|Dear Alan,What is the difference between dandruff and a dry flaky scalp?Dandruff is a chronic fungal condition that creates excess skin sloughing mixed with sebum, or your natural oil from your hair follicles. The condition is actually rare and often requires a medicated shampoo or topical treatment during flare-ups.Most people experience dry, flaky scalp and unnecessarily “treat” it with harsh shampoos that damage curls.
What causes dry scalp?
Hair product ingredients that build up and turn to white dust such as PV/PA Co-Polymers, Cones/Cols/Xanes, Alcohol
Insufficient rinsing of cleanser. It is easy to miss spots when using a non-foaming and non-stripping cleanser such as Deva No Poo or Jessicurl Cream Cleanser. Remember to scrub it in and then scrub it out, part your hair and allow the water stream from your shower head get to your scalp.
Seasonal allergies. Elevated histamine levels can exacerbate dry skin.
Extreme temperature changes, such as in and out of weather into forced air heated buildings or vehicles.
Wearing scarves and hats can cause irritation and friction to the scalp.
SUGAR. Consuming all the additional sweets of Halloween, Thanksgiving pies and December goodies, gift boxes of See’s, hot chocolate, pumpkin flavored everything, adult beverages; it all takes its toll on your immunity. It is easy to reach for a sweet treat as the days get short and dark. If you have an autoimmune disease, such as psoriasis or a thyroid condition, you are especially sensitive to sugar consumption in any amount.
The changing of the seasons can be stressful. Our skin, hair and nails are the barometer of our health on the inside. Press your pause button and just observe your life with acceptance. Then, give yourself a few extra pampering minutes and enjoy all the attention.
Home Remedy Scalp Treatment
Gently exfoliate dry patches on your scalp with small circular massage with the pads of your fingertips (never fingernails) on wet hair. Use a small amount of condtioner and allow it to sit for a minute. You can also pre-treat hot zone areas with Innersense Harmonic Healing Oil,Jessicurl Scalp Massage Oil or Oil Blend, or virgin coconut oil or jojoba oil by applying the oil to a dry scalp with your fingertips or a cotton swab a few minutes before your shower or allow to sit overnight. Use a gentle non-foaming or low suds cleanser, then condition and style as usual.
For extra exfoliation, add large sugar crystals (aka Sugar in the Raw) to the conditioner or oil and very gently massage the flakes away. Never use fingernails or a comb to scratch your scalp as this can create an abrasion or a scrape.
AVOID dandruff and medicated shampoos unless directed by a physician for the treatment of dandruff. Selsum Blue, T-Gel, Head and Shoulders are too harsh to ever be used on delicate curly hair. Yes, the strong detergents will remove the flakes, as well as all the good protective oils that you need for a healthy scalp and hair. The occasional use of Tea Tree Oil shampoos, including African Black Soap and Neem Oil can be beneficial. I really like the scalp treatment duo by Alaffia.
If you are in an area with hard water (San Diego, Yolo, Solano counties), please do yourself a huge favor and install a shower head filter. I like the brand Sprite, which is available on amazon.com. Removing chlorine and minerals is a great first step for reducing irritants to your skin and scalp.
Protect your hair with a scarf, hat or style from extremely dry weather conditions. If you are traveling to snowy tundras or areas where the Dew Point is less than 40, your hair will cast off moisture out into the environment and will be at risk for breaking or splitting. Seal the ends of your dry hair with Innersense Harmonic Healing Oil or with Jessicurl Oil Blend.
Or move someplace temperate, like San Diego.