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How Cold Winter Temperatures Can Affect Your Scalp Health

Written by Robbie Salter
How Cold Winter Temperatures Can Affect Your Scalp Health

There are many great things we associate with winter; the holidays, family time, and beautiful snowy weather. But winter is also prime time for dandruff and flaky scalp. From the visible flakes falling from your head, to the constant itching, poor scalp health is something that we would all rather avoid. While dry scalp in winter is no winter wonderland, there are plenty of ways you can help your scalp. So let’s discuss why it happens and what you can do to fight it.

What is Dandruff?

Before we get into how winter specifically affects your scalp health, let's start off with the basics. 

Dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis, is the flaking that results from irritation of the scalp. Dandruff can result from a dry scalp or it may be associated with an underlying condition. Some of the common culprits include eczema and dermatitis. While seeing flakes accumulate on your shoulders and around your hair might be unsettling or even embarrassing at first, it is extremely common.

If you are experiencing dandruff, you will notice some flaking skin cells and an itchy scalp. It’s pretty straightforward. The cause however is not. Scientists believe it is triggered by an overgrowth of the yeast known as Malassezia, but they are not entirely sure. 

For many, dandruff and dryness tend to get worse in the winter months. Below we explore some of the main reasons your scalp needs a little extra hydrating TLC as the temperatures start to dip. 

Why Your Scalp May Struggle in Winter Months

If your scalp is having a bad time in the cold winter weather, you’re not alone. People often associate the winter with dry skin and dandruff. If you’ve ever wondered why the winter is worse for your scalp’s health, here’s all that you need to know.

Cold Winter Air Lacks the Moisture That Your Scalp Needs

The cold temperatures we experience in winter months can cause the air to be dry and damaging to your skin, and that includes your scalp. At higher temperatures, water molecules are more likely to convert into vapor, so there will be more water vapor in the air. Without that vapor, dry and cold winter air can dry out your scalp. When your scalp is dry, you may start to notice dandruff flakes, itching, and irritation. And while the cold dry air can harm your scalp, the air indoors might not be any better, but more on that later. 

Winter Hats Create a Perfect Environment for Dandruff

While winter hats can keep us feeling warm and comfortable during the harsh cold weather, they aren’t great for your scalp. When you wear a winter hat, you create an environment around your head that can lead to dead skin cells and dandruff. Under your winter hat, it is warm and humid, which can allow dandruff to thrive. 

You shouldn’t ditch the winter hat though. First off, it’s important for you to regularly wash your winter hat (or wear an anti-microbial hat) to rid it of any dandruff causing buildup (excess oil, fungus, hair products, etc.). Furthermore, you can easily manage dandruff and maintain healthy looking hair with a moisturizing antifungal dandruff shampoo formulated with Zinc Pyrithione to effectively and safely treat flaking, and hair care products like scalp and hair masks with naturally-derived ingredients such as coconut oil, tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and aloe vera that keep your scalp soothed and moisturized. Instead of resorting to home remedies like a DIY scalp scrub to treat your scalp issues, make sure you're looking for dermatologist-tested moisturizing shampoos and styling products to make sure your hair is getting the hydration it needs.

The cold temperatures we experience in winter months can cause the air to be dry and damaging to your skin, and that includes your scalp.

Hot Showers Are Nice in The Cold, But Not Nice to Your Scalp

We all love a nice hot shower, especially during the winter months. Sadly, hot showers can be damaging to our skin and scalp. The hot water in your shower damages the keratin cells that are found within the outer layer of your skin. With damage done to the outer layer of your skin, it becomes harder for the cells to hold in moisture. This is what can ultimately dry out your scalp and make your winter dandruff worse. 

So while it may feel good in the moment, just remember that rinsing your hair and scalp in a hot shower can make you more susceptible to dandruff. Try to keep your showers a lukewarm temperature, so you can avoid damaging your skin and your scalp, and avoid causing your dandruff to flare up. You might even try ending your shower with a cool scalp rinse which is helpful in calming your scalp and promoting healthy looking hair.

Dry Indoor Heating Amplifies the Winter Dandruff Problem

When we get later into the fall months and into winter, many of us fire up the indoor heating in our homes. Indoor heating systems generate dry air throughout your home, which at this point we know isn’t good for your scalp. This, coupled with the cold air outside that is also lacking in moisture, can be a perfect storm for scalp health. Using a humidifier in your home can help add moisture to dry heated air to help combat the effects.

Try a Dandruff and Scalp Care System

Luckily, dandruff can be easily managed, so you don’t have to go through the winter months with flakes and itchiness. Jupiter is a specially formulated line of dandruff and scalp care products that are luxe, effective, and formulated with the very best ingredients for your scalp and hair health. 

The star ingredient in our Balancing Shampoo and Restoring Serum is Zinc Pyrithione, a scientifically proven ingredient that gets to the root of flaking. Paired with our Nourishing Conditioner that is packed with natural ingredients to moisturize and soothe your scalp and hair, you can easily combat any scalp discomfort this winter. 

When taking on dandruff, remember that consistency is key. That’s why we offer subscriptions, to ensure you have the best in dandruff and scalp care exactly when you need it. Take our quiz to find the customized set of products for your scalp.

Advanced Oil Control Trio
Advanced Oil Control Trio

The award-winning medicated Shampoo and Serum target your flaking, and the Conditioner keeps your locks bouncy and beautiful. Safe for everyday use. Consider the Oil Control + Exfoliation Set if you're looking for maximum control and comfort.

Travelling? Check out our Weekender Capsules for on-the-go scalp care.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about the information contained herein, as well as the risks or benefits of any treatment.