Dry scalps are common for bald men and those with shaved heads, but with the right care you can get it under control.
In this guide, I’ll take you through the causes and solutions to a dry bald scalp.
Why should you trust this guide?
- Experience – I’ve been shaving my head for almost 20 years, and in that time I’ve had plenty of experience with a dry scalp
- Expertise – In that time, I’ve tried lots of solutions and products, and through research and a lot of trial and error, I’ve solved the issue on my own scalp
How do you get rid of a dry scalp on a bald head?
When you make the call to go bald (either by choice, or because your receding hairline nudged you in that direction) you’ll free yourself from a lot of problems around hair care and styling.
But you may have to adjust to a new hurdle – a bald dry scalp.
As a quick guide, the easiest way to fix a bald dry scalp is to moisturize it.
- Use a moisturizer designed for bald scalps
- If you prefer a natural solution, use scalp oils
- Avoid sunburn and shampoos containing sulfates
When you have a dry scalp, the skin can start to crack and flake. Your scalp won’t look as clean and healthy either – it’ll look faded, bumpier, and a little more leathery. Basically, a dry bald head can look a lot older than one which is properly cared for.
There are a lot of reasons why a scalp can dry out – and I’ll cover those later in this guide – but once it’s happened, you need to make sure you’ve eliminated or reduced the cause, and then start adding moisture back into the scalp to recover it.
When it comes to how to treat dry bald scalp issues, the easiest and most cost-effective option is a moisturizer.
But not just any moisturizer – you want to make sure you get one that’s suitable for your bald scalp. A lot of them contain harsh chemicals such as Propylene Glycol, which is a skin irritant, and others contain alcohol which can actively work as a drying agent for the skin.
Weird for a moisturizer, right?
You want to be looking for natural ingredients. Some good things to look out for are shea butter, which contains valuable vitamins, and hyaluronic acid, a natural lubricant. Beeswax moisturizer is another good option.
Good moisturizers also have some other properties:
- Fast-absorbing – a good moisturizer won’t leave your head feeling wet. They’ll instead be absorbed quickly into the skin, without any greasy residue. It’s always worth looking for a fast-absorbing moisturizer
- SPF – some moisturizers double up as sunscreen, giving protection against the sun’s rays. Considering how sunburn is one of the primary causes of a dry scalp bald head, these products are definitely worth considering. However, you may get better protection if you buy a separate moisturizer and high-SPF sunscreen.
Read more with my guide to the best bald head moisturizers or keep reading for my recommended products.
Why is my bald scalp so dry?
There are a few potential reasons for a dry scalp. It can be caused by environmental factors such as a hot shower or the sun’s rays, or it can be genetic. As you get older, skin (including your scalp) tends to dry out more easily, and some medical conditions can cause a dry scalp too.
Environmental factors cover everything around you that’s causing your scalp to dry out – anything external. One of the biggest culprits is the sun’s rays – when you’re tanning (or burning) your skin, you’re drying it out.
Sunburned skin is very dry and needs to be moisturized regularly to reinvigorate it. And your scalp is one of the easiest places to get sunburn since it’s closer to the sun and you often forget to cover it.
Strangely, hot showers can also cause dry skin on your scalp. It makes sense though, because your skin is kept moist through natural oils. Hot water helps to wash those oils away, and then when you dry your head you’re left without the water and the natural hydration of your skin oils.
Shaving is another environmental factor. It’s not the act of shaving, but any shaving foam you’re using. Yes, it’ll help to reduce irritation, but again it can remove the natural oils from your skin.
Some genetic factors can make you more susceptible to dry, flaky skin. Ichthyosis is a group of conditions that can cause red, dry skin that is usually inherited from parents, although there are forms of the condition which are acquired, and so not genetic.
It’s not something that can be cured usually, but you can manage it in the same way you would treat any other bald dry scalp, with a good moisturizer and by taking good care of your skin overall.
As we get older, our skin can start to develop dry patches. With age–related skin conditions, skin gets thinner and more moisture is lost, and it can impact how dry your scalp feels. It can certainly magnify other causes on this list as well.
If you’re an older bald person, it just means you need to be even more careful when caring for your scalp.
Sometimes a dry scalp is caused by a more serious medical condition. It could be psoriasis, a fungal infection, or something else entirely. You’ll know it’s likely to be a medical problem if you can’t identify a trigger from this guide and moisturizer alone doesn’t seem to resolve it.
