A certain amount of natural oil is needed to keep the scalp healthy. The function of the sebaceous glands is to maintain the scalp moisture by secreting an oily substance, called sebum. Sebum creates a thin oily film which protects the scalp against external influences. Once this oily film is damaged, it fails to keep the natural moisture inside. Dry scalp skin is susceptible to infections and external irritations.
Once the oily barrier of the scalp is damaged, harmful substances from the environment can penetrate through the damaged protective layer and cause scalp micro-inflammation. This can further lead to irritation of the scalp coupled with redness and itchiness.
The skin responds to irritation attempting to repair itself by producing more and more cells. Dead skin cells accumulate on the scalp and form flakes, which can clog the hair follicles and stop production of natural oils. This can result in increased dryness of the scalp. Small flakes of dry skin, then fall from the scalp and create an unsightly mess on the shoulders that are particularly obvious on dark clothing.
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Why You Need to Consider Changing Your Shampoo
Sulfates are strong detergents that can strip the scalp of its natural oils. Repeatedly washing hair with harsh shampoos can harm the protective oil barrier of the scalp. This can result in itchy, flaky skin and scalp and dry and brittle hair. Sulfate-free shampoos help keep the natural moisture of the scalp and don’t cause irritation and dryness. Gentle cleansers ensure retention of a thin oil layer on the scalp that is so important for its health.
Sulfate-free shampoos are hair- and scalp-friendlier than ordinary ones. They usually contain a higher level of nourishing botanical ingredients that support scalp health.
Sulfate-free shampoos don’t contain added chemicals to create a rich lather. Those mild, less foaming shampoos are still capable of washing off dirt and excess oil from hair. They do what they need to without harsh synthetic cleansers.
Below is a list of several mild, sulfate-free shampoo formulas designed to hydrate dry scalp and hair.
Shampoos for Dry Scalp and Hair
1) Moisture Control Shampoo by Maple Holistics
This all-natural hydrating shampoo is designed to help alleviate dry scalp symptoms. This dry scalp shampoo formula uses plant oils to restore the moisture balance on the scalp and to relieve itching and flaking.
Gentle cleansers will not expose your hair and skin to harsh chemicals that can cause dryness and irritation. Lavender has mild antiseptic and pain-relieving properties. It also calms scalp irritation, reduces inflammation, and inhibits infections. Carrot and Parsley Seed stimulate cell growth and regenerate skin tissues. Jojoba and Argan Oil moisturize, create volume, and provide scalp smoothness and hair luster. Naturally derived botanical keratin replenishes lost keratin, reduces frizz, and helps to restore damaged hair.
The formula is Sulfate, Paraben, Silicone, fragrance, and cruelty-free.
2) V76 Hydrating Shampoo by Vaughn
This mild men’s shampoo is formulated to hydrate the scalp and strengthen dry and damaged hair. It gently cleans the hair, leaving it soft and hydrated.
This vegan shampoo formula is free of sulfates and other harsh chemicals. Almond Butter, Sage Leaf Extract, and Chamomile nourish and soothe a dry scalp.
It has a pleasant Blue Cedar scent.
This shampoo is made with pure natural ingredients including Aloe Vera, vitamins, and soothing botanicals. Botanical essentials help exfoliate the dry, scaly scalp. The formula is gentle and has a nourishing and moisturizing effect on the scalp. It is made without chemicals that can strip away the natural oils from your scalp and hair. This conditioning shampoo has a nice smell and leaves your hair shiny and manageable.
Causes of Dry and Itchy Scalp
There are several factors that can bring about dry scalp; however, the most basic reason behind it is the lack of natural lubrication. Here are the most common factors that can cause dry scalp conditions:
1.Inadequate Secretion of Sebum
The sebaceous glands are small oil-producing glands present in the skin. These microscopic exocrine glands produce an oily substance that lubricates the hair and scalp. Our scalp tends to get dry when Sebaceous glands don’t produce enough natural oil to keep the skin moist.
Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, malnutrition, or not drinking enough water may be responsible for dryness of the scalp. A healthy and balanced diet is important for the sebaceous glands to function effectively. Insufficient production of sebum can be a sign of zinc deficiency, vitamin B or fatty acids. In order to get enough of these important nutrients, you need to ensure that you eat fresh food more often than you eat processed food. Dehydration in the body can result in the loss of large amounts of moisture from the skin layer which will contribute towards dryness of the scalp.
3.Changes in Temperature or Humidity
Changes in temperature and humidity can also have a considerable effect on the scalp and the body as a whole. During the cold season when the humidity drops, the moisture from the body and the scalp surface is absorbed into the atmosphere. Dry air from indoor heating in winter is another common cause of hair dryness. Prolonged sun exposure is also one of the things to avoid for a healthy scalp.
The dry scalp may also be caused by the type of water being used. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium ion that can react with detergents in hair shampoos and lessen their effectiveness. Hard water requires much more shampoo to clean your hair than soft water. This can cause the skin to become dry and may lead to irritation. Mineral elements gradually build up on the scalp and hair and may cause blocked hair follicles and hair thinning. Hard water also lowers the natural pH of water, making it more acidic.
Repeated chemical treatments and excessive use of hair products that contain harsh components can strip the natural oil from the scalp making it dry and sensitive. If the hair is continually washed with shampoos containing sulfates, it can destroy moisture in the hair and scalp and result in dryness. In such a case, using mild moisturizing hair care product can help in restoring a dry scalp to its natural state and also in repairing the outer scalp layer.
6.Exposure to Excessive Heat
Washing the hair continuously with hot water or blow-drying the hair on a regular basis can weaken and break down the protective lipids in your skin and cause the scalp to dry out. It makes no difference either you used a flat iron or a hair curler, they both have the same drying effects as using a blow dryer close to the head. You should avoid washing your hair more than necessary and stop the habit of overheating your hair during styling.
Dry Scalp and Oily hair
It may look like the two conditions negate each other; however, this is not an impossible situation. It is quite common to have dry scalp and oily hair.
When the scalp is dry as a result of moisture loss, the sebaceous glands may try to compensate for the dryness by secreting more oil. The excess secreted oil can make your hair look greased, shortly after showering. This usually occurs in people that have fine hair.
Due to itching and irritation that usually follows dry scalp, the affected individual may be tempted to constantly touch their hair and scalp unconsciously. This continuous touching will spread the excess secreted oil throughout the hair, giving it a greasy and flaky look.
If you notice that your hair feel greasy, this may be the result of the hair care product buildup. Most hair conditioning products contain silicones that give a smoothing effect to the hair and make it shine temporarily. However, some types of silicones are not water-soluble and may build up in your hair over time, causing hair to look flat, greasy, or weighed down. Using a harsh shampoo with sulfates will remove silicone build-up, but this can over-dry your scalp. The cycle is endless…
Jojoba oil can regulate sebum production and can be of great help to people with oily scalp and dry hair. This lightweight oil helps control overactive oil glands while keeping hair properly moisturized.
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