If you have been exploring natural remedies for a while you have probably heard of coconut oil as a conditioning treatment, but did you know you can use it to treat your scalp as well? If you are dealing with a flaky or dry scalp, applying coconut oil to your scalp can help alleviate the irritation and moisturise the scalp. In this comprehensive guide, we'll not only explore how coconut oil can effectively address the discomfort of a dry scalp but also provide you with step-by-step instructions on its application and share insights into the potential side effects and common FAQs surrounding this natural home remedy.
What Causes Dry Scalp?
Identifying the root cause of dry scalps is essential as it can be influenced by a variety of factors such as environmental conditions, excessive use of hair products, and underlying skin conditions, all contributing to discomfort and itchiness. Before we delve into the wonders coconut oil does for dry and flakey scalps, let’s first pinpoint the underlying causes:
Lack of moisture
Not having enough moisture and natural oils on your skin can lead to a dry scalp. This can be due to over-washing your hair and not allowing it enough time between washes to regulate its natural sebum production. Additionally, using hot water can also cause a lack of moisture so always wash with lukewarm water if you can.
Cold weather can be harsh and drying for your scalp, however, it is an easy fix by using coconut oil. This natural remedy nourishes and restores moisture back to your scalp.
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Harsh hair products
Using products with harsh drying alcohols and sulphates can significantly contribute to scalp dryness, leading to a sensitive scalp. To keep your scalp happy and healthy, choose sulphate-free, organic hair products that won’t strip away your natural moisture.
Fungal overgrowth, as seen in conditions like dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis can cause dryness and itching. Identifying the underlying cause will help you tailor your treatment effectively.
Is Coconut Oil Good for Dry Scalp?
Whether you are dealing with an itchy scalp or dandruff, coconut oil is an easy and natural remedy you can use at home. It works well as a scalp treatment due to its many beneficial properties such as:
Coconut oil has a high-fat content which deeply nourishes your scalp with fatty acids that soak into your scalp and help to soothe and alleviate any dryness.
When you apply coconut oil to your scalp it creates a protective barrier, blocking harmful bacteria and irritants from further aggravating your scalp. It also acts as a protective barrier against environmental stressors such as humid environments or UV. This barrier helps to lock in moisture and prevent further moisture loss.
Coconut oil contains natural anti-inflammatory compounds that soothe itching and irritation when applied to the scalp.
Lauric acid, one of the key components of coconut oil, is known for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This fatty acid helps to restore balance back into your scalp and reduce fungal overgrowth.
Natural and chemical-free treatment
Coconut oil makes an excellent natural remedy for those who have sensitive skin and don’t want to use chemical products to treat their itchy scalp. When selecting a coconut oil, opt for one that has been cold-pressed or certified organic as these oils have undergone the least amount of processing, locking in all the juicy nutrients and fatty acids this wonder oil has to offer.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Dry Scalp? Step-by-step Instructions
1. Preparing your hair and scalp
First things first, starting with dry hair gently brush your hair to remove any tangles, you then want to part your hair into sections to make it easier to apply. If you have curly or wavy hair we recommend using a wide-toothed comb as it will help you detangle your hair without disrupting your natural curl pattern.
2. Applying coconut oil
Warm a small amount of coconut oil in your hands until it becomes liquid. Massage the oil gently into your scalp using circular motions, working through each section of hair. Make sure you cover the entire scalp.
3. Letting it soak
To maximise the benefits of coconut oil for dry scalps, you'll want to leave the coconut oil on for at least 30 minutes or overnight for deeper conditioning. If you opt for an overnight treatment, protect your pillow and hair by using a hair towel to prevent oil staining and unnecessary friction.
4. Washing your hair
Gently wash your hair out as normal using an anti-dandruff shampoo or sulphate-free shampoo designed to treat dry and itchy scalps once you have left coconut oil on for the desired amount of time.
Potential Side Effects of Using Coconut Oil for Dry Scalp
While using coconut oil for dry scalps is generally safe, everyone is going to react differently so it is recommended that you do a patch test before applying it to your scalp. For some, it has been reported to cause allergic reactions such as irritation and itchiness. As such, it is important to first identify what the cause of your dry scalp is as coconut oil may cause an overgrowth of yeast which could lead to the opposite desired effect. The amount and frequency your scalp tolerates could also vary so it is good to give your scalp rests in between treatments and make sure you thoroughly wash it out post-treatment. If you are finding that you are reacting negatively to coconut oil as a scalp treatment, you can use a scalp tonic to treat dandruff and alleviate your dry scalp.
Common FAQs about Using Coconut Oil for Dry Scalp
How often should you use coconut oil for a dry scalp?
Coconut oil can be used for a dry scalp as often as needed, however once a week is generally a sufficient amount. A good rule of thumb is to see how your scalp reacts and adjust the frequency accordingly.
How long should I leave coconut oil on my scalp?
For coconut oil to begin to work its wonders you need to leave it on for 30 minutes at least or overnight for a more intensive treatment.
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Should I leave coconut oil on my scalp overnight?
As mentioned, you can leave coconut oil on your scalp overnight. This way, your hair can soak up all the good nutrients, resulting in more hydrated and nourished hair the next day. However, this is not recommended for those with oily skin and hair.
Should I put coconut oil directly on my scalp?
Yes, coconut oil should be applied directly to your scalp to target dryness and irritation. You can also distribute it throughout your hair to target dryness as a deep conditioning treatment.