Hello, I’m Dr. Neal Schultz [pause] and welcome to DermTV. How do you fix a dry, flaky, itchy scalp?
Very simply, just shampoo it. What do flakes represent, whether they’re
on your face or on your scalp? Flakes represent large clumps of dead cells.
Normally, as your skin matures, and the dead cells fall off, they
fall off in very tiny, microscopic cells. You can’t see them. But
when they come off prematurely, before they have a chance to separate one
from the other, then they come off in clumps, and these clumps are recognized
as flakes. And flaking is actually usually caused by inflammation, not
by dryness, so what does flaking from the scalp represent? It’s actually
dandruff, and dandruff is the result of inflammation from excess oil.
The excess oil on the bottom of the scalp causes inflammation and that results
in a little bit of redness, a little bit of swelling, and actually the
skin is then shed prematurely in these flakes. How do we control this inflammation
and the oil imbalance? Very simply, by shampooing. Start with your
regular shampoo. Shampoo every day. Lather up for a minute, rinse it out.
Lather up for another minute. And don’t be concerned that you’re going
to cause dryness in your scalp because the flaking that you see, it’s not
dryness, it’s really inflammation. If your regular shampoo doesn’t
do the trick after about two weeks, then try a medicated shampoo. There
are many over-the-counter medicated shampoos that work. They are aesthetically
elegant. They often contain either tar, salicylic acid, selenium
or zinc. Again, give them two weeks and, if that doesn’t solve your problem
of dry, flaking or itching in your scalp, it’s time to see your dermatologist
who will prescribe topical medications to control your problem.
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