Dry flaky scalp

A flaky scalp is a source of a lot of discomfort and irritation. There are several causes that can lead to this condition. This article reviews some of the treatment options and how to completely get rid of the condition. Attached also are pictures to give you visual impressions of the disease.

What does a flaky scalp mean?Dry flaky scalp

Flaking is a scalp condition which results from dryness of the scalp. When your scalp is dry, it tightens and has flakes forming all over. There are several types and forms of scalp flakiness. The following are some of them:

  • Dry scalp: This is where the flakiness is majorly characterized by dryness of the scalp. It is mainly because your scalp is not well moisturized.
  • Itchy flaky scalp: This level of flakiness occurs when the scalp is too dry and causes a discomfort usually itchiness. When your scalp is itchy, you tend to scratch it and hence the dead skin on the scalp falls off.
  • Extremely flaking head: This is an extreme state of flakiness. It is a combination of both dryness and itchiness. It is likely to be caused by an attack by dandruff and a condition known as seborrheic dermatitis. When your scalp is extremely flaky, you need to see your doctor for proper guidance.


There are several reasons for why your scalp is flaking. Most people confuse flaking scalp with other scalp conditions such as dandruff. It is therefore important to understand the causes of a dry scalp as a distinguishing factor.

The major reasons for a flaking scalp is dryness of the scalp. Below are the reasons responsible for dryness of the scalp;

Dry, cold or generally harsh weather

Sometimes, the reason your scalp is flaking is basically a response to varying weather conditions. In such a case, you will realize that the scalp normalizes after a certain weather condition.

Nutritional deficiencies

Your diet may be the reason your scalp is flaking. For instance, when your diet contains too many sugary foods, your scalp is likely to dry up. Furthermore, lack of some vitamins in your diet is likely to cause drying of your scalp. Vitamin B6 and B12 are some of those vitamins that if they lack in your diet, you will most likely develop the flaky scalp problem.

Hot water for showers

You need to be careful how you treat your scalp after a hot shower. If you do not oil your scalp well after the hot shower, your scalp tends to dry up and the result is a flaking scalp. Additionally, oil your scalp accordingly if you use hot water for shampooing since it dries up your scalp.

The type and how much shampoo is used

Your scalp is flaking probably due to the type of shampoo you use for your scalp. Take time to understand your skin type before choosing the type of shampoo to use. Where an inappropriate shampoo is used, your scalp is exposed to a risk of forming flakes.

As well, using too much shampoo to wash your scalp leaves it excessively dry. Once the scalp dries up, you end up with a flaking scalp. Always determine how much shampoo works for scalp without drying it unnecessarily.

Hair dye and harsh chemicals

The hair products you use could be the only explanation as to why your scalp is dry. When you use chemicals for your hair, you must acquire skills on proper hair care. Otherwise, some chemicals are too harsh that they completely dry your scalp.

Moreover, the type of hair dyes you use should match your skin type since some dyes are known to lead to a dry scalp. The hair treatment you use should also be appropriate for your type of skin. There are hair treatments that cause a flaking scalp.

Dust and dirt

The environment around you is always polluted. Most people who complain of flaking scalps are found to be exposed to a dusty environment. When any dirt or dust gets into contact with your scalp, it tends to remain stuck in there causing your scalp to be dry. A flaking scalp is a dry scalp.

Skin conditions

Sometimes, flakiness of the scalp is as a result of conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Amy Kassouf, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic explains that, if flakiness is caused by these conditions, you will need to treat them so as to relieve your scalp of the discomfort.

Hair loss

Flaky scalp caused by the various conditions would prompt you to scratch your scalp because of the irritated scalp skin. Continuous irritation of your hair brings blisters and gives room for more infections and this gives room for bacteria to come at play. In the long run, your hair follicles would become weak and this would not give room for hair to grow. In the end, if your hair can’t grow, then it will automatically begin falling off.


When choosing the best treatment for your flaking scalp, you may need to see a dermatologist.  This is because some types of treatment may worsen your condition if they turn out to be unsuitable for your skin type.  Even that, you need to familiarize with the available treatment options. They include the following;

Selenium sulfide

It prevents your skin cells from drying up and this stops your scalp from flaking. This is because it reduces fungus that are possibly on your skin. Even that, seek your doctor’s approval before using shampoo containing selenium sulfide as it may change your hair color.

Pyrithione zinc

This is an antifungal drug that kills the fungus on your scalp which is the probable reason your scalp is flaking. Shampoo that contain Pyrithione zinc can be used every day since they are very gentle.

Hydrocortisone cream

According to Papri Sarkar, who is a Massachusetts dermatologist, explains that you can use an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. This cream helps end flaking of your scalp without causing undesirable side effects. You are advised to use is two times in a day for three to five days.


