Here’s How to Banish Itchy, Dry Scalp This Fall and Winter

October 18, 2016

With drier, cooler weather, we’re more likely to experience dry, itchy skin—scalp included. Symptoms of dry scalp include feelings of tightness and itchiness, small flakes of skin around the roots (not to be confused with the larger skin flakes of dandruff), and dull, dehydrated strands.

The scalp is responsible, in part, for producing natural body oil (sebum) to nourish itself and the roots of our hair. The aforementioned symptoms occur when the scalp doesn’t produce enough oil and/or its natural oil is getting zapped by cold, dry weather, too-hot shower water, hard (mineral-dense) water, harsh shampoos, and/or crazy heat settings on your blow dryer.

In addition to being uncomfortable, dry scalp is a beauty buzzkill—no one wants flakes of skin in their hair—and lack of adequate moisture puts hair at risk for frizz, breakage, and other unfortunate things. Fortunately, your average case of dry scalp can be improved with a few doable steps. Your hair will thank you.

Here’s How to Banish Itchy, Dry Scalp This Fall and Winter

How to Finally Fix Your Dry Scalp Issues


Turn down the temp in the shower. I know how amazing a super-hot shower is on a cold day, but it’s not so amazing for your skin and hair. It’s just too drying, and while we can put some moisture back into our skin and hair via lotion and conditioner, it’s not as effective as maintaining our oil barrier as best a possible and supplementing with moisturizer where necessary.

Install a filter on your shower head. If you live in an area with hard water, install a showerhead filter to reduce the mineral content in your shower water, making it softer and more efficient at rinsing away potentially drying and irritating soap residue. Most showerhead filters cut down on chlorine, too. I use a Culligan filter.

Use the hair dryer sparingly or on a medium heat setting. Blasting the hair and scalp with a hot air is a recipe for dryness and future damage. If you must blow-dry, allow hair to air dry for a long as possible, and then go in with your dryer at a medium heat setting.

Cover your head in cold, dry weather. Need an excuse to go buy a cute knit cap—here it is! Covering your head while you’re out and about in chilly, dry weather will help your hair and scalp from losing vital moisture.

Humidify. My husband introduced me to home humidifiers a few years back, and, boy, have they come in handy. We’re in the habit of humidifying our home whenever we have to rely on indoor heating, which is–you guessed it–very drying for skin and hair.

Eat well, and don’t skimp on your healthy fats! Getting enough water and healthy fats are essential to maintaining healthy, beautiful skin. Almonds, avocados, walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and olives are delicious sources of plant-based fat. You can also supplement with evening primrose oil, flax seeds oil, and chia seed oil.


Condition your roots. This goes against popular beauty wisdom. We often hear that we should avoid conditioning our roots so that the conditioner won’t weigh our hair down or make our roots look greasy. This is generally good advice, but if you have dry scalp, it’s worth conditioning your roots at least once a week. You can experiment by using a lightweight conditioner and adjusting the frequency with which you condition your entire head.

Use a week restorative mask or hair oil. In addition to conditioning your roots, try a deep-conditioning hair mask or oil, making sure you apply the mask to your scalp as well as your hair. Try Earth’s Nectar Jojoba & Tea Tree Scalp Oil or DIY you own with your favorite carrier oil.

Massage your scalp. Massaging your scalp for fifteen minutes every night before bed—or before your shower—helps stimulate blood circulation to the scalp, which helps nutrients in the blood more efficiently nourish the area. A head massage can also help evenly distribute the natural oils on your scalp, so your hair is better nourished. Don’t be afraid to use pressure—really get in there with some slow, deep circles.

Have you tried any of these dry scalp remedies?

Related: 5 Tips for Growing Out Your Hair

5 Simple DIY Tips for Managing Oily Hair

Cool Weather Reboot: 5 Tips to Nourish Skin and Hair

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Photo: Alex Suprun via Unsplash

Peaceful Dumpling Beauty Editor and creator of Bisou du Jour, Mary Hood Luttrell lives with her husband in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mary is a freelance writer and writing and blogging consultant. A lover of whole foods, Mary delights in learning new ways to prepare vegan dishes. Mary also enjoys reading and writing poetry, art journaling, running, and practicing yoga and ballet. Follow Mary on her blog Bisou du Jour, Instagram and Pinterest.


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