Dry hairHair - dry
Dry hair is hair that does not have enough moisture and oil to maintain its normal sheen and texture.
Some causes of dry hair are:
- Excessive hair washing, or using harsh soaps or alcohols
- Excessive blow-drying
- Dry air due to the climate
- Menkes kinky hair syndrome
- Underactive parathyroid (hypoparathyroidism)
- Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Other hormone abnormalities
At home you should:
- Shampoo less frequently, perhaps only once or twice a week
- Use gentle shampoos that are sulfate free
- Add conditioners
- Avoid blow drying and harsh styling products
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if:
- Your hair does not improve with gentle treatment
- You have hair loss or breaking hairs
- You have any other unexplained symptoms
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your doctor will perform a physical examination and may ask the following questions:
- Has your hair always been slightly dry?
- When did the unusual hair dryness first start?
- Is it always present, or is it off and on?
- What are your eating habits?
- What kind of shampoo do you use?
- How often do you wash your hair?
- Do you use a conditioner? What type?
- How do you normally style your hair?
- Do you use a hair dryer? What type? How often?
- What other symptoms are also present?
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:
- Examination of the hair under a microscope
- Blood tests
- Scalp biopsy
American Academy of Dermatology website. Tips for healthy hair. www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/hair-care/tips-for-healthy-hair. Accessed December 17, 2018.
Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW. Skin, hair, and nails. In: Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW, eds. Seidel's Guide to Physical Examination. 9th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2019:chap 9.
Habif TP. Hair diseases. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 24.
Review Date: 10/8/2018
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.