Not only is hair health important but scalp health is too. A healthy scalp can lead to faster hair growth and stronger hair strands. You may think that your scalp is just like the rest of your skin, but its not. It is skin it is very different to the skin on the rest of your body and is different to care for. Nothing is worse than an itchy scalp or dandruff so here is how you can keep you head in tip top shape.
About Your Scalp
Scalp skin is some of the thickest skin of the body with 5 layers, and it carries more blood than the rest of your skin. This is why head wounds bleed so much. Your scalp also contains many sebaceous glands, which produce oil, or sebum, that protects hair. Because of the abundance of sebaceous glands, it’s important to clean your scalp thoroughly. If oil builds up, you can end up with clogged hair follicles or dandruff. Dandruff is caused by bacteria that get trapped in the oil and produce fatty acids that cause itching and swelling. This causes the skin cells on your scalp to replenish more frequently, and flakes of dead skin can get caught in your hair and fall to your shoulders. Many skin conditions that affect the scalp can go unnoticed because of your hair, so it’s important to check your scalp for moles and growths.
Like exfoliating the skin on your body, it is important to exfoliate your scalp to get rid of any product-buildup and dead skin cells. If you suffer from dry skin or psoriasis, you may need to exfoliate two or three times per week; otherwise, exfoliating once weekly is generally adequate to remove dead skin cells from the surface of your scalp.
If you have never seen or heard of a shampoo brush, they are brushes with wide rubber or plastic bristles designed to lift scalp buildup while also helping to encourage blood flow to the scalp to stimulate hair growth. I would definitely invest in one of these to exfoliate your scalp as they are more effective than just using your hands and really help to lift away dead skin cells. I would, however, opt for a branded one and not just something cheap on Ebay as they break really easily (make sure you get one that is not detachable as I found the bottom would annoyingly pop out).
I am the queen of scalp massages and they are great for your scalp.
They remove dead skin and help to strengthen the hair from the roots, as your hairs natural oils will travel further down the hair shaft. Beneath the skin on your scalp is an intricate network of blood vessels that carry oxygen and vital nutrients to the tissue. Keep the circulation going in your scalp by massaging the skin. To do this, I rub my scalp gently with both hands in a circular motion daily for 30 minutes. I tend to do this while sat in front of the TV and the time passes really quickly. If you want to really enhance the power of this method, you could also massage your hair with oil, which can really people with a dry or itchy scalp.
Essential oils can help you improve the health of your hair with very little risk of side effects at an affordable price point. They’re also easy to use and relatively affordable, if you are in the UK I would recommend using FreshSkin.co.uk for free delivery and good prices. For many, just mixing some with a carrier oil (a base oil or vegetable oil, is used to dilute essential oils and absolutes) or your shampoo and applying that to your scalp regularly can increase hair growth, strength, or shine.
Be aware that if you put some essential oils directly to your scalp, they may cause irritation. Read label instructions for how to dilute oils, and never use more than the recommended amount.
- Cedarwood essential oil stimulates the scalp and promotes hair growth.
- Chamomile essential oil adds shine and softness to hair, and soothes the scalp.
- Clary sage essential oil promotes hair growth and stimulates the scalp.
- Geranium essential oil strengthens hair.
- Lavender essential oil deep conditions the hair, keeps it shiny, and helps control dandruff.
- Rosemary essential oil stimulates the roots, improves hair growth, and increases circulation in the scalp.
- Sandalwood essential oil helps with dry ends, and adds fragrance to the hair.
- Evening Primrose Oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help fight scalp conditions
The scalp is prone to a variety of scalp conditions, each of which has its own causes, symptoms and treatments. By understanding the various problems that can plague the scalp, you’ll be prepared to recognise their signs and seek treatment through home, clinical or over-the-counter remedies.
Some common scalp problems include:
- Dandruff – Most people know if they have dandruff as it is such a common condition characterised by small white flakes from the scalp. A scalp that is either that is too dry or too oily is more likely to develop dandruff, and in some cases, the condition is caused by an overproduction of yeast. If you have dandruff, try using a shampoo that contains zinc pyrithione, coal tar, ketoconazole, salicylic acid or selenium sulfide.
- Scalp eczema – This is the same as eczema on the skin but on the scalp, it is an itchy, red to brown rash that looks like small raised bumps. The condition develops due to a hypersensitivity reaction where your immune system mistakes a harmless substance as a threat and produces inflammation to protect your body. Shampoos that contain coal tar, evening primrose oil and borage seed oil are often effective at helping alleviate scalp eczema symptoms.
- Scalp psoriasis – This occurs when your body fails to shed skin cells at a normal rate, causing a buildup of cells that forms red patches that are topped with silver flakes. The condition occurs due to a malfunction in the immune system and can be helped by shampoos that contain coal tar, salicylic acid and aloe vera extract.
- Impetigo – This is a skin infection marked by red sores that burst and then form an orange or yellow crust. The condition is typically very itchy and often highly contagious. If you suspect that you have an impetigo infection, see your doctor, as antibiotics are often necessary to combat the bacteria causing the rash.
- Folliculitis – This is an infection that occurs in the hair follicles and causes bumps that can range in appearance from resembling a whitehead to a large, red blister. An antibacterial shampoo that contains tea tree oil, burdock or echinacea can help ease the infection, though in some cases you may need to see a doctor for an antibiotic.
I hope this has helped you to care for your scalp, especially if you have an itchy scalp or any of the scalp conditions above. Implement some of the scalp health hacks into your routine and hopefully it does wonders for you.
– Paris x