Since giving it up, I’ve noticed far less irritation on my scalp — and my hands, too. Could it have been responsible for the dry, cracked skin on my fingertips? “Absolutely,” said Reavey. I also asked Dr. Sharon Wong, consultant dermatologist, hair specialist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, for her opinion: “There are many ingredients in a shampoo aside from fragrance (such as preservatives and surfactants) which may cause the dry skin, redness or cracking at the sites of repetitive contact,” she said. “This type of eczema or dermatitis is known as ‘contact dermatitis’.” Dr. Wong added that avoiding fragrance would be sensible. “It would also be advisable to have patch testing to formally investigate the potential allergens causing the dermatitis,” she told me.