Sure, it's cold. The lucky few only worry about how to avoid hat head. But the rest of us struggle with scalp problems, such as itchiness, dryness, and flaking, during the colder months.

Before you pull out the hair products to address your scalp's problems, make sure you know what you're dealing with. For instance, if your scalp is itchy, it may be due to lice, eczema, a fungal infection, or psoriasis. Have your doctor take a peek and then follow her instructions for how to improve your scalp's health. This may involve special shampoos, medications, or a change in beauty products.

In the meantime, we've outlined three common scalp problems, along with solutions to help heal a winter-worn scalp.

Here's what to do if your scalp is...

1. Too oily

The oil produced by your scalp protects your hair from breakage, gives it a nice shine and keeps your scalp healthy. If you produce too much oil however, your hairstyle goes limp within hours. This may be hereditary, or it might be hormonal as your skin produces more or less oil in response to your menstrual cycle, menopause, or contraception. Your scalp might also be reacting to ingredients in your shampoo, conditioner, or styling products.

  • For a temporary fix, a quick blast of dry shampoo or a sprinkle of baby powder brushed through your hair will absorb the oil and help get more mileage on your hairstyle.
  • For a more permanent solution, daily shampooing with a gentle shampoo should keep oil under control. Try rotating between different shampoos to avoid buildup. Shampoos designed for dandruff control might help, but avoid anything harsh, heavy, or over-hydrating.
  • Conditioning is also important but apply product starting at the ends (not the roots) of the hair first, and avoid heavy moisturizing products, masks, or those with extra oil added.

2. Too Itchy

An itch is generally a sign of minor irritation. It's your skin's way of sending out a cry for help and signaling that something needs to change.

  • You may be having an allergic reaction to an ingredient in your shampoo, conditioner, or styling product. Switch to products with more natural ingredients or those designed for sensitive scalps.
  • You might be shampooing too often and stripping the scalp of its protective natural oils. If your hair doesn't get oily, there's no reason why you need to shampoo daily. Try skipping a few days and see if the itch goes away.
  • You might not be shampooing often enough, which causes oil or dirt to buildup. Shampoo more often or use a clarifying shampoo to strip the scalp of residue.
  • Don't skip the conditioner. Conditioning adds back a little moisture and oil, which soothes the scalp and makes hair manageable.
  • Some people get itchy if they dry their hair on too high a temperature. Dial down the blow-drying and see if that helps.
  • Other people get itchy if they let their hair air-dry, especially if they have thick hair that takes several hours to dry. Try partially drying your hair to get the moisture off your scalp, then let the rest of your hair dry naturally.

3. Too dry

A dry scalp might be a reaction to harsh shampoo or styling products, hormonal changes, weather conditions, or excessive use of heated styling tools.

  • Shampoo less often and use products labeled as moisturizing, hydrating, or those products with Argan or Moroccan oil added.
  • Use a cooler setting on your hair-dryer and use curling irons, hot rollers, or flat irons less frequently.
  • Protect your scalp from cold weather by popping on a cute hat or knit cap.

If these tips don't solve your scalp woes, see a dermatologist and/or a professional hair stylist for more advice.

Liesa Harte, MD, reviewed this article.