Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

White Flaky Stuff, Knots and Snarls

Q: What can I use to stop build up on my scalp? I have patches of white flaky stuff that covers the crown of my hairline. I get this every winter and have used dandruff shampoo but it does nothing. Also, my hair length is down to my shoulders and is always snarled. I could brush my hair and have a bunch of knots/snarls within minutes. What can I do to prevent this? Do you think a shorter haircut would help with the snarls? Thank you for your time answering a few of my questions.
A: What you are experiencing is most likely dry scalp, and is a common condition for people who live in colder climates or during winter months. It is caused by the frequent shift from cold to heated environments, and by the fact that most heating sources used in the winter leech moisture from the air leaving it dry. The shift from cold to warm, dry air wicks away the moisture in your skin and scalp. This is also likely contributing to your hair snarling problem, because the hair can get dried out by the environment you live in just the same as the skin.
My initial recommendation is to try a "dry scalp" formula shampoo, as opposed to a dandruff shampoo (dandruff is caused by bacteria, and the ingredients in dandruff shampoo are designed to kill the bacteria, but not necessarily treat dry scalp). Be sure to follow the shampoo with a moisture-rich conditioner to re-hydrate the hair.
To further deal with your dry scalp issues, use a natural bristle brush to stimulate the scalp and loosen the dry skin flakes. Carefully, brush the scalp from back to front, then front to back. Don't brush the hair too much, because over-brushing can be harmful to the hair and cause split ends.
To treat the snarls, be sure to use a leave-in conditioner/detangler on your hair when it is still damp after towel-drying and comb the hair with a wide-tooth comb. You also want to make certain to avoid roughing up the hair when drying it after shampooing/conditioning. Use a towel to pat the scalp and blot up the excess moisture, then squeeze the lengths of your hair in the towel to further blot the moisture away. You should never "rub" your hair using a towel. Doing so only roughs the cuticle layer and promotes tangling and snarls.
Trimming your hair will probably help with the snarling issue, because it will remove any split-ends and dead ends you may have - both of which can contribute to snarling. Just remember to treat your hair gently. For all its strength and elasticity, your hair is at its most vulnerable when it is wet.
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