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A young man with dry and flat dreadlocks.

Dry DreadLocks: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments


Dreadlocks are beautiful. Wearing dreadlocks is the most natural way to wear your hair.

Dreadlocks are probably the oldest human hairstyle. The earliest ancient text that describes dreadlocks dates back to 1500 B.C., or about 3,500 years ago.

However, that is only documented proof. Humans only started documenting their experiences through words about 5,500 years ago. Early humans passed on knowledge through oral traditions.

It is highly likely that dreadlocks as a hairstyle are probably as old as the human race itself. And as scientists have long confirmed, the human race started in the continent of Africa. 

And the first human exodus out of Africa that began the population settlements in other parts of the world occurred over two million years ago.

The point is that wearing dreadlocks affirms cultural pride in the wearer, especially black people.

Anyone can wear dreadlocks. 

The point is that anyone can wear dreadlocks. Dreadlocks are worn by celebrities and people in an attention-grabbing fashion style.

But for many people, dreadlocks are a manifestation of religious, spiritual, cultural, or political pride.

And with dreadlock pride, for whatever reason you wear them, comes a grooming and maintenance responsibility to take care of them.

Wearing dreadlocks requires a lot of time sacrifice for hair grooming and maintenance. You may have to sacrifice a few hours per week to take care of them.

But then again, what hairstyle does not require ritual grooming maintenance to keep it presentable and healthy. All forms of hairstyles are hair. And dreadlocks are hair, just like any other hairstyle.

And just like any other hairstyle, your dreadlocks could become severely or permanently damaged by dryness.

Dry dreadlocks, scalp, and hair follicles can cause split ends, damaged and broken hair follicles, dandruff, bald spots, and permanent baldness.

So, let’s talk about dry hair, its causes, symptoms, and potential treatments before too much damage are inflicted on your dreadlocks.

Firstly, let’s first talk a little about dreadlocks and how they are formed. 

Because if you understand how dreadlocks are formed, then you can appreciate how dryness can damage them.

Lion Loc’s vegan dreadlock products are organic and will leave your dreadlocks residue-free.

Related: Dreadlocks in the Workplace: How to Wear Dreads Professionally

Dreadlocks 101

 A smiling bespectacled black woman with braided dreadlocks.

To better understand why dry dreadlocks are so damaging to your hair follicles, let’s briefly discuss how dreadlocks are formed.

Dreadlocks are a coiled matrix of interlocked and matted hair follicles. On the outside, dreadlocks may look rope-like and feature a fuzzy and frizzy matted hair texture.

But on the inside, the dreadlock is a coiled and wiry latticework of locked hair follicles that cling and stick together. And the older your dreadlocks are, the more they become interlocked.

The ends of your dreadlocks are extremely follicle-locked relative to the hair on your scalp. Hair grows half an inch every month. So, you must have a regular hair twisting regimen to gradually lock up newly grown hair follicles at the scalp line.

Dreadlocks can be detangled in many cases. But not without sacrifice.

A length of dreadlock nearest to its end may need to be cut away because the hair follicles are permanently locked.

There are several ways to start the dreadlock process. You need to grow at least three to six inches of hair, to begin with. Section your hair into squares. The size of the sectioned square on your scalp will correspond to the thickness of each individual dreadlock.

Then you can manually twist each sectioned strand of hair with your fingers. Or you can roll and twist the hair in your palms. You could just start backcombing the sectioned strands too. 

Backcombing is just holding the sectioned hair strands by the end and then combing towards the scalp so that the hair follicles start intertwining and locking.

You could start the dreadlock process by ceasing to use a brush or comb anymore after washing. Your dreadlocks will naturally form.

You need the patience to develop dreadlocks. You need to twist your hair and apply essential oils for six months or up to two years before your dreadlocks develop. It can take a long if you have short or naturally straight hair to grow dreadlocks.

The biggest problem to watch out for when growing dreadlocks is dryness.

Dry Dreadlocks

Let’s discuss some of the symptoms of dry dreadlocks.


Several visible symptoms can point to the fact that you have dry dreadlocks.

Your dreadlocks may begin thinning out at the follicles near the scalp line. Your dreadlocks may only be connected to your head by a few hair follicles that can’t sustain the weight. And then dreadlocks may even begin to fall out gradually.

An itchy scalp may be a dead giveaway of a dry scalp and dry dreadlocks.

Or your hairline may begin thinning out at the scalp line in a patchy circle on top of your head. Sometimes baldness is genetically inherited, and sometimes it is called by having an extremely dry scalp and dreadlocks.


Over time, using harmful and synthetic hair grooming products can harmfully dry out your hair. And it doesn’t matter if you have naturally straight or curly hair strands or dreadlocks.

Hair is like a sponge that can become clogged with the synthetic oils, chemicals, and waxes in hair products. Chemically clogged hair dries out and prevents the growth of new hair follicles.

Check the side effects of the prescription and over-the-counter drugs you take. Many of them cause dry scalp, hair, and hair loss as a side effect.

Vitamin deficiencies can also cause dry dreadlocks.

Are you drinking enough water? 

Drink enough water daily, so you are not dehydrated.

Being dehydrated in dire situations, like a prolonged heatwave, can result in heatstroke. But being dehydrated dries out your skin, lips, scalp, and hair too.


Dry dreadlocks will cause dandruff, dry and damaged hair follicles, and hair breakage.

And having dry dreadlocks can cause potential permanent baldness.

Think about it – growing dreadlocks require you to twist them often manually. When you start growing dreadlocks, you may need to twist them daily or every other day. 

But once your dreadlocks are formed, your twisting regimen can be reduced to a weekly schedule.

But twisting dry dreadlocks daily or weekly is a recipe for disaster.

Dry dreadlocks and scalp are stripped of natural minerals. Dry hair follicles are fragile and damage easily. If you twist dry dreadlocks often, then you are damaging and breaking your hair follicles instead of manipulating them to lock.

Additionally, you are twisting the dry hair follicles at the scalp, which is also dry. And all of that twisting can cause traction alopecia or baldness caused by excessive hair twisting and braiding.


 Beautiful black woman with long dreadlocks at the beach.

Drink enough water every day to quench your thirst and stay adequately hydrated.

Check the ingredient list and side effects of your hair grooming products and medications.

Use natural essential oils regularly to nourish your dreadlocks, hydrate them, replace natural oils, and keep them from drying out.

Don’t twist your dreadlocks with so much torsion force that it pulls and tugs against your scalp.

Get your all-natural and organic dreadlock grooming products from Lion Locs today.

Related: Will DreadLocks Damage My Hair?

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