How to Prevent Your Scalp From Getting Dry and Flaky This Winter, According to a Dermatologist
Freezing temperatures, chilling winds and dry heat are a recipe for dry skin — and we’re not just talking about on your face or body. Your scalp is just as prone to dryness during the colder months as the skin on the rest of your body, but it doesn’t get anywhere near as much attention as it deserves. To keep dry skin patches, flakes and an uncomfortable, itchy scalp away this season, we consulted with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe who shared a few tips, ahead.
But first, some myth busting about dry scalp and those dreaded dandruff flakes that come with it. “Although dandruff is not caused by cold, winter air, it can be aggravated by the cold, dry air,” says Dr. Bowe. Essentially, dandruff comes from a scalp sensitivity in which the skin gets inflamed, red and itchy and therefore, the body tells the brain to shed skin cells faster than usual, she explains. During the winter, the issue can become more prominent because our skin is more susceptible to becoming dry and irritated from additional factors, like the air and the temperature outside.
So, what can we do about it? “One of the most important tips I provide to my patients is to let go of their love for lathering,” says Dr. Bowe. “So many people believe that when they are lathering their hair, they are thoroughly cleansing it. In fact, as I tell my patients, the more suds and bubbles, the more damage the shampoo is doing to your hair.”
Just as you don’t want to use harsh detergents on your face to cleanse every day, the same goes for your hair and scalp. When you strip the scalp of healthy oils it can damage your natural protective skin barrier and cause more dryness and irritation — AKA more flakes and dry skin patches. “We need gentle products that protect our skin’s natural barrier, and the same concept applies when it comes to hair care,” says Dr. Bowe.
But that doesn’t mean you should stop washing your hair or anything drastic like that in the winter time. It means that year-round, no matter what season it is, you should be gentle when it comes to your hair-care routine. That means swapping out your harsh shampoos and conditioners for options that promote a healthy, balanced scalp. “We want to replace our harsh cleansers with gentle products, formulated to hydrate and strengthen hair without stripping the cuticle — the outermost layer of the hair,” she continues.
Her product pick: AQUIS Prime Rebalancing Hair Wash. “It is extremely gentle and helps to balance your hair and scalp’s healthy pH. It’s also specifically formulated to help maintain your hair’s healthy moisture (including natural oils) and to maintain the strength and integrity of your hair’s cuticle.”
We also love the Carol’s Daughter Coco Crème Sulfate Free Shampoo which is designed for very dry hair. It softens hair while cleansing and provides a deeply moisturizing experience for your strands when used as a complete system.