Beauty & Skincare
Comments 9

Why + How Dry Shampoo Could Be Damaging Your Hair (and Scalp)

There were a number of ways that I wanted to title this. In part, this is a celebratory post because I’ve noticed just how comfortable my hair and scalp has been feeling. It has taken many months – maybe even a year – but I’m feeling better than ever.

If you haven’t been following you can read my initial post, Why I Stopped Using Dry Shampoo.

There, I tell you a brief history about my hair, and then the problems that I encountered when I started to use dry shampoo which led to my hair and scalp issues. I was happy to have shared the post because I didn’t realise just how impactful it’d be and truthfully, it was nice to know I wasn’t the only one suffering. So please, I urge you to read it especially if you do use dry shampoo – you might just be saving your hair and scalp from all the problems that I had.

Note: You should ought to read this article too.

Shortly after discovering how much my issues have healed over time, I actually did a Google search. I started to type in “Is dry shampoo…” and before long, the first suggestion was “…bad for you“. It was then clear to me that it’s not an uncommon problem yet it still left me baffled because I don’t hear enough people challenge dry shampoo, something that is so popularly praised in this day and age. You could even say that I am even more surprised that there isn’t an epidemic hitting much of the female population due to this one product. I wonder how long that will last though; and whilst I perfectly understand that people react to products differently, there is a wider problem at hand that’s not addressed as much as it should be. Just why are we putting off washing our hair for this one product? It’s the dependency that’s worrying.

I read the article which ranked 2nd in the Google search, and I related to it so much – it was ridiculous. All the bad symptoms that the article mentioned, I managed to mentally tick off in my head. In some way it was a relief to put a name to all the symptoms since even as a psoriasis/eczema sufferer, I didn’t know what was going on. It was my stickiest situation yet (the irony), and not knowing just made me more stressed as a result which for anyone who suffers from chronic skin problems, know is a huge trigger.

Sometimes the bottom of my scalp would be unusually itchy and incredibly red. It’d spread a bit outside of this scalp area and although I rarely tie my hair up anyway, I was mortified at the idea of it. These patches would eventually dry up and flake – and I think because of this flakiness, it made my hair look like there was dandruff. My hair and scalp was very unbalanced… I’d have a dry scalp but persistently greasy hair where the flakes stuck and as someone with very black hair, that’s awful. Needless to say, my confidence hit a new low at that point in my life.

Some weeks were better than others.

One week, the patches would be very dry and it’d feel thick. Other weeks, if I had managed to moisturise the layers then the thickness would go down and it’d just be a scaly patch though perhaps a bit red. At its best, the redness would subside and you wouldn’t necessarily notice the patch unless you really looked at which point, you’d notice some uneven skin tone. The problem was that it never truly went and it was this long vicious cycle for months on end…dry patch, red patch, no patch and back it comes again. My stress levels on a graph would probably be a row of sharp mountain peaks which meant no fun.

Now, you might be asking why didn’t you go to see a doctor? Or why didn’t you tell anyone? My answer to the first question would be, although I think the NHS are amazing for what they do, I feel that many are not medically trained to understand skin issues particularly the more serious cases. I wasn’t even diagnosed with psoriasis – just a “serious form” of eczema/dermatitis where I was prescribed some medication and creams that contained paraffinum liquidum. (FYI – the medication made me feel very ill for the week that I took it so that’s definitely NOT an option.) Instead, I had to self-diagnose myself to better understand my skin condition(s) through lots of research and googling…and now I’m here.

My answer to the second question would be, that even prior to this scalp/hair issue caused by dry shampoo, I had been very discreet of my suffering from psoriasis all throughout these years. It’s only been through this blog where I’ve been a lot more vocal. My closest friends know I have some skin issues but still, they do not know to what extent. I remember some months ago, I had tried to talk about how dry shampoo had caused problems for me to a friend but unfortunately I got blanked. I sought help through persistence, hope, trial and error instead because no one was listening or when they did, no one could understand.

