The Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Scalp Care
How to Show Your Crown the Most Love
You’re here because you’ve got questions about the health of your scalp. Great news: we’ve got answers!
The topic of scalp care can be overwhelming. You could deep dive into so many facets of caring for your scalp that it can be difficult to know where to begin! What causes dandruff? Why is my head so oily? What the heck is sebum, and is it contagious? Am I losing my hair?
Deep breaths. Don’t worry. We have the answers you need. In this guide, we will make sense of the jargon. You'll have the clarity and confidence you need to treat your scalp like the sweet little halo of love that it is.
So What Exactly Is Scalp Care & Why Is It Important?
You’ve likely heard the benefits of a good skincare routine. Think of your scalp as an extension of your face with less visible surface area. Your scalp is as susceptible to dry skin, itchy patches, irritation, dandruff and even acne as your skin. Not to mention aging! Did you know your scalp ages about six times faster than your face? Yikes.
Also, everyone wants good hair. We know it. You know it. That guy in line for coffee knows it. Call it vanity or good hygiene. Doesn’t matter. Point is, good hair doesn’t come from poor scalp health. Think of your hair as a flower garden, and the scalp is the soil that gives it life.
Your scalp is thicker in density, has more oil glands, and hair follicles than the rest of your skin. That said, you still need to show it some love. We have thicker skin and grow more hair on our heads to protect our skulls from trauma. How cool is that? It’s literally a helmet that we can make pretty.
Now that you know the what and the why, we can dive into the how of a great scalp care routine.
Start With Exfoliation
A good exfoliation is a two-for-one deal. You get the benefits of scalp massage. Ridding your scalp of dead skin, oil, and hair products reveal a fresh head of follicles ready to bloom. Let’s take a look at the benefits.
Scalp Exfoliation Improves Circulation
When you exfoliate your scalp it improves the blood flow to the hair follicles in your scalp. Improved blood circulation provides more vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients to the scalp. This helps maintain good skin and hair health.
Exfoliation Cleanses and Clarifies the Scalp
Our scalp (and the rest of our skin) makes a natural oil called sebum. Sebum, dirt and debris that finds its way to your scalp and dead skin cells, will block the pores on your scalp. This can lead to ingrown hairs, breakouts, and sensitivity. A clean scalp is an optimal environment for hair growth.
Remember the no-poo movement? That was a trichologist’s (this is a scalp specialist) worst nightmare. The no-poo method is losing steam, thankfully. The scalp thrives under clean conditions. If you’re having scalp issues, wash as frequently as your hair type allows.
Exfoliation Balances Excessive Oil Production
Sebum waterproofs the skin and hair, sealing moisture in. It keeps our skin and hair soft. What causes excessive oil production? Lots of things!
Fine, straight, or thick hair can all play a role. The production and density of your hair affect how the sebum travels down the shaft of each hair.
Stress, puberty, pregnancy, or menopause. All can cause a sudden onset of excessive sebum.
Oil can also be the cause of dandruff. Excuse me, what?
Exfoliation Promotes Growth
Remember those extra vitamins and minerals circulating up there after exfoliating? You bet your bottom dollar that they are going to help those hairs of yours grow long and strong.
Exfoliation Removes Build Up
Styling products cling to your hair and scalp (as well as any excess sebum) which can lead to dry, itchy, irritated skin on your scalp. The buildup can also appear as flakes. Additionally, the buildup can clog pores which can hinder the growth of your hair!
Exfoliation Relieves Itchy Scalp
Build-up, excessive sebum, and even dandruff can cause the scalp to itch. We all know what it's like to have an itch that won’t go away. That mosquito bump on your ankle has been a pain all week, hasn’t it? It can be frustrating to need to relieve the itch on your scalp without knowing how. Exfoliation can help. Exfoliation will soothe the dry, dead patches of skin and irritation on your scalp.
Now that you’ve tackled the exfoliation, what’s next?
Time to Shampoo
Next, use a shampoo formulated to cleanse the scalp biome. You’ll want to make sure you're washing away the debris and sebum from your exfoliation sesh. The shampoo should leave your hair soft, and scalp clean.
Wash as often as your hair will allow. If you tend to go a few days between washes, or if you want to make sure you're really reaping the benefits of the shampoo, wash twice! Some hair types don’t do well to wash daily, or take a significant time commitment to complete. That’s ok! Just wash as often as you feel necessary to keep your scalp clean. Maybe before it ends up in this top knot you may be well acquainted with.
After shampoo, the next step is typically conditioner. But conditioner is not a friend to your scalp. It can cause all that buildup all over again. Instead, opt for a specific treatment or serum meant for the scalp.
To follow your shampoo, you need a treatment meant to optimize the conditions on your scalp for healthy follicles, and balanced sebum. Choose one made to infuse the scalp with nourishing moisture. The exfoliant and shampoo strip your hair of the yucky stuff. I may also strip your natural moisture barrier.
While we don’t want an overproduction of oil, your hair needs a moisturized environment to thrive. Otherwise, it will lead to dry, flakey, and itchy skin under your hair, which can lead to hair loss!
That said, finding a treatment primed for the scalp is of the utmost importance. Normal conditioner should never be applied to the scalp, even if you’re not doing your scalp care regimen that day. Opt instead to apply conditioner from the mid-shaft to the ends of your hair.
Any moisturizing treatment or serum formulated for the scalp should immediately soothe your skin. It will also help with any inflammation you may be experiencing
It is recommended to only treat your scalp twice a week, at most. Finding a great regimen in the interim will guarantee the best results. Look for a hair care regimen that meets your #hairgoals.
You’ve got the basics down for great scalp care. Always remember to keep scalp care at the forefront of your journey to better hair. Fertile soil produces the prettiest flowers, after all.
Look for more great tips on our social media for scalp care. We will also be posting later articles going in-depth on scalp-related topics. Have questions? Drop us a line on our social media or in a comment below. We will be covering all of this and more in-depth in the coming months.
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