We may pay extra time and money taking care of our hair and planning elaborate skincare routines, but how many of us pay the same attention to our scalps?
Although it’s easy to overlook – after all, many of us don’t really see our scalps – proper scalp care is key to having healthy follicles and healthy hair. Just like the rest of your skin, your scalp can accumulate bacteria, sweat and become clogged.
Why is a healthy scalp important?
Think of your scalp like a flower bed – without healthy soil and proper care, flowers won’t flourish. Similarly, without caring for your scalp you’ll be hindering healthy hair growth. The sebaceous glands in the scalp produce sebum – a natural oil that is meant to protect the skin – via the hair follicles. However, if the follicles aren’t clean and clear of sebum, or are otherwise blocked by dandruff or dead skin, this will have a negative impact on the growth of the hair.
Here is some of Crown Clinic’s top advice for caring for your scalp.
1. Treat dandruff as early as possible
Dandruff – flaking of the scalp – is very common, as the skin is constantly shedding. It’s not a serious condition, but it can be embarrassing to deal with. Try cleansing the scalp regularly with an anti-dandruff shampoo to see if it helps ease the buildup of oil and skin cells. Shampoos containing zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, selenium sulfide or ketoconazole are the best options. It may take a few weeks to start noticing a difference and you may need to try a few different shampoos before finding one that works for your scalp.
2. Avoid overusing dry shampoo
Dry shampoo may be great as a quick fix for those days where you don’t have time to wash your hair, but it should be used sparingly. Relying too heavily on dry shampoo can cause a buildup of product on the scalp, which can clog the follicles and trap bacteria, potentially leading to dandruff. If you really must use dry shampoo, ensure you wash your hair as soon as possible with a cleansing shampoo to get rid of the buildup.
3. Treat your hair gently
Overusing harsh shampoos can do more harm than good, so consider switching to sulphate-free shampoos that won’t strip your hair of its natural oils but will still properly cleanse your scalp. As for how often you wash your hair, it depends on personal preference, but generally, we would suggest at least every other day. This is especially true for those who use a lot of product on their hair or sweat more, as the buildup on the scalp can cause itching and flaking.
You can also try using a gentle scalp scrub to exfoliate the skin and unclog the follicles, but make sure to replenish moisture to the lengths of the hair with a conditioner.
4. Avoid tight hairstyles
Traction alopecia is caused by the hair being repeatedly pulled in the same place, leading to irritation, discomfort, hair breakage and potentially long-term damage. Tight hairstyles such as braids can be very harsh on the scalp due to the constant tension, so to avoid this, change your hairstyle regularly and wear it in a looser style if you can’t wear your hair down.
Remember that a healthy scalp leads to healthy hair, so make sure to start adding proper scalp care to your routine.