If you have a dry scalp that looks inflamed, or that doesn’t seem to recover with regular moisturizer help, I’d suggest you speak to a doctor.
If you don’t want to use a moisturizer on your scalp, as you prefer something more natural, the best option is to use oils. Oils are hydrating, but they won’t offer any sun protection either, and some can leave more of an unnatural sheen on your head.
The best oil I’ve found is Jojoba Oil. It’s 100% organic and is packed with helpful vitamins and antioxidants that can help maintain the quality of the skin on your scalp.
How to avoid drying out your scalp
To avoid drying out a scalp, you should make sure you avoid shampoos with sulfates and avoid really hot showers. Protect your scalp against sunburn, and make sure you’re eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and cleaning your head properly.
You may already know that bald people use shampoo instead of soap to clean their heads – or at least they should. Soap will dry out the skin.
However, some shampoos will do the same. Those contain sulfates, which are a foaming agent. When cleaning hair this is a useful additive because it helps clean the whole body of your hair quickly.
But it has a dehydrating effect too, which is why you need to follow it up with conditioner. However, if you’re bald, just use a sulfate-free shampoo and you’ll get the same effect. There are even specialist bald head cleansers like C3 Head Wash, which I use:
C3 Head Wash
- Prevents dry, flaky skin and/or oily skin
- Hydrates and restores balance to skin
- Sulfate and paraben-free
- Safe for you and the environment
- Certified cruelty-free, never tested on animals, vegan
- Made in USA
There are other reasons to keep that scalp clean. Dermatitis neglecta is a skin condition that causes irritation and dryness when the affected area has poor hygiene. It usually affects hard-to-reach places but if you’re not looking after your scalp, it can cause problems there too.
As I say, hot showers are one of the main causes of dry skin. If you can’t do without a hot shower, just make sure that you’re moisturizing as soon as you’re done.
I would tell you to avoid getting sunburn on your head, but I’d hope that was obvious regardless. Still, if it isn’t – don’t let your head get sunburned. It’s dangerous in the long term.
You also need to make sure you’re getting enough vitamins A and D, zinc and iron to maintain a healthy complexion and hydrated skin. Water’s important too – you can’t hydrate your skin if your whole body is dehydrated. Look at your diet and your water intake, to see if they can be improved.
Follow all these tips and you should be able to keep that bald head of yours hydrated and prevent dry skin from becoming a recurring problem.
What is the best moisturizer for dry bald heads?
The best moisturizer for dry bald heads is Bee Bald Smooth Plus Daily Moisturizer. It’s a refreshing, moisturizing lotion with SPF30 included. And it’s super-fast absorbing, leaving your scalp feeling healthy and hydrated within seconds, and no residue left behind.
Bee Bald Smooth Plus Daily Moisturizer
- Protects from harmful UVA/UVB Rays
- Tones, hydrates and moisturizes skin
- Smooths fine lines, wrinkles and dry patches
- Helps reduce shine and control oily secretions
I use this moisturizer whenever the sun is out as it includes SPF, so I don’t have to worry about getting a sunburn on my bald head.
On more cloudy days, I prefer to use The Bald Brothers’ Bald Boss moisturizer as I’m slightly obsessed with the citrusy smell. If you click the link below to the official site and use the code HAPPY20 at checkout, you’ll get 20% off:
Bald Boss Moisturizer
The Bald Brothers
- 20% off with code HAPPY20
- Softens and moistens your bald head
- Hydrates your dried-out scalp
- Made with natural ingredients
It has everything I want in a moisturizer, but no SPF protection so it’s no good for sunny weather.
I’ve been using this moisturizer every day and I think it’s great. The citrus scent is refreshing and zingy, and it works really well at making my scalp feel more comfortable after a shower or a shave.
It’s made in the UK, but shipping is available to the US as well. And it’s completely vegan, which is a nice bonus if you’re trying to minimize your impact on the animal kingdom.
For some people, a dry bald head will never completely go away. It will be somewhat recurring, but manageable if you make sure to keep it hydrated and you minimize the impact of environmental factors.
I’d definitely recommend that Bald Boss moisturizer – it’s never let me down yet and of all the moisturizers I’ve tried (which is quite the list), it just seems to work the best.
And just be careful to seek proper medical help if it doesn’t seem to be something that’s improving with moisturizer or oil.
Do you suffer from a dry scalp? What have you done to fix it? Let me know in the comments below.
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