Provided by

4 Common Scalp Problem (Plus Simple Remedies)

Related Articles
Related Topics
Health Search

Drug Search

Explore and compare medications
Hidden under all that hair, your poor scalp doesn't get much attention. But it should! "A healthy scalp leads to healthy locks because it houses the follicles that make hair strong and shiny," says Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Hair Clinic in New York City.

Experts also warn that neglecting scalp issues can lead to limp, lackluster strands or even--yikes!--hair loss. Treat your scalp to some TLC with these tips.

If you experience. . .

Itchiness and tiny white flakes on the top of your head and your shoulders

You probably have. . .

A dry scalp

The cause

Cold temps and moisture-sapping indoor heat contribute to the snowstorm on your LBD. "Like the skin on your body, your scalp gets flaky when it's parched," says Cunnane Phillips. Your shampoo could also be a culprit: Clear ones contain fewer nourishing oils.
Bumble & Bumble Gentle Shampoo (Photo: Thomas McDonald/Rodale)

Root Rx

Do a hot oil treatment once a week, advises Ava Shamban, M.D., a dermatologist in Beverly Hills. First, lather up with a creamy shampoo (try Bumble and Bumble Gentle
Shampoo,
$22, bumbleandbumble.com), then towel-dry hair. Microwave 1/4 cup of jojoba oil for 20 seconds (try Aubrey Organics 100% Organic Jojoba Oil, $11.67, aubrey-organics.com), then dab a cotton ball into the oil and press it over your entire scalp. Wrap your hair in a towel for 20 minutes, then shampoo again, condition, and rinse as you normally would.

Diagnose Your Hair Health


If you experience. . .

Greasy roots and whitish-yellow flakes throughout your (limp) hair

You probably have. . .

An oily scalp

The cause

Some people's scalps naturally overproduce oil (stress can make it worse). And when the oil mixes with bacteria, thick flakes form, fall off, and stick to hair. Too many salty, fatty, or sweet foods increase your scalp's pH, making it a bacteria-friendly environment.
Nioxin 3-Part System for Normal Hair (Photo: Thomas McDonald/Rodale)

Root Rx

Three times a week, massage your scalp with a salicylic-acid treatment--it will exfoliate flakes and control oil, says Cunnane Phillips (try Nioxin 3-Part System for Normal Hair, $44, nioxin.com for salons). Once a week, do a scalp "facial": Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with clear shampoo, lather, then rinse. Next, combine a cup of water and a cup of apple cider vinegar with three drops of lavender oil and pour it over your scalp. "This reduces scalp pH, making it inhospitable for bacteria so flakes don't form," says Shamban.

Healthy Hair From The Inside Out


If you experience . . .

White bumps along your hairline

You probably have. . .

Scalp folliculitis, a bacterial inflammation of the hair follicles

The cause

Wearing a hat while you exercise. Trapped sweat, oil, and bacteria can clog hair follicles and form tiny pustules. (Those with chronic eczema or acne are more prone to this condition.) If left untreated, follicles can become permanently damaged, leading to hair loss.
Jason Tea Tree Normalizing Shampoo (Photo: Thomas McDonald/Rodale)

Root Rx

Wash your hair with a tea tree shampoo after each workout--tea tree is naturally antibacterial and soothes an inflamed scalp, says Cunnane Phillips. (Try Jason Tea Tree Normalizing Shampoo, $10.49, jason-natural.com). For extreme cases that extend past the hairline and onto your entire scalp, your derm may prescribe a topical steroid to shrink the bumps.

What Conditions Do You Really Inherit?


If you experience. . .

Patches of scaly red skin that produce silvery flakes

You probably have. . .

Psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition that can crop up in your twenties or early thirties

The cause

Genetics. Psoriasis can be hereditary, and stress contributes to flare-ups, says Cunnane Phillips.
Phyto Phytheol Intense Anti-Dandruff Scalp Treatment Shampoo (Photo: Thomas McDonald/Rodale)

Root Rx

Psoriasis has no cure, but it can be kept under control. Cunnane Phillips suggests using a shampoo with the antifungal ingredient piroctone olamine three times a week to stop itching and scaling (try Phyto Phytheol Intense Anti-Dandruff Scalp Treatment Shampoo, $24, sephora.com). If symptoms don't subside, see your dermatologist, who may recommend a treatment containing coal tar, which has been shown to help soften rough, scaly patches.

Best Styles For Your Hair Type

Follow Yahoo Health on and become a fan on

Follow @YahooHealth on
Related Health News