Caring For Your Dry & Sensitive Scalp: A Comprehensive Guide

Picture this: you’re getting ready for your day, but instead of feeling refreshed and energised, you’re met with an uncomfortable sensation on your scalp. The tightness, pain, and itching seem to follow you everywhere you go, making it hard to focus on anything else.

It’s like a constant battle between you and your scalp. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Dealing with a dry and sensitive scalp can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. With the right knowledge and tools, you can take back control and finally give your scalp the care it deserves.

Symptoms of a Dry and Sensitive Scalp

A dry and sensitive scalp is typically caused by a lack of moisture on the scalp, which can be due to a variety of factors such as:

  • harsh shampoos
  • excessive use of hair styling products
  • exposure to extreme temperatures
  • certain medical conditions


Additionally, people with dry and sensitive skin may be more prone to developing this condition.

Individuals who suffer from a dry and sensitive scalp often experience a range of symptoms, including:

  • flaking
  • redness
  • itchiness
  • tightness
  • burning sensations on the scalp

While these symptoms do not pose a threat to your health, they can be frustrating and uncomfortable. They can even lead to embarrassment and social anxiety if there is visible dandruff or flaking.

Causes Of A Dry And Sensitive Scalp

Causes of a dry and sensitive scalp

A dry and sensitive scalp is a common scalp condition and may be caused by several factors.

  1. Environmental conditions

Your environment can affect your scalp health. A hot and dry climate, for example, can leave your scalp dry with very little moisture.

  1. Lack of hydration

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration. This affects the skin on the body as well as the scalp.

  1. Harsh hair products

Consistently using products with harsh chemicals on your hair can strip away your scalp’s natural oils and leave it dry and irritated.

  1. Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as scalp psoriasis, fungal infection and eczema, can be the underlying cause of your scalp dryness and sensitivity.

Caring For Your Dry And Sensitive Scalp

Caring of a dry and sensitive scalp

Caring for your scalp begins at home. You can include extra steps in your hair care routine to keep your scalp moisturised and soothed. Here are some tips:

1. Choose Hair Products Carefully

A dry and sensitive scalp is prone to irritation. You must exercise caution when selecting hair products, particularly those that are applied directly to the scalp, such as shampoos, conditioners and masks.

The ingredients in these products should work to hydrate and soothe the scalp without irritation. Reading product labels and choosing ingredients with hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties, like aloe vera, oatmeal and coconut oil, can reduce scalp dryness and itchiness.

2. Avoid Blow Dryers

Blow dryers emit concentrated dry heat that can dry your scalp and aggravate its symptoms. Instead of blow-drying, try partial drying or naturally air-drying your hair.

3. Moisturise Sufficiently

Drink plenty of water to keep your skin well hydrated. After washing, it is good to apply a leave-in scalp treatment such as a hair tonic, hair oil or hair serum. These products are designed to hydrate, nourish and protect your scalp. For long-lasting moisture, you can deep condition your scalp with a mask once a week.

4. Do Not Overstyle

Styling can lead to product buildup over time, which can irritate your scalp. Keep styling to a minimum and avoid applying the products directly to your scalp. If you’re tying your hair, avoid tight ponytails.

Essential Ingredients In Shampoos For Dry And Sensitive Scalp

When it comes to choosing the right shampoo for your dry and sensitive scalp, there are certain ingredients you should look for. Here are some tried and tested essential ingredients that can help hydrate and nourish your scalp:

1. Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a natural ingredient that is often used in shampoos to help with dryness and sensitivity. It is an excellent choice for those with a dry scalp due to its moisturising properties.

Aloe vera is a powerful emollient that locks in moisture, resulting in a more hydrated scalp. It is rich in fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help to nourish and protect the scalp. Aloe vera also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce any irritation or inflammation on your scalp. Its cooling effect on the scalp can help relieve your discomfort.

2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great natural ingredient due to its fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which are beneficial for a dry scalp. It helps to moisturise your scalp and hair by forming a protective barrier against environmental damage. Furthermore, it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe your dry, sensitive and itchy scalp.

The saponins contained in oats are natural cleansing agents that are gentle on the scalp and hair. This makes oatmeal a great alternative to harsh chemicals found in some shampoos, as it removes dirt and oil without irritating the scalp. Oats also contain avenanthramides, which are compounds that help to reduce itching and irritation on your scalp.

3. Coconut Oil

According to a study, coconut oil enriches scalp health. It is known to have several beneficial properties which help to nourish and soothe the scalp. Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids, which helps to moisturise the scalp, reduce inflammation, and provide relief from itching. The oil is also known to be an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, which help to nourish the scalp and hair.

4. Chamomile

Chamomile is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect the scalp from damage and also reduce the symptoms of your dry scalp. The herb can also be used to reduce itchiness, flaking and dandruff.

Chamomile has antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, which can  soothe any redness and irritation. The antioxidants present in chamomile also help to fight free radicals, protecting the scalp from further irritation.

5. Glycerin

Glycerin is an effective and widely used ingredient in shampoos to retain moisture and hydrate the scalp. It can alleviate the tightness, itching, flaking, and discomfort associated with dry skin.

