Men's Life Today: Expert Q+A
I've noticed that winter weather conditions dry out my scalp. What can I do to prevent dandruff?
There are many winter-related factors that contribute to a dry scalp. Indoor heating tends to remove oxygen and moisture from the air; in other words, not only is the outside air less moist, but so is the inside air. In addition to the low humidity winter brings, many of us change our daily routines as the temperature drops, consuming more fat, eating more and sleeping a little longer. These modifications affect our bodies and our circulation too. And one of the first places we see the effects of these changes is on our face and scalp.
The first thing I recommend to treat a scalp condition is changing your routine. Whatever you’re doing now, do the opposite. If you shampoo a lot, shampoo less. And vice versa. If you shampoo in the morning, shampoo in the evening.
Aloe vera oil massaged into the scalp works wonders in fighting dryness -- it contains every vitamin you can think of, plus essential fatty acids. Do it right before you go to the gym or out for a run, because the heat your body generates as you work out will help the aloe vera penetrate.
After you’ve showered, avoid using a blow-dryer and opt for a towel-dry instead. And for products, try shea butter, a pomade with essential oils or a leave-in conditioner. Another moisture-rich product you can use is olive oil. Just don’t put so much on that your hair looks greasy!
At night, massage your scalp in a circular motion, which will help increase blood flow, which will in turn combat dryness. Comb your hair daily too.
Finally, note that severe flaking is not necessarily a symptom of a dry scalp. What you’re experiencing in this case is most likely caused by a fungus. There are medicated shampoos (prescription and over-the-counter) that you can use, or you can try tea tree oil, which is both antifungal and antibacterial. Add 12 drops of oil to an 8-ounce bottle of shampoo. Alternatively, you can try rinsing the hair with apple cider vinegar before shampooing. The vinegar has a cleansing effect on the scalp. It does have a strong odor, though, so be sure to wash it out thoroughly.