Uggghhhh, winter hair can seriously mess with your vibe. But why are your tresses looking particularly bad all of a sudden?

A Procter & Gamble report found that a strand growing in a gnarly scalp environment (think: flakes, inflammation and itchiness) is less equipped to deal with stressors, like heat styling or sun damage, and more likely to break than one sprouting from a healthy zone.

One reason for a gnarly scalp? Our dependence on dry shampoo.

This creates so much root build-up that it causes scalp issues like seborrheic dermatitis (inflamed, oily scales) and folliculitis (tiny red pimples caused by infected hair follicles). While a spritz here or there won’t hurt, “you shouldn’t use it every day,” says dermatologist Dr Kavita Mariwalla.

READ MORE: The #1 Product You Need In Your Gym Bag

Your script: those with finer textures produce more oil – aim to wash hair every other day.

Those with coarser hair (and less sebum) can stretch to three. Routine cleansing – which, unlike dry shampoo, carries away build-up and sweat – goes a long way towards rehabbing a hurting scalp.

Spot That Flake

Flat and yellow? You may have the type of dandruff that exfoliating won’t fix, i.e. dandruff caused by yeast.

To combat this, our favourite pick is still Head & Shoulders Rinse Off Treatment Masque (R60) at Clicks. It fights dandruff at the root of the problem, soothes the scalp and the aloe vera formula leaves your skin and hair moisturised. If you’ve got more issues though, consider these two special ops.

For Dry And Itchy Hair And Scalp

A dry and itchy scalp tends to be a created condition: stress, excessive use of hair products or ammonia in hair dye raises the pH on the scalp to above its normal range, which can dry it out to the point of flaking (think: small white specks). Manual exfoliation (fingertip massages) helps nix the dust.

READ MORE: 10 Random Daily Things That Are Making Your Hair Fall Out

And try use a soothing product, like Garnier Ultimate Blends Rice Cream & Oat Shampoo Milk (R60) at Clicks. It contains rice cream, famous for its softening and protective properties, and oat milk, which soothes and comforts a sensitive scalp. Also try Dark and Lovely Au Naturale 3 in 1 Cleansing Conditioner (R85) at Clicks, which washes, detangles and treats. Plus, it’s sulphateand silicone-free.

For Oily Hair And Scalp

Greasy roots aren’t just an aesthetic problem. “Not only do we have cellular debris and skin turnover we need to slough off, we also have sweat and body odour glands on the scalp that can cause a proliferation of bacteria,” says dermatologist Dr Dendy Engelman.

That bacteria can breed folliculitis pimples (fun!).

READ MORE: How To Turn Off The Hormones That Cause Hair Thinning

Why not try a shampoo that treats the scalp, like CHI Tea Tree Oil Shampoo (R330) at Glammit Online. This invigorating shampoo gently cleanses hair and rids it and the scalp of impurities, while balancing oils.

The soothing benefits of tea tree oil and peppermint oil work together to balance scalp oils and maintain moisture levels. If pimples persist, wash daily with a shampoo containing trouble-shooter salicylic acid, like Vichy Dercos Oil Control Shampoo (R200) at Clicks. Easy!

This article was originally published in Women's Health SA.