Glycerin is a humectant, meaning it attracts and retains moisture, allowing for easy absorption into the scalp. It is also non-comedogenic and non-irritating, and is hence very safe for use on dry and sensitive scalps.

Ingredients To Avoid In Your Shampoo

There are ingredients that you should stay away from due to their harsh effects on the scalp. They strip away the natural oils from your scalp, cause your scalp to react adversely and make your condition worse.

1. Sulphates

Sulphates are effective at cleansing the scalp and removing dirt, oil, and other impurities. However, they can be harsh and can strip away natural oils from the scalp, leaving it drier and more itchy.

2. Silicone

Silicone can make your hair look glossy and shiny and can help to reduce frizz. But silicone does not wash off easily and can lead to buildup on the scalp, further exacerbating your condition.

3. Alcohol

While alcohol can effectively remove dirt and oil, it can also cause scalp dryness, stripping away natural oils and moisture.

4. Parabens

Parabens are a type of preservative found in a variety of beauty and hair care products, including shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. While parabens help to prevent bacterial growth, they can also cause irritation to the scalp.

5. Fragrances

Fragrances are added to hair products to make them smell appealing, but they are potential scalp irritants.

Natural Remedies For Your Dry And Sensitive Scalp

Natural ingredients have properties that can benefit your dry and sensitive scalp. If you’re looking for do-it-yourself treatments, try these.

 1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has the power to balance the pH levels of the scalp, which can help to reduce dryness and scalp sensitivity. It is useful for removing product buildup, dirt, and excess oils that may be clogging pores. Apple cider vinegar’s anti-inflammatory properties can also soothe the scalp and reduce itching.

Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water and apply it directly to your scalp. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes before removing it with a gentle shampoo and conditioning your hair as usual.

2. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil’s antibacterial and antifungal properties make it ideal for clearing away bacteria and fungi on your scalp. It’s also rich in antioxidants that can help to nourish the scalp and reduce dryness.

Mix tea tree oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, and apply it to your scalp. Alternatively, you may add five to ten drops of tea tree essential oil to your bottle of shampoo and shake it. Massage onto your scalp gently and rinse thoroughly.

3. Honey

Honey is a humectant, which means that it helps to draw moisture from the air and  keep the scalp hydrated. Honey has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to soothe your scalp and protect it from infection.

Honey works best when mixed with a little water (just enough to make it less sticky), massaged into the scalp, and pulled through the ends of the hair. Allow it to sit for one to two minutes. Then, as usual, rinse, shampoo, and condition your hair.

Professional Treatment For Your Dry And Sensitive Scalp

While at-home treatments are easy and a lot more affordable, if you have a long history of a dry, itchy scalp, then you may need professional help. TrichoLab’s Sensitive Reduction Treatment is designed to provide deep relief for dry and sensitive scalps.

Sensitive Reduction Treatment

The Sensitive Reduction Treatment is an anti-irritant treatment that features a blend of niacinamide, vitamin B5, oat protein and green tea extracts. These are meant to reduce inflammation and boost your scalp’s immune function, protecting it from future irritation. Their key benefits are:

  • Clears away environmental buildup
  • Soothes redness and irritation
  • Prevents itching
  • Protects from further irritation


Depending on the findings of your scalp analysis, the treatment will be customised to suit your individual needs. Some of the steps in the Sensitive Reduction Treatment include:

A Scalp Analysis

An in-depth scan of your scalp will be performed to assess the condition of your scalp and its treatment requirements.

Sensitive Scalp Mask And Steam

The scalp mask and steam work to hydrate your dry and sensitive scalp, and enhance blood circulation.

Sensitive Scalp Shampoo

Our sensitive scalp shampoo is an in-house formulation designed to reduce scalp sensitivity and boost your scalp’s immune function.

Booster Treatment

The final step of your scalp treatment may include a multivitamin serum or LED light therapy to boost results.

Diet And Lifestyle Habits To Improve Your Dry And Sensitive Scalp

Apart from your best efforts to topically treat your scalp, making healthier lifestyle choices can also help improve its condition:

  1. Eat foods that are high in vitamins A, B, C and E, as well as zinc and selenium. These can help to nourish your scalp and promote healthy hair growth. Additionally, foods with omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation and promote scalp health.
  2. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. This will help keep your skin and scalp hydrated, preventing them from becoming dry and irritated.
  3. Wear hats or scarves when going outdoors. This is to protect your scalp from wind, sun exposure, and harmful ultraviolet lights.


Give The Extra Care Your Dry And Sensitive Scalp Deserves

A dry and sensitive scalp may be incredibly uncomfortable to live with, but there are ways for you to better manage it.

We hope this guide is helpful and you have found ideas you can put into practice. With the right care and habits, you manage your scalp and be more confident about your hair.

If you are ready for a professional dry and sensitive scalp treatment in Singapore, consider consulting a scalp specialist. TrichoLab is a hair and scalp clinic specialising in treatments for various hair and scalp conditions. Our team of experts are trained in scalp nourishment and hair restoration methods. Book a consultation with TrichoLab today.

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