Home Skin CareSkin health Scalp flaking: causes, treatment and home remedies

Scalp flaking: causes, treatment and home remedies

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The scalp is one of the most sensitive areas of our skin; it presents various problems that can lead to dryness, irritation, seborrhea, and flaking. A fungal infection, excessive exposure to the sun, the application of irritating products, or more complicated diseases, such as Parkinson’s, can manifest themselves in this way.

We invite you to continue reading this FastlyHealarticle, in which you will discover the possible causes of scalp flaking, its medical treatment, and the home remedies that you can use.

Causes of flaking scalp

The possible causes of flaking on the scalp are varied. Different diseases can cause the skin in this area to dry out, redden, or even hurt. The formation of scabs usually happens because the skin is replaced quickly and does not allow time for a natural peeling, which should be imperceptible.

Among the reasons that can cause flaking of the scalp are:

Allergy eczema

Allergy sufferers are more likely to have exaggerated reactions to the application of products than others who do not generate the slightest discomfort. Dyes, shampoo, soaps, and lotions, among others, can be the cause.

Use of irritating products

Shampoo, conditioners, styling creams, dyes …, in short, any product applied to the scalp can irritate, especially on delicate skin. It is usually seen already in the first applications of a new product.

Wash hair with boiling water

The high temperature of the water is quite an essential factor in the flaking of the skin of the scalp. The skin becomes irritated, dry, or sore, producing an accelerated turnover, which gives rise to scales.

Dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis

Also called seborrhea, it is the appearance of itchy reddish lesions covered with scales on the scalp; it can also occur on the face. It has been linked to a fungus called Malassezia furfur. It can be increased in stressful situations, low defenses, or diseases like Parkinson’s.

You can see more information in the Seborrheic dermatitis article: causes, symptoms, and treatment.

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When a fungus infects the scalp, flaking and itching, hair can also be lost in those areas, leaving bald patches. Also, very inflamed, and the suppurative regions can be generated. The cause is usually a fungus called Trichophyton, but the one caused by Malassezia can also be called ringworm.

Cold weather

If the problem appears, especially during the winter season, the cause may be the cold itself or the heating. This can cause dryness and flaking of the scalp or other body areas.

Excessive exposure to heat

Prolonged exposure to the sun or using a hairdryer at high temperatures can cause injury to the scalp. Redness of the skin, burning, and peeling may appear.


This inflammatory disease manifests itself with redness and peeling of different areas of the skin. Most people with psoriasis have this scalp flaking, which can be more or less severe. It usually occurs in outbreaks; in some moments, the problem is well visible, with itching and discomfort, and at other times it is not.


The infection of the hair follicles can appear as small red bumps that, when injured, give space to the formation of scabs, which can appear to be flaking. The scalp is usually painful, and there may be drainage from the affected area. In case of low defenses, the infection can be aggravated.


Anxiety and stress can be triggers for multiple diseases. If you have a predisposition, such as oily or overly dry skin, seborrheic dermatitis, or psoriasis, your skin may flake more when under stress.

Nutritional deficiencies

An unhealthy diet can lead to a lack of essential nutrients. If your diet is poor in vitamins A and B, essential fats, proteins, or minerals, you can suffer from dryness and flaking of the skin and scalp.


Head lice itself does not cause scaling, but if the itching is severe and scratching lesions have occurred, scaling of the skin of the scalp may appear.

Medical treatment for flaking scalp

When you go to the professional consultation, the first and most important thing will be to determine the cause of the flaking. As we have seen, these are numerous, and some have a reasonably specific treatment:

  • As a first measure, you should wash your hair with neutral and hypoallergenic products; you can opt for white or glycerin soap; the most important thing is to avoid perfumes and other irritants.
  • Suppose your problem has to do with exposure to excessive heat or cold. In that case, it is essential to condition your habits not to irritate your skin: cover your head, be careful with the water temperature when washing, and do not overdo the heating.
  • Various cream medications can be applied; your choice will depend on the cause of the desquamation: corticosteroids, antibiotics, antifungals.
  • If the allergy is very intense, sometimes antiallergic drugs or oral corticosteroids may be indicated. Likewise, antibiotics can be used by mouth if there is an advanced infection.
  • There are multiple medicated shampoos for chronic problems, such as psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis. They may contain salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, corticosteroids, urea, antifungals, and zinc.
  • If lice are present, they can be eliminated with special lotions or shampoos sold without a prescription in pharmacies.

Home remedies for flaking scalp

Natural products are an excellent alternative to improve the flaking of the scalp, but again, it is essential to know what is causing the flaking.

  • A good practice if you suffer from dryness is hydration. In allergies, psoriasis, and exposure to cold or heat, you can resort to natural oils, such as coconut, chamomile, almond, and olive. They will improve dryness and prevent skin from peeling so quickly.
  • If, instead, the skin of the scalp is somewhat oily, or you suffer from seborrheic dermatitis, you can see the benefit by using an infusion of sage. You can use it to wash your hair; you will notice the difference with its continued use.
  • There is another alternative, very effective, by the way, but with a somewhat strong smell. We are talking about onion, which is fantastic for solving many of the disorders that cause flaking: dandruff, fungi, and infections. You can rub it directly or use its juice applied to the scalp.
  • The lemon juice is also healthy cash in case of seborrhea and dandruff; it is applied daily directly onto the scalp. In the following article, you can see more Home remedies to remove dandruff.
  • An infusion of nettles has many benefits for hair, not only reduces dandruff but also promotes hair growth.

This article is merely informative; at FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Scalp flaking: causes, treatment, and home remedies, we recommend entering our Skin, hair, and nails category.

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