The Importance of Taking Care of Your Scalp
The root of your hair problems stems from the same place where the roots of your hair grow. In fact, since your hair is made up of dead cells originating from the follicle, your scalp is the only part of your hair care that involves living cells! Folks use a helmet to protect their heads from bicycle accidents, but scalp protection doesn’t immediately click for the average person. If you experience an excessive amount of hair breakage, or you’re shedding more than you normally would, then perhaps it’s time to take a look at your hair problems at its source. If you don’t take care of your hair from the roots up, then you’re not going to have the healthiest version of your hair possible. Managing your scalp health can be pretty simple if you have the right knowledge and products.
What Chronic Dry, Itchy Scalp Means for Your Hair
Dry skin, on any part of your body, is because of inadequate moisture. This holds true for the skin on top of your head as well. Your dry scalp could be caused by a number of factors, including the cleansing products you use, the weather (and humidity), and your particular diet. Itchiness is just one of the symptoms; others include the buildup of small, white flakes and dry skin clumps called dandruff.
Dandruff is not, on its own, a sign of an unhealthy scalp, contrary to popular belief. It’s caused primarily by the overproduction of sebum. A certain harmless yeast begins to feed on the extra oil on the scalp, resulting in excess shedding of the skin cells. Dandruff is often exploited as a disease/disorder by personal care industries. Anti-dandruff products might not be the best match for skin chemistry, so be sure to choose products that first increase the health of your hair and scalp.
Effects of Physical Activity on Scalp Health
Regular exercise is the key to healthy living and a healthy body in all respects. It makes sense then that the increased blood flow that comes from exercise would have the added positive effect of healthy hair growth. It helps eliminate some of the itchiness that comes from toxin buildup in the pores. Although simple, scalp massages are a great exercise to increase circulation of blood at the follicle level. When you engage in vigorous exercise, you’re also able to open up pores and flush out toxins in the scalp. The sebaceous glands on your scalp can be activated by spending some time in the sauna as well.
Scalp Care for Thinning Hair and Hair Loss
At best, your hair is thinner and less exuberant than it could be with a healthy, fully moisturized scalp. It could also be substantially worse; there’s the full on potential for female pattern hair loss (FPHL). If you’re experiencing any hair thinning or see a widening of the part in your hair (an early sign of FPHL), consider making an appointment with a dermatologist. Although hair-loss solutions suggested by hair and nail professionals aren’t always a simple single-step process, studies suggest that products containing 2-5% Minoxidil decrease hair loss after the first 2-8 weeks. Minoxidil can have an exaggerated irritation side-effect on the scalp, which could further dry it out. Stay vigilant on the reaction of your scalp. If things continue to deteriorate, discontinue Minoxidil treatment and re-consult your dermatologist.
Correct Use of Hair Products
As important as it is to clean your hair regularly, using too much product or the wrong products can have negative effects on your scalp health. The shampoo you use can play a big part in the dryness of your scalp. The itchiness you feel could be a direct result of leftover shampoo on your scalp due to an inadequate rinse. For the most part, always be gentle with your scalp and hair and many causes of irritation can be easily remedied:
- Use relatively small amounts of shampoo. A dollop about an inch in diameter is usually more than enough for short to medium length hair.
- Along the same lines, don’t scrape your scalp every time you apply shampoo. Massage the product lightly into the roots.
- Be gentle when combing out your hair. Don’t pull at it too hard.
- Be gentle when drying your hair, too! Let it air dry whenever possible. Don’t scuff up your hair every time you hop out of the shower! Use scrunching motions, with pressure applied evenly throughout the scalp.
- Throw away your shampoo and look for the right one for your scalp and hair type.
Sensitive skin or hyperreactive skin, as categorized by symptoms like burning and pain on the scalp, may be a result of environmental factors ranging from UV radiation to stress. Patients with this type of skin should steer clear of hair products with irritating additives. Instead, use shampoos with anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory ingredients such as bisabolol and that are free of things like colorants, perfumes and silicones.
These are your best bets to properly care for your scalp.
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