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Expert Advice: ‘My Scalp Has Been So Dry. Would Diet Changes Help?’

Certain foods encourage hydration and healthy skin.


Do the winter months always leave you scratching your head? A dry scalp isn’t easy to take care of, especially if oils and creams make it feel greasy until your next shower. However, letting your scalp flake without treating it at all will only make it dryer and less healthy. Just like any other part of your body, the skin on your head needs moisture to heal and create a protective boundary against the winter elements. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution: a diet change. Below, our nutrition experts explain this idea in depth.

Meet our expert panel.

Nutrition experts Mira Calton, CN, and Jayson Calton, PhD, are leading authorities on nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. They are also the bestselling authors of Rebuild Your Bones: The 12-Week Osteoporosis Protocol. To ask them a question, send an email to

Making Dietary Changes for a Dry Scalp

Q: Lately, my scalp has been so dry, and it seems like I’ve been losing more hair because of it. I’ve tried hair products, but they haven’t made much of a difference — are there any diet changes that can help?

A: A dry scalp can be itchy, and scratching can damage follicles, which can lead to thinning and even hair loss. To heal your scalp, we recommend adding fatty fish like salmon to your shopping list. It’s a top source of omega-3 fatty acids that help regulate your skin’s oil production and can also help seal in moisture. Not a fish fan? In one study, women who consumed ½ a teaspoon of omega-3–rich flax oil daily for 12 weeks had a significant increase in skin hydration compared to women who were given a placebo.

Other nutrients that help hydrate skin include vitamins A and C. A retinoid proven to help keep skin supple, vitamin A is plentiful in sweet potatoes and other red and orange vegetables. And vitamin C, which is found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, and potatoes, is another key to skin health because of its role in producing skin-strengthening collagen.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First for Women.

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