Inkey Scalp Serum
Credit: The Inkey List

This $15 Exfoliating Hair Treatment Has Been a Savior for My Dry Scalp Over the Past Few Months

It’s also kept hairline breakouts at bay.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Despite maintaining a proper skincare routine over the years, I didn't begin paying attention to my scalp until recently. Truth be told, I wish I had started sooner; keeping the scalp in good health can prevent excess oil, flakes, and dry, itchy patches — all concerns I was experiencing — while also encouraging hair growth. Essentially, my minimalist (or perhaps lazy) hair regimen just wasn't cutting it. Therefore, I turned to The Inkey List's Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment to help remedy my discomfort.

Scalp issues can develop for a number of reasons. "Flakiness, itchiness and soreness are the most common scalp conditions caused by buildup due to infrequent shampooing," Shab Reslan, trichologist and hair expert based in New York City, tells InStyle. Not to mention, you can also experience dry flakiness and redness thanks to harsh cleansing agents, over-washing, and even using excessively hot water, she adds.

The Inkey List treatment's formula addresses all your scalp woes by leaning on three main ingredients: antibacterial salicylic acid, moisturizing panthenol (pro vitamin B5), and anti-inflammatory fluidipure. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that helps clear and break up debris and buildup that hinders hair growth; panthenol is a humectant that retains moisture in the scalp; fluidipure, an amino acid-based purifying ingredient, calms soreness from scalp dandruff and flakes, explains Reslan.

The Inkey List’s Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment
Credit: Courtesy

Shop now: $15; theinkeylist.com

Thanks to this powerful combo, using the exfoliating treatment over the past several months has truly changed the overall state of my scalp. I've dealt with significantly less redness and workout-induced breakouts along my hairline. But, more impressively, the itchiness on the back of my head has nearly disappeared. 

The product has quickly become an essential part of my weekly regimen. Before hopping in the shower, I apply a generous amount of the serum across my head and massage with a scalp brush, a handy tool for increasing circulation. From there, I let the serum work its magic for up to 10 minutes before rinsing it out; during the leave-in time, I can actually feel the treatment soothing any inflammation and dryness.

For those wanting to balance oil production, minimize flakes, and hydrate dry areas, Reslan recommends using the treatment before every other shampoo day until the build-up subsides. Then, continue on a regular weekly or bi-weekly schedule to maintain "a balanced, healthy and clear scalp environment ideal for your best hair growth." While the product is gentle on the scalp, users should avoid daily applications because it can over-cleanse and lead to an imbalanced scalp microbiome. 

Unsurprisingly, I'm not the only one who has come to rely on it. One shopper wrote that after incorporating it into their routine, their hair is "barely greasy by the end of the week," while even more reviewers agree their hair stays looking clean for longer than it ever has before. Another claimed that it doesn't leave their hair looking "bone dry and dead, but shiny, healthy, and clean."

"I have struggled with a very bad dry, flakey scalp for over ten years," shared a customer. "I found this product on TikTok, and I am very happy with the results so far! Definitely worth a try if you struggle with flakes like me!" 

There's no better time to start taking care of your scalp than in the dead of winter. I'd recommend grabbing The Inkey List's Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment if you're suffering from the same scalp issues as me — you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.