My problem with dry, scaly scalp comes and goes but it has been quite an annoyance since December last year. It gets worse each time I have hair color (read hair color for spring) and plateaus but never really disappeared which makes me conscious of my scalp, especially along the hairline to about a third up. So is it dandruff or just dry scalp? Mine were not itchy, flakes were not oily and my scalp didn’t look red or irritated. Note my use of past tense because thankfully, I cracked the flakes. I mean, the code to a flake-free scalp.
Dry flaky scalp or dandruff can be caused by a host of factors. While their symptoms may mimic each other, dandruff caused by fungus should be managed medically as well as symptoms of psoriasis. If you have tried several over-the-counter products without resolution, it doesn’t hurt to visit your doctor. Mine wasn’t obviously dandruff and the triggers were obvious: I love hot showers, I try new products (blogging-related) which predispose my scalp to irritation, and the biggest culprit, frequent hair color. In short, I had been mean to my scalp hence the aftermath. You may have heard of several over-the-counter treatments from tar to ketoconazole to zinc pyrithione, even salicylic acid. I went with the latter and during one of my shopping trips to Down To Earth (equivalent to Whole Foods), I picked up Avalon Organics Medicated Dandruff shampoo and conditioner (this brand is vegan and cruelty-free, read how to veganize your beauty stash). The active ingredient is 2% salicylic acid which helps with cellular turnover and keeps oil at bay. The inactive ingredients list is also commendable, mostly natural extracts as shown below.
Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid 2.0% (Controls symptoms of dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis) Inactive ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(1), Aqua (Water), Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Canarium Luzonicum Gum Nonvolatiles, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Copaifera Officinalis (Balsam Copaiba) Resin, Coriandrum Sativum (Coriander) Fruit Oil, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil(1), Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract(1), Chenopodium Quinoa Seed(1), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract(1), Styrax Benzoin Resin Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Babassu Oil Polyglyceryl-4 Esters, Bisabolol, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Inulin(1), Menthol, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Cocoyl Threoninate, Sodium Sulfate, Alcohol(1), Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Limonene, Linalool. (1)Certified Organic Ingredient.
The way to use it is pretty straightforward, 2x-3x a week, gently massage on scalp and rinse. I also bought the conditioner to supposedly help moisturize my hair but it’s not really necessary because I have dry hair related to chemical hair color so if you have the same problem, buy a leave-in hair conditioner or oil instead (if you have curly or natural waves like I do, I love this spray oil from Ouidad). The shampoo has a mild menthol fragrance and feel, the conditioner is fragrance-free. I am glad to have discovered this brand, as someone who wears black outfits most of the time, you know flakes can ruin the day. Well I’m past the embarrassment, finally!
Own purchase, affiliate links
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