Lately, I have resorted to lots of different methods and whilst I can’t advocate that any one method is a magic cure – because there is no such thing, I definitely found the balance I needed to get my scalp, hair and even skin, back to how it was. I shall share my real skincare secrets next because teenage me would’ve loved to have known. Just know that if you’re in a similar position, that there is hope.

A longer post today than I anticipated. It’s actually one thing off my bucket list since I had wanted to be vocal about the skin issues that I have faced and continue to face. I would love to write my psoriasis story next from the beginning as well as a product recommendation post exclusively for chronic skin problems. I am absolutely positive that there is an audience for this – sometimes, I think we are our own best skin doctors but first, let’s make the effort to understand it.

And you? Do you have a story similar to mine? Feel free to share!

You can find me on:

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  1. Thankfully I haven’t experienced any major skin problems from using dry shampoo, but I’m glad you wrote about the issue as I had no idea about it’s negative effects. I stopped using dry shampoo maybe 1 & a half years ago, but that’s just because it’s not as easily available or affordable in Korea than it is in the UK. This week I was considering to purchase some for convenience… But maybe its good if I continue to cut it out of my routine. Thanks again for the info x

    • Thank you for your response!

      That is quite interesting to know! I’ve just come back from Hong Kong and it’s not a thing there to use dry shampoo either – besides I think the climate would be too humid for it. Are you studying in Korea?

      My hair is actually not as oily as it once used to be and I am quite happy with my 2nd-day-hair lately so it must not be that bad. I think using dry shampoo is like giving yourself some bad psychology and that your hair needs fixing.

  2. I use to love dry shampoo years ago. My hair gets greasy very quicky and around 5 years ago, it was really trendy to have volumious, backcombed hair. So I’d use dry shampoo to give me that effect.
    Anyway, I started to hate how dirty it would make my hair brushes. I also use to get these white flakes which I think was due to not properly being able to wash out. I felt I had to use shampoo twice and really scrub for ages in the shower. Now I wash my hair every night without blowdrying. People always say it’s bad but my hair always looks better this way. Thank you for sharing this. With regards to the NHS, I’ve had a very hit and miss experience with them. I went to an NHS dermatologist for my acne and she gave me these tablets which made me really ill, but she didn’t believe me. Then I went to another one and they were fantastic. x

    • Oh gosh, I remember the voluminous, backcombed hair trend haha!
      I would agree with you there 100% that the stuff makes your hair brushes so dirty! I’ve been monitoring how dirty my brushes get on a normal daily basis and it does get dusty over time. But with dry shampoo, this process quickens and the brush gets even more unnecessarily dirty that I get scared of using a brush.

      I wash mine every other day. The thing that has helped me the most in maintaining the hair that I want is in using a shampoo my hair agrees with every other day.

  3. I’ve never used dry shampoos just because I feel like they don’t work on me – my hair still feels and looks dirty even after using them, so why bother?

    I’m really sorry that you have to deal with psoriasis! Skin problems are SO frustrating, and part of the problem is that the cause is different for everyone. Acne, eczema, psoriasis, etc – everyone deals with them differently, and sometimes it takes years for someone to find something that will work for them.

    • I think it is rather difficult for us with darker hair (especially mine being black – is yours black too?) because if all goes wrong, it really shows.

      Skin problems truly are frustrating – even a skin doctor in Hong Kong said that it’s the hardest to cure because realistically, there is no particular cure – it’s more about control. I’m at a stage where I am able to control my condition. There are moments where I get reactions but I try to stay calm and just use the same methods that I found have worked for me. I’ll most likely write a post about this!

  4. There’s been so much hype on instagram about a dry shampoo marketed here in the Philippines. Good thing I didn’t join the bandwagon despite the fact that I am always too eager to try shortcuts on my daily hygiene and hair routine. I realized that our bodies are our treasures and there’s no other way than to take care of it as gently as possible.

    After reading your post, I am now more convinced that I won’t try the dry shampoo ever. I think it’s still best to clean our hair and scalp the natural or the usual and clinically-proven way.

  5. Pingback: My Current Hair Styling & Treatment Routine | Hoi Yin Li

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