Do you know one of the most common hair problems African-American women suffer? Go ahead, take a minute and think about it. Ok, I’ll tell you. It’s an extremely dry scalp that is itchy. Bouts of itchiness and recurring flakes can leave you feeling frustrated and your scalp, tender. In a study published by the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology this is what they found. It said, “44% of African American women cited an extremely dry scalp as their main concern.”
This issue can be triggered by any number of factors. It ranges from lack of moisture to excess exposure to sulphate hair products. If you are battling with an itchy and extremely dry scalp, read on. This article will provide handy tips to get this issue under control.
Understand the Root Of Your Extremely Dry Scalp
Before you set about choosing remedies, it is critical that you understand the cause of the problem first. One of the most common causes of extremely dry scalp is the frequent processing of your hair. Using chemicals like bleaches and sodium hydroxide, an ingredient found in our household cleaning products, is not cool.
What did data from Mintel show about the sale of relaxers? It represented 21 percent of the black hair care market in 2015. Loss of moisture caused by these products could be the reason for your dry itchy scalp.
Another cause of a dry scalp is a condition known as psoriasis. It is typically identified by the silver red scaly patches alongside the hairline and on the scalp. If this is the case, then it is time to see your family doctor for prescribed treatment.
By identifying the root of the problem you can choose the correct remedy and be well on your way to a healthy and happy scalp in no time.
It is also important that you understand the severity of the problem as the remedies vary accordingly. Some target general dryness and as such are formulated with this in mind. For more severe cases such as seborrhoeic dermatitis, products used will aim to fight the yeast buildup on your scalp.
Nutrition And Your Scalp
Developing healthy lifestyle and eating habits is the key to your overall health and hence, the condition of your scalp. A dry itchy scalp can stem from poor dietary habits, which can give rise to a higher risk of your scalp being prone to infections.
Therefore, the health of your scalp is directly affected by the foods you consume. Because of this, it is vital that women adapt a nutrient rich diet not only for their fitness and cholesterol levels, but also their hair health.
A dry scalp can indicate lack of fatty acids and oils in your diet. Foods such as:
These items provide a great amount of essential fatty acids and omega 3s if incorporated into your weekly meal plan.
Incorporating vitamins into your diet is essential for hair growth and health. Vitamins A and B have been linked to good skin health including your scalp. Incorporating foods rich in these vitamins helps your body naturally regulate the vitamin deficiency it may be struggling with. This includes a long list of dairy products, whole grains and vegetables.
If you are still in doubt about your vitamin intake, there are a lot of supplements available on the market formulated specifically for hair health or containing these vitamins. Zinc has also been shown to promote skin cell generation and development, making it key to your scalp regenerating cells in your skin, nails and your hair.
Inadequate levels of hydration in your body can also cause dryness, so be sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day. Not drinking enough water results in dehydration of the scalp leaving the body and skin dry.
Your Hair Routine Is Crucial
Many products sold today including relaxers and hair colors contain lye, which is very aggressive in changing the structure of the hair, making it more straight. Constant use of these products can significantly decrease your hair’s protective layer i.e. the sebum and damages the hair follicles.
Changing your hair care routine and remedies by switching out your chemical products for natural, sulphate and lye free products should help to get you started on the road to scalp health again. According to the Beauty Ambassador for Shea Moisture, frequent washing of black hair can also be very drying to the hair strands, so try to limit washing your hair to once a week.
Apply Oil To Extremely Dry Scalp
According to Dr. Jeaneen Chappell, a researcher in dermatology, “African-American hair does not produce as much oil as others”. This leaves us genetically more susceptible to dryness in our hair and more prone to breakage.
Additionally, most relaxers and hair colors suggest relaxing the hair every 8 weeks. This high frequency combined with the strength of chemicals contained in the relaxers and dyes leaves most women with a dry scalp.
How can you combat this?
Using products with the best natural oils can help to replace the moisture in your hair. Pay attention to the labels and look for a moisture-rich shampoo containing oils such as jojoba oil, castor oil and olive oil. More importantly, making conditioning apart of your hair routine is vital. Incorporating a hair mask every two weeks can also help replace and lock in moisture.
In addition, use hair oil to on your roots and and hair ends daily for best results. You can also add hair oil to your favorite products to ensure your hair stays moisturized not dry.
Natural Remedies To Combat An Extremely Dry Scalp
With the damage from chemicals, hair follicles can become too fragile leading to hair loss. While it is not a long-term solution, there are several remedies you can try for instant relief and alongside the above mentioned remedies.
Use of peppermint oil or tea tree oil for the treatment of dandruff and as a hot oil treatment along with a good scalp massager is a good start. In research by Department of Dermatology in Australia, the use of tea tree oil showed a 41% improvement in the treatment of dandruff and its causes.
At home hair masks can also also help in replacing moisture and fighting bacteria on your scalp. Everyday ingredients such as avocados contain Vitamin A and honey has long been studied for their healing properties. You can also make your own at home scalp exfoliator with ingredients such as coconut oil and brown sugar.
Its unique structure and texture makes black hair much more prone to scalp and hair damage. However, by experimenting with a variety of treatments available, you can find the perfect routine for you. No matter the causes you can take control of your extremely dry scalp and hair health and transform your scalp to what it once was.