This year’s season of rain and regrowth should focus on more than just maintaining the tidiness of your home. You should include your health and well-being in the spring cleaning process. Your head, especially, should not be overlooked! Scalp health is the key to keeping your average one hundred thousand hair follicles at peak performance and to promote the best environment for hair growth. Just like the skin covering the rest of your body, a few layers of tissue make up the scalp. The bottom layers are the healthiest, this is where your hair follicles and sweat/sebaceous glands are, and the top layer is mostly a cemetery for dead skin cells. Scalp care routines are often centered around the removal of excess dead tissue, as this prevents common issues such as clogged follicles and irritation.
There are several scalp treatments that you should consider adding to your routine, including methods of exfoliation, protection, and even changes to your diet.
Preventing dry and dead skin
A dry scalp is a common culprit for itchiness and dandruff, among other issues. Preserving moisture is critical in maintaining a healthy environment for hair growth. You can take simple precautions to prevent over-drying and promote cell turnover.
- Exfoliation – This method gently clears away dead tissue on the surface of the scalp and boosts the cell turnover process. Because the scalp itself is not as accessible as the rest of the skin on your body, there are products and shampoos meant to do this job. Shampoos containing salicylic acid help to treat dry skin or dandruff and wash away excess sebum (oil). Avoid skin scrub products like sugar or apricot scrubs with harsh granules. These can cause micro-cuts in the skin and leave you susceptible to infection.
- Revise your showering routine – Most people prefer to shower daily, but this could actually be drying your skin. Washing your hair less frequently allows the natural oils in your scalp to nurture the skin and new hair growth, preventing dryness. Avoid exposing your scalp to hot water as much as possible. A shower cap could help, and use lukewarm water while washing your hair instead to ensure that you are not washing all of the sebum away when rinsing. Once or twice a week, allow your hair to air dry rather than using the hot air of a blowdryer and further damaging your hair and scalp tissue.
We all know that UV protection is essential for the rest of the skin on our bodies; Don’t ignore your scalp! Sunlight can damage your scalp tissue and cause burns too. Luckily there are available shampoos that contain sunscreen to prevent these issues. Even wearing a hat can help block the UV rays and will keep your scalp out of direct sunlight. Just be sure that sweat caused by wearing it gets washed thoroughly to prevent irritation.
UV rays are not the only external threat to avoid, but chemical treatments for your hair can also have harmful effects on your scalp, such as drying or causing chemical burns. Limit your cosmetic chemical treatments and have a professional perform them; it is their job to both make you look great and preserve your hair and scalp’s health.
Why diet is important
Our skin’s health is directly related to the food we consume, as the nutrients are provided to our cells to allow them to function correctly. For the scalp, caring for these cells help them to grow healthy hair that is resistant to damage. Vitamins like A, C, and B are essential in maintaining the structural integrity of your hair and are instrumental in producing a large part of the hair structure. Remember that feeding yourself the best kind of foods also feeds your scalp