The following are some of the pictures that can give you a pictorial view of the flaky scalp. These would help you to mark out the difference of scalp flakiness from other conditions, study the pictures. You should also visit your doctor who would give you the appropriate diagnosis and thereafter the best therapy.

How to get rid/ home remedies

The above treatment methods may be quite expensive for you. You can opt for home remedies which are not only less costly but also come in their natural form. Below are some home remedies that will be helpful in getting rid of a dry flaky skin;

Olive oil

Olive oi has both moisturizing properties and ability to retain such moisture on the scalp. The following procedure is useful;

  1. While still warm, apply virgin olive oil directly in your scalp.
  2. Massage the olive oil evenly and leave it for 15 minutes
  3. Rinse the oil off using a mild shampoo
  4. Repeat this procedure every day until flakiness subsides. Apply the oil two to three times each week to enhance retaining of the moisture

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has antifungal properties. This is the property which enables it to kill the bacteria which causes scalp dryness and flakes. You are advised to add the tea tree oil to your conditioner or shampoo.


  1. To your shampoo or conditioner, add 6 drops of tea tree oil and mix it evenly
  2. Rinse your scalp and hair using this mixture
  3. This needs to be done on a regular basis for a fast improvement of your flaking scalp

Coconut oil

You can treat your and flaking scalp at home using coconut oil. This oil contains not only antiviral properties but also serves as a super moisturizer. Follow the steps below;

  1. Warm the coconut oil slightly
  2. Apply it gently in your scalp massaging in a circular motion. This is to enhance absorption of the oil into the scalp for proper moisturizing.
  3. Allow the oil to stay in the scalp for fifteen minutes
  4. Repeat the treatment three times in a week

Apple cider vinegar

Being anti-inflammatory in nature, Apple cider vinegar restores the PH balance of the scalp. This explains why it relieves your scalp of flakiness.


  1. Make a mixture of apple cider vinegar with water
  2. Apply the vinegar into the scalp then leave it for thirty minutes
  3. Rinse it off with the most appropriate shampoo. Apply the oil consistently for better results

Dr. Kassouf, explains that; rinsing your scalp with diluted vinegar rebalances the flora and changes the ph of the skin hence diminishing scalp dryness and irritation.

Yoghurt and egg white

Popularly used for treating hair problems, you could also use it for your scalp flakiness. The proteins and nutrients contained in the egg strengthen the scalp. Yoghurt moisturizes your scalp naturally and helps remove dead skin and dirt as well.


  1. Mix a cup of yoghurt and one egg
  2. Apply the mixture evenly in the scalp
  3. Leave it for 30 minutes then wash it off with your preferable shampoo
  4. Do these three times a week

Oat meal

Oats are very rich in vitamin E and hence nourishes your skin treating the flaking and dryness.


  1. Make a mixture of a tablespoon of oatmeal powder and half cup of water
  2. Stir the mixture to form an even solution
  3. Apply the mixture gently on the scalp
  4. Leave it for approximately 30 minutes
  5. Rinse your hair with preferably cold water
  6. Repeat the process at least 3 times in a day

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a natural moisturizer. As well, it treats bacterial and fungal infections that are the main reason most scalps flake. Aloe Vera also helps remove heat from the head and hence it prevents flaking of the scalp. You will be required to follow the steps below.


  1. Take Aloe Vera which is freshly squeezed from an aloe Vera plant.
  2. Allow it to stay in the scalp for a few hours
  3. Rinse it off properly


You will enjoy the moisturizing properties of avocado since it is very high in fat content. This fat restores the moisture in your hair hence preventing it from drying up. Below are the instructions you are required to follow.


  1. Make a paste with your fresh avocado
  2. Apply the avocado paste into the scalp
  3. Leave it for about an hour then rinse it off using your shampoo
  4. Continue applying it at least once a week

Lemon juice

Lemon juice is a naturally exfoliates your scalp hence removing flaky and dry skin from the scalp. You are advised to use fresh lemon juice.


  1. Squeeze fresh juice from your lemons
  2. Using the tips of your fingers, apply the juice evenly in your scalp
  3. Leave it for about half an hour then rinse it off
  4. You are advised to use a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil for better results.


This is an herbal remedy which controls dryness and flakiness of the scalp.  The following steps will guide you on how to use thyme.


  1. Add 1 tablespoon of dry thyme to 16 ounces of water
  2. Boil the water by simmering and then steep it for about 10 minutes
  3. Wash your scalp using this water containing thyme so as to control flakiness of the scalp

In conclusion, you should choose the best remedy that works for you. Try home remedies before embarking on use of any other creams or over the counter medication. If the condition does not get well, you should visit your skin expert to get to the root of everything and give the best advice.

References and sources

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