in the hair that is needed to filter the light radiation. This damages the hair over time, making it dry, dull and hay-like. While the hot climate itself causes harm, staying exposed to the summer sun or the wind for long exacerbates the damage.
- Haircare Practices: Common practices that cause hair to dry include washing it too often; regularly blow-drying it, using electric straighteners or curling irons and curlers; using harsh shampoos, conditioners and/or styling products; as well as dyeing or chemically treating the hair.
Hair Type: Many may not be aware, but the degree of dryness of the hair can also be governed by hair type. The natural bends in curly hair, for instance, make it arduous for the natural oils secreted from the scalp to travel down the hair shaft to the ends of the hair, thereby leaving the ends drier than usual and causing curly hair to be more prone to dryness. Dry hair is also the result of the natural process of ageing. As we age, our scalp produces fewer natural oils, hence the dry hair. While ageing cannot be reversed, it is good to be aware of exactly why your hair feels dry in order to deal with the concern in the best possible way.
- Underlying Health Concerns: Don’t let underlying health conditions go unnoticed when it comes to understanding why your hair is getting dry. Lack of a key nutrient, hormonal imbalances, abnormal activity of the thyroid gland – the reasons could be many. In such a situation, it is best to consult a doctor first and foremost.
Related Article: Benefits of Using Hair Serum
What is Dry Scalp and What Causes It?
If the skin of your head is itchy and flaking, then you probably have a dry scalp. Excessive loss of moisture causes the scalp to feel dry. Dry scalp could be the result of one or more of the following contributing factors:
Excessive Washing: When we wash our hair too much, the process can strip our scalp of natural oils that are needed to stay hydrated.
Haircare Products: Reaction to one or some of the ingredients in haircare products may be causing your scalp to turn red, itchy and flaky. If this occurs, it is best to stop use and consult a physician if need be.
Weather Conditions: When the weather gets cooler, the level of moisture or humidity in the air also tends to drop. This can make your scalp dry and flaky. In fact, even the air inside a room could be dry and cause itchiness in the scalp.
Skin Conditions: There’s a chance that you may be experiencing a dry scalp due to a skin condition such as Psoriasis, Tinea Capitis or scalp ringworm, or Actinic Keratosis. It would be best to consult a physician in such a case.
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How to Treat Dry Hair & Scalp?
- Protect your hair from sun exposure; wear a hat when outside.
- Try not to shampoo hair every day; do it once or twice a week instead.
- When you do, use a shampoo and conditioner meant for your hair type.
- Add hair oils/leave-in conditioners to your routine.
- Blow-dry your hair only occasionally.
- If you must use styling products, stick to the ones that simultaneously moisturise your hair.
- Avoid curling/flat irons and electric rollers.
- Add moisture to the air inside your house or room with a humidifier.
Also Read: How to Control Hair Fall?
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