Dry hair is hair that does not have enough moisture and oil to maintain its normal sheen and texture.
Hair - dry
Some causes of dry hair are:
- Anorexia nervosa
- 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
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. Siedel's Guide to Physical Examination. 8th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby; 2015:chap 8.
Marks JG, Miller JJ. Hair disorders. In: Marks JG, Miller JJ, eds. Lookingbill and Marks' Principles of Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 20.
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.