By Christi­na of The Mane Objec­tive

Ear­lier this Sum­mer, I wrote a well-received arti­cle for Black Girl with Long Hair about scalp pso­ri­a­sis and reme­dies. The infor­ma­tion I wrote still very much holds true, but Win­ter weath­er adds a whooooole new dimen­sion to skin and hair care. We all know that Win­ter cold can be dry­ing to hair and skin, which is why we cozy up with thick but­ters and pro­tec­tive styles around Novem­ber. But for those of us with skin/scalp issues like Pso­ri­a­sis, Eczema and Dan­druff (or just gen­er­al dry scalp), cold air com­bined with decreased sun­light has the poten­tial to stir up a recipe for dis­as­ter.

When it comes to deal­ing with skin issues like Pso­ri­a­sis, there are two mod­es of attack — inter­nal and exter­nal. In this arti­cle, we will explore the exter­nal coun­ter-offen­sive that will help ward off and ease the pres­ence of patchy and flaky scalp as the tem­per­a­ture drops and the sun strays away. In Part II, we will get inter­nal (which I’m sure some of ya’ll won’t like). I won’t re-hash all the infor­ma­tion about what Pso­ri­a­sis is, what it does, and such. If you’re inter­est­ed in the back­ground sto­ry, click here.

Flake Fighter #1: Clean Scalp

I know, when you’re deal­ing with con­stant flak­ing and tight­ness on the scalp, keep­ing it clear sounds like one of those state­ments you roll your eyes at. Well duh Christi­na, if I had a clear scalp I wouldn’t have scalp issues in the first place! What I mean by clean scalp is clar­i­fy­ing. Since the air is dry­er in Win­ter months, we tend to get heavy-hand­ed with oils and but­ters, and jus­ti­fi­ably so. Even though the mois­ture and seal­ing is nec­es­sary, it accu­mu­lates more rapid­ly, and com­bined with your body’s own sebum, gym sweat, flakes, beanie lint and every­thing else, you’re bound to suf­fo­cate your scalp. To coun­ter this, you may need to kick up your clar­i­fy­ing rou­tine a notch between Novem­ber and Feb­ru­ary. I high­ly rec­om­mend stay­ing away from abra­sive chem­i­cals to clar­i­fy (I’m look­ing at you, sul­fates), and lean more toward Apple Cider Vine­gar and Aztec Heal­ing Clay. Not only are they effec­tive and nat­u­ral, but they both have heal­ing and impu­ri­ty-remov­ing qual­i­ties that can help com­bat and reduce flak­ing. Added bonus: Apple Cider Vine­gar also helps bal­ance your hair and scalp pH, which can lend itself to Pso­ri­a­sis relief. I will dis­cuss this fur­ther in Part II!

Flake Fighter #2: Maintain Moisture

I know this seems to direct­ly con­tra­dict #1. But equal­ly as impor­tant as keep­ing the scalp clean and clear is pro­vid­ing a mois­ture bar­ri­er from the cold air (just don’t let it build up for weeks at a time). Some of the best oils to use are those that pack a one-two (or three) punch: not only do they moisturize/hold in mois­ture, but they pos­sess anti-bacterial/anti-fungal, or even skin heal­ing prop­er­ties. For mois­ture reten­tion and fungus/bacteria fight­ing, I rec­om­mend Vir­gin Unre­fined Coconut Oil and Cold-Pressed Cas­tor Oil. For mois­ture reten­tion and heal­ing, the above oils can also be used, in addi­tion to Jojoba, Sweet Almond, and Vit­a­m­in E. As an added bonus, you can always add a few drops of Tea Tree Oil to kick the fun­gus fight­ing up a notch. 

Flake Fighter #3: A Double Helping of Henna

I know there are some blog­gers out there that hen­na on a week­ly or bi-week­ly basis. I salute you. Not only is that too much mess to make every 7 days, but it’s a lot for my tran­si­tion­ing strands to endure. Remem­ber, hen­na strength­ens and thick­ens hair by bind­ing to the ker­at­in on the strands. But just like most treat­ments we love, you can have too much of a good thing. Since hen­na builds up on the strands, I have a fear of over­tax­ing my hair at the line of demar­ca­tion and caus­ing pre­ma­ture and avoid­able break­age. How­ev­er, after weigh­ing out the ben­e­fits of my month­ly hen­na  on my hair and scalp, I decid­ed that twice a mon­th isn’t too much to help com­bat flakes. Like I said in the last arti­cle, I still don’t ful­ly under­stand why or how hen­na has cleared my scalp — I just know that it does. Dur­ing the win­ter months, I dou­ble my dos­es of hen­na — doing a full treat­ment on all my hair at the begin­ning of the mon­th, then fol­low­ing up mid-mon­th with a scalp and new-growth only treat­ment.

Flake Fighter #4: Avoid Irritants

When it comes to Pso­ri­a­sis and oth­er skin/scalp con­di­tions, going the extra mile to avoid irri­tants in dri­er months is nec­es­sary. Since we’re talk­ing nat­u­ral hair here, I’m going to assume you know relax­ers are out of the ques­tion. Hair col­or is sketchy, at best. If you’re real­ly seri­ous about col­or in the win­ter, I sug­gest ombre, frost­ing, or anoth­er style of col­or­ing that avoids com­ing close to the scalp. Also on the list of things to avoid is heat — name­ly the blow dry­er. I know this may hurt a lit­tle, but find anoth­er way to stretch your strands. Blow dry­ers work by suck­ing out mois­ture, and that is the exact oppo­site of what you need for your scalp.

Last­ly, do a run-through on your favorite prod­ucts — con­di­tion­ers includ­ed. Make sure there are no ingre­di­ents that are known irri­tants to skin, such as var­i­ous sur­fec­tants, added col­or, and fra­grance. You may find your­self hav­ing to switch to more nat­u­ral prod­ucts, at least tem­porar­i­ly. And who knows, you might end up lik­ing those nat­u­ral prod­ucts more.

What are some of your favorite flake-fight­ing meth­ods for the Win­ter?

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and liv­ing in Los Ange­les, Christi­na is BGLH’s res­i­dent tran­si­tion­ing expert and pro­duct junkie. In addi­tion to lov­ing all things hair, she is a fit­ness novice and advo­cate of wear­ing san­dals year-round. For more infor­ma­tion on tran­si­tion­ing, nat­u­ral hair, and her own hair jour­ney, vis­it Or, if you like pic­tures fol­low Christi­na on Insta­gram @maneobjective.

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3 Comments on "4 Ways to Fight Flakes This Winter"

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Pls give the pro­por­tions for the hen­na, coconut oil and water month­ly treat­ment for pso­ri­a­sis. Thank you.

Tyvette Symone
I found this site because of the first arti­cle on Psoriasis–thank you again for touch­ing this sub­ject again. I am look­ing for­ward to part two. For my own per­son­al bouts with Pso­ri­a­sis, I have gone through every chan­nel to try and find a way to keep it at bay with­out being self con­scious. The Shea Mois­ture Black Soap line works won­ders, as rec­om­mend­ed. I also use veg­etable glyc­er­in and Thayer’s Alco­hol Free Witch Hazel mixed 50/50 in a spray bot­tle for the tough patch­es on my neck, face, and scalp near the hair line as a mois­tur­iz­er. Being some­one who often… Read more »

Thanks so much for the info. I real­ly heart this web­site…:)