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Dry Scalp in Natural Hair

Updated on July 27, 2012

Are you suffering from a dry, itchy scalp and are dying to get rid of it? You’re not alone!

Dry scalp in natural hair is caused from a variety of different reasons. Depending on the situation, what causes dry scalp for one person could be totally different for another.

The dryness comes from the natural oils in the scalp being stripped away.

Hard water, chemicals in hair products, bad eating, dehydration, chlorine in swimming pools and the environment are all factors that contribute to dry hair.

All of these elements can cause an imbalance of the skin cell replacement process of the scalp and in return a dry flaky scalp is left.

A dry scalp in natural hair is more common because natural hair is dry by nature. It takes a little more care to keep the scalp healthy when the hair is already going to be dry. There are a few small things that can be done to remedy the dreaded dry, flaky scalp.

Hard Water

Hard water contains a high mineral content that makes it difficult to wash the hair. It also lowers the natural pH of water and makes it more acidic.

The minerals in the water react with the shampoo and together they form calcium and magnesium salts.

This will leave a soapy film on the hair and scalp. The soapy film only develops when synthetic products are used in the shampoo.

It is very important to keep the scalp as clean as possible because anything left on the scalp will disrupt the natural skin cell replacement process.

To get rid of hard water you can use an ion exchange water softener.

Hair Products

Shampoos with sulfates can also be a cause of dry scalp in natural hair. The sulfates strip everything from the hair leaving dry and deprived of all natural oils in the scalp.

To try to remedy the drying effect of the shampoo, conditioner is used in attempts to replace the moisture.

Conditioners with synthetic ingredients only add artificial oils to the hair that coat the scalp and cause more irritation.

Many women of color are used to slathering greases and oils onto the scalp. The problem with this is the products begin to build up on the scalp and they cause dryness.

The scalp will create less oil or sebum because it is recompensing the product that was put on it.

Using sulfate free shampoos and natural hair products free of synthetic matter, this will help reduce the amount of dryness in the scalp.


Over exposure to the sun and dry air can also cause a dry scalp in natural hair.

The cold winter can also be harsh on the scalp as well as the rest of the body.

Wearing hats in the winter and the summer will help keep the moisture in the hair.

Washing the hair less frequently in the winter with shampoo will help with keeping the hair and scalp moisturized.

Sometimes just rinsing the hair with water is a good way to rinse away unwanted products and keep the scalp as moisturized as possible. Air drying your hair instead of blow drying will also help prevent dryness.

The best form of moisture comes from water. Getting water to the scalp is the best way to give it the moisture it needs without stripping away the moisture or adding pore clogging products.

Allowing the scalp to breathe and work the way it was meant to work will help reduce the amount of dryness and flakiness.

Thanks for reading and I hope these tips were helpful!


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    • profile image

      Daniel 3 years ago

      Actually, i always hate dry scalp and itchy on my head.. here also about scalp -

    • KySmith profile image

      Kyndall Smith 4 years ago from Milwaukee

      Thank you! =)

    • Gabrielle Allen profile image

      Gabrielle Allen 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Great info!