A flaking scalp is a natural process of old skin cells falling off as new skin cells form. Sometimes this natural process takes place faster than it should because of an excess amount of bacteria or fungi living on the skin.

Some flakes can be hard to remove off the scalp because of certain types of scalp conditions. If you have stubborn flakes that are not easy to remove with anti-dandruff shampoo, you may need to see a board certified dermatologist or a trichologist. You do not want to spend money on products that may not work for your scalp condition. Get diagnosed first before you try to treat the problem.

Read more: 7 Types of Scalp Disorders, and How to Tell If You Have One


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Easy to remove flakes

When the scalp flakes off dead skin cells it is called dandruff. All of us experience dandruff of the scalp. Normal dandruff is easy to remove by cleansing consistently. Once the scalp is cleansed properly the flakes should wash away and you will know when it is time to shampoo again when old skin cells start to fall again. Your scalp may itch and feel tight. These symptoms can be treated by using a cleanser like Nioxin Scalp Recovery Cleanser. This shampoo has 1% pyrithione zinc to help fight fungus and bacteria and green tea polyphenols for added moisture and soothing properties. Nioxin Scalp Recovery Cleanser has peppermint oil, which reduces itch and soothes tender dry scalp.

Hard to remove flakes

Flakes like those that result from scalp psoriasis can be harder to remove. Sometimes flakes associated with scalp psoriasis tend to pile up on the scalp forming hard, dry patches on the scalp. The flakes are gray or silver in color. You may feel the need to pick the flakes off the patches, but picking the patches can cause hair loss, bleeding, tender scalp, and more scaling. According to psoriasis.org, “Psoriasis can range from very mild with slight fine scaling, or to severe with thick crusted plaques covering the whole scalp.” If your flakes are stubborn, you can try softening your flakes and alleviating the symptoms associated with psoriasis with a pre- shampoo treatment:

  • 1 Tbsp. of jojoba oil to reduce inflammation
  • 3 drops of tea tree oil for anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties
  • 3 drops of clary sage to exfoliate the scalp
  • 3 drops of lavender for regulating oily and dry scalp conditions

Mix all the ingredients in a dark, glass spray bottle, spray directly on dry, patchy, and flaky areas of your scalp, and gently massage the oil mixture into your scalp. Leave on for 30 min. using a hot towel wrapped around your head or sit under a steamer for 30 min. After the scalp treatment you can rinse your hair and shampoo with Jason Normalizing Tea Tree Treatment Shampoo, which has calendula, hops, and sage extracts to soothe the scalp and combat itchiness and tight skin. After shampooing your hair, you can condition and style as normal.

Dry scalp flakes

Dry scalp is caused by the pH of the scalp being off balance due to the weather, product buildup, and an allergic reaction to ingredients in hair products. Dry scalp is the shedding of the epidermis and causes the scalp to feel tight, irritated, and dry. Here is a pre-shampoo for dry scalps:

  • • 1 tsp. avocado oil aids in softening the skin
  • • 2 -3 drops of sandalwood oil helps to moisturize the scalp.

Oily scalp flakes

Flakes from an oily scalp are present when you have a scalp condition called seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the scalp and skin. The flakes are greasy, have a yellow color, and are not has thick as the scales of psoriasis. Here is a pre-shampoo scalp treatment for oily scalp:

  • • 1 tsp. of aloe vera oil to heal the skin and can help with scalp irritation
  • • 3 drops of lemon oil to help control sebum production, balancing the pH of the scalp

Read more: Best Drugstore Shampoo Guide for Your Scalp Condition

What type of scalp treatment have you used for your scalp condition?  Did the scalp treatment help?