If you have ever had an uncontrollably flaky scalp, you understand two things. First, that it can be a much more complex and difficult to treat condition that is often not improved by simple moisturization. This makes dealing with it incredible frustrating. Secondly, while it’s just a bit of dry skin, dandruff and scalp flakes are embarrassing. Like any beauty problem, it really shouldn’t be but for some reason we have been conditioned to be ashamed a few shedding dead skin cells. My husband actually struggled with a pesky case of flaky scalp that we would delicately refer to as “cradle cap” – cute, no? Because like most issues of vanity, once we get over the feelings of shame or stigma, we can move on to treating ourselves gently and lovingly. When we do not, we are often prey to doing harsh, damaging things to our bodies like using damaging, drying products that only make exacerbate the situation. From a loving perspective, we often are them open to finding that its quite easy to resolve these issues in a healthy, holistic way. I’ve dealt with many a case of flaky scalp and here are my top tips to clearing up this problem easily and naturally.
Use SLS-free shampoo – Sodium Laurel Sulfate, also known as SLS is a common detergent that is found in many shampoos and cleansing products. While it makes a satisfying foam and lather, its very stripping for our skin. Its actually used commercially to degrease industrial machinery! So, products with this ingredient worsens flaky scalps, causing more dryness and thus, more flakes. Cut the SLS and opt for a natural shampoo that is SLS-free.
Wash your hair every day – We often think about flakes as dry skin so naturally we want to preserve our natural oils. Logical? Yes! But when flakes get very bad and uncontrollable, its usually a more complex case. It has moved beyond being simple dry skin and into dandruff. Dandruff goes hand in hand with a scalp bacteria that lives on dry skin. When we control this bacteria we control the flaking. Washing our scalps well everyday may seem counter-intuitive but it helps eliminate this bacteria. I have seen clients who have struggled with dandruff for years start using a clarifying (but SLS-free) shampoo everyday see their flakes permanently disappear in weeks.
Use hair serum – Along with washing each day, we also want to replenish our scalp skin. One way is to use a water-based serum. This helps lock in hydration and boost skin moisture. You can use a natural serum that is designed for the face as there are not many water-based hair serums on the market. Many hair serums are just oils, which always struck me as odd…but what the hey. I usually recommend the Pure + Simple Algae Serum because it helps to retain tissue hydration but is also very affordable. Rub this serum into the roots of your scalp everyday after washing. It’s a nice treatment that won’t make you look greasy, so is fuss-free and practical.
Oil up – While serums are an important daily product, oiling our scalps should be a weekly ritual. Many people think they only need oil when treating flakes but that’s simply not true. Oil won’t infuse much needed water into dry skin cells but its does helps lock in moisture, stimulate healthy bloodflow and detoxify the scalp tissue. It creates a barrier that helps retain water. Also, oils such as neem and sesame are anti-bacterial, which help kill scalp bacteria. Adding essential oils to these base oil like lavender increase anti-bacterial properties, helping to naturally clarify the scalp. Apply an oil over a serum weekly to enjoy, healthy flaky-free heads and shoulders.