Winter in Florida doesn’t include snow – so then what are those white flakes dusting your shoulders when the weather turns cold? During the winter months you may fall victim to a dry scalp due to cold, low-humidity weather that sucks moisture from the air. When skin has too little moisture it may become irritated and flake off – and this flaking can include the skin on your scalp.
But how do you know the white flakes on your shirt are not dandruff? While dandruff and dry scalp have similar symptoms, they are two different conditions.
- Dry scalp: Dry scalp is caused by too little moisture in the skin, which causes it to dry out and flake off. The flakes are typically small and white. Your scalp may also feel itchy and irritated.
- Dandruff: On the other end of the spectrum, dandruff is caused by too much moisture in the skin. An overproduction of oil causes skin cells to build up on the scalp and then flake off. The flakes are typically larger and may appear oily or yellow. Your scalp may also feel itchy and irritated.
If your little white flakes are caused by dry scalp, you are more likely to have dry skin on other parts of your body as well. Click here to learn how to best care for your skin during winter. Cold weather is one of the biggest triggers of dry scalp, because the air has less humidity and is drier. And as the temperatures outside drop, we overheat buildings inside – central heating systems and fireplaces also leach moisture from the air. Contact dermatitis from using harsh hair products with strong chemicals may also be the reason behind dry, irritated skin on the scalp. Another common cause of dry scalp is over-washed hair. If you wash your hair daily, you may be stripping the skin off too many essential oils it needs to stay moisturized. Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis may also manifest as dry skin on the head.
There are many self-care remedies you can undertake at home to correct dry scalp:
- Wash your hair with a gentle shampoo and apply a light moisturizer to your scalp before bedtime. Limit your hair washing to every other day at most, to maintain oil that is essential for healthy hair growth.
- Avoid hair products with harsh chemicals and ingredients. Do not use hair products with bleach or alcohol – both are dehydrators.
- Protect that noggin – in cold weather, wear a hat when venturing outdoors, to protect your skin from dry, whipping air.
- Use a natural oil – such as coconut oil or tea tree oil – to restore moisture to your scalp. And give yourself a little massage while you rub the oil in; the kneading pressure will increase blood circulation to the head and send fresh nutrients and oxygen to the scalp.
- Drink plenty of water – hydration starts from the inside out.
You may be worrying – does a dry scalp cause hair loss? It might appear so – during winter, hair is more brittle and breaks and snaps more easily. But as of now, there is no direct connection between scalp dryness and hair loss. However, a dry scalp may disrupt hair growth or be a symptom of an underlying problem that may be causing hair loss. A dry scalp could be a sign of nutritional deficiency, particularly in fatty acids and Vitamin B. And nutrient imbalance is one of the leading causes of hair loss, for men and women alike. Click here to read more about the crucial role nutrition plays in hair growth.
Questions or concerns about the health of your hair and/or scalp? Reach out to Florida Hair Restoration today – Dr. K. Wade Foster is an expert in the field of hair loss and hair restoration. Call our office today at 949-424-7362 and schedule a free consultation.