If you ask, most men and women nowadays have multi-step routines for their face, body, and sometimes, hair. But rarely do they spend the same effort on their scalp. However, a healthy scalp is, besides being part of our skin, an integral part of hair care. You need to take care of your scalp if you want healthy, lustrous hair. Here’s why:
Why You Need To Take Care Of Your Scalp
It’s An Extension Of Your Face
The scalp is still part of the skin, though not many people realize this because it is covered by hair. The scalp, then, experiences pretty much the same conditions and problems as our face—it gets damaged by UV rays and can be dry or oily. Like the face, the scalp needs protection and care to keep it in its best condition.
It Is Exposed To A Lot Of Abuse
A little-known fact, and perhaps the reason why the scalp is often neglected, is that the scalp is exposed to external factors that cause damage. Hair products build up on the scalp whenever you use hair spray or dry shampoo, dirt and pollution also pile up when you step out, then, there’s UV damage. You could also damage your scalp when you don’t wash it enough, as well as when you wash it too much.
It’s The Foundation Of Healthy Hair
Because the scalp is where hair grows, its condition directly impacts the hair’s health. Think of the scalp as the soil where your hair grows. If it is unhealthy and lacks nutrients, hair may not grow at a normal rate and when they do, the hair will likely be malnourished and brittle. Haircare, thus, should not be limited to the strands of the hair alone. The scalp needs to be cleaned and moisturized, too.
Prevent Irritation And Other Conditions
Besides weak and dull hair, an unhealthy scalp is likely to exhibit skin conditions like atopic dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis. You may notice irritation or itchiness, flakiness, acne, redness, pain, or excessive hair loss. Most of the time, these issues can be addressed by taking extra care of the scalp. These are unhealthy as well as annoying. With that said, you could avoid a lot of scalp and hair problems by paying attention to your scalp.
The Scalp Ages, Too!
Since it is part of the skin, the scalp ages as well. Naturally, the scalp does not show the same signs of aging as the face—don’t expect wrinkles! Instead, the signs of aging of the scalp include thinning hair, hair loss, and graying hair. These are all the results of the hair’s diminished ability to manufacture melanin. So, the scalp needs to be protected from factors that accelerate aging, specifically UV damage and dehydration.
How To Take Care Of The Scalp
Know Your Scalp Type
Just like your skin, not all scalps are the same. What works for one person may not work for another. You need to match your scalp care routine with your scalp type and what it needs to stay healthy. Here are the different types of scalp:
- Oily – if your hair gets greasy easily and if you have flakey dandruff, it means you have overactive sebaceous glands
- Dry – usually itchy and has dry powdery flakes, meaning the scalp is not getting enough supply of natural oils
- Normal – may occasionally experience signs of dryness or oiliness depending on the weather
- Sensitive – the scalp may be easily irritated or you commonly experience itchiness or redness
Establish A Wash Routine
It has been well-established that washing your hair daily tends to be drying to the hair and scalp. Most hair care tips recommend washing your hair as infrequently as possible. This is quite true; however, you should also consider what your hair and scalp go through daily. If you travel or are exposed to dirt and pollution regularly or sweat daily, washing your scalp daily is necessary. The key is to know how often your scalp needs to be cleaned.
Handle With Care
While the regularity of washing is variable, one thing that everyone should keep in mind in scalp care is that you should be gentle. Be gentle when you scrub your scalp—use light pressure and scrub in circular motions with the pad of the fingertips. More importantly, use a gentle shampoo when you wash your hair. Commercial shampoos usually contain sulfates which are harsh on the scalp and hair. You need a shampoo that will cleanse the scalp without drying it. Meanwhile, if you have a scalp condition like dandruff, you should use a gentle shampoo that still addresses your concerns—for instance, our Tea Tree Shampoo.
Use A Scalp Scrub
You may be more familiar with scrubs for exfoliating the face and body. The scalp can also benefit from exfoliation. Scalp scrubs provide deep cleansing for the scalp to rid it of product build-up, sweat, dandruff, dirt, and pollution.
Like facial scrubs, you can also make your own scalp scrub. Simply mix two tablespoons of hair oil, such as virgin coconut oil, with a tablespoon of sugar. Gently scrub your scalp once a week or twice if you have oily hair or excessive product build-up.
Apply A Hydrating Scalp Mask Or Deep Conditioner
A scalp mask is great for replenishing the moisture lost in heat styling and regular washing, as well as for repairing the damage caused by the environment. A scalp mask is similar to a deep conditioner and can be applied from the scalp to the ends of your hair. Not only do scalp masks keep your scalp healthy, but they also prevent frizz and promote healthier hair in general.
Massage Your Scalp
Massaging the scalp promotes blood circulation, which is beneficial for hair growth and health. You may be reminded of facial rollers that are popular these days for promoting circulation in the face. Both are beneficial for the same principle.
To massage your scalp, you can apply medium pressure on your scalp using your finger pads. Move your fingers in small circular motions all around your head. If you are pressed for time, this can be done while shampooing or deep conditioning your hair. If you have more time, you can massage your scalp with hair oil after a shower. Doing this will also allow the scalp to absorb the nutrients and benefits of the hair oil.
Protect Your Hair From The Sun
We have repeatedly mentioned the damage caused by the sun’s rays. This is something you should take seriously because the scalp (and hair) are more directly exposed to the sun than other parts of the skin. Naturally, staying away from direct sunlight as much as possible is important. However, if you must go out into the sun, try to wear a hat or a scarf to cover your head. You can also use a leave-in conditioner with SPF or simply apply your usual sunblock onto your scalp (try to avoid your hair as much as possible!).
Minimize Use Of Styling Products
Styling products—dry shampoo, leave-in conditioners, mousse, hair sprays, and so on—all make your hair manageable and more luscious. However, they tend to disrupt your scalp’s natural sebum production and can easily build up and irritate your scalp, especially when not washed properly. So, even if you wash your hair, it is still advisable to avoid them whenever you can.
It does not take much to take care of your scalp, but doing so can add exponential benefits to your hair’s health. Read this article about Haircare Routines.