Hydrate Your Head

What’s the best dry scalp shampoo? If you’ve got a flaky head, a scratchy skull, or an inflamed cranium, you know how maddening dry scalp is. It’s itchy and irritating. It can lead to dandruff (seborrhea dermatitis), white flakes that are unsightly and embarrassing. Heck, it might even aggravate hair loss! (Click here to read about oil for hair growth.) You need a psoriasis treatment.

Dry Scalp's Best Friend

Your number-one ally in the fight against an itchy head is your shampoo. It’s like your first line of defense. Here are the most common shampoos for dry scalp, in order from the gentlest to the most powerful:

  • Pyrithione zinc (Head & Shoulders) 
  • Selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue)
  • Salicylic acid and sulfur (T-Sal) 
  • Coal-tar preparations (Neutrogena T/Gel)
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)

The first thing to remember is that you have to actually use the shampoo! Not washing your hair often enough can aggravate dry scalp and dandruff. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’ve got a dry scalp, you should be using conditioner along with your shampoo. Many of the shampoos I’ve listed above have a companion conditioner; try to get a match if you can (so, if you’re using Head & Shoulders shampoo, use Head & Shoulders conditioner). If you can’t find a match, then just go for a conditioner that moisturizes and hydrates.

A Caveat

But, with that in mind, don’t wash it too much, or else you risk drying out your scalp even more by washing away your skin’s natural oils (sebum). Also, when you wash your hair, use warm water but not hot water. (Hot water will wash away sebum more quickly and leave you even drier than before.)

Winter Dry Skin

Dry scalp is usually worst during winter. Due to the weather and our heaters, the air is cold and dry. So, if winter is on the horizon, you might want to get one of these shampoos and start using it early, to stop the problem before it starts. They're the best psoriasis treatment out there.

I recommend starting with the gentle shampoos, and working your way up to the stronger stuff if they don’t work. The key idea here is the minimum effective dose. Ketoconazole is a very effective ingredient, but using it too much can aggravate your scalp; so, don’t resort to it until you’re sure that the other ingredients don’t work. If you get to Nizoral and it still doesn’t do it for you, keep in mind that there’s a more powerful prescription version (over-the-counter Nizoral is 1% ketoconazole; the prescription version is 2%).

Another Tip

Another option to help hydrate your head is to add some oil to your scalp after showering. If you aren’t getting the results you want from shampoo, I really recommend this; combining the right shampoo and the right oil is an almost guaranteed psoriasis treatment. See my article on jojoba oil for hair to learn how to do this.