While an annoying and sometimes sore scalp can flare up at any time of the year, many of us (me included) start detoxing our wardrobes and cupboards in spring, so why not sort that itchy flaky scalp out now too?
Low vitamin D plays a part in the following conditions and when the sun finally arrives this will help the skin cell turnover. But until then, the following pointers should help.
The single most important factor in helping to keep your scalp healthy is frequent shampooing, preferably daily. This may go against everything you’ve previously believed but the skin cells of your body and scalp are continually undergoing a daily shedding and renewal process.
And the good news is that if you’re concerned that you’ve got dandruff, you may actually find that it’s lack of shampooing that has resulted in the accumulation of normal dead skin cells. Shampooing also rids the scalp of excess oil, unpleasant odour, dirt and outside pollutants but although people are washing their hair more often these days, two major myths still exist regarding shampooing:
- It will increase or cause hair loss.
- It strips the oil from the hair, thus affecting shine and condition
Both of these are UNTRUE. Shampoos do not interfere with your hair growth but it is normal to shed some hair every day. This will naturally accumulate the longer your hair remains unwashed and will look like more with long hair.
And contrary to popular belief, oil naturally secreted by the sebaceous glands, which are attached to hair follicles, does not travel along the hair but stays on the scalp. Dry shampoos can be used as a temporary measure, but ideally you should wash it out within 24 hours.
The act of shampooing is a balancing act between being too gentle (if you’re worried about hair loss), and being too aggressive which is also bad. A few seconds of normal finger pressure and thoroughness is all that is required, but you must be sure all the areas of both the scalp and hair are cleaned.
There are very many different scalp conditions ranging from simple dandruff to serious infections and fungal conditions such as ringworm (although this last one is rare). These all have their own symptoms such as irritation and inflammation all with varying degrees of severity.
Dandruff, eczema and psoriasis
Most adults will experience dandruff at some point which is a non-inflammatory excessive scaling. There is still controversy as to the exact cause but specific treatments with the right shampoos and scalp lotions are normally successful even if not a miracle cure.
Your individual genetics, hormonal factors, diet, emotional stress and other factors unique to you can also be major influences particularly in INFLAMMATORY scalp conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Temporary hair loss
All scalp conditions can cause you TEMPORARY hair loss, directly or in the case of scratching, indirectly. There’s also something called PITYRIASIS AMIANTACEA, or more commonly adult cradle cap, which is often misdiagnosed as psoriasis. This results in a gradual excessive build- up of skin cell plaques on the scalp and along the hair shaft which looks a bit like overlapping tiles on a roof. But the good news is that the hair follicles are not permanently affected and full regrowth of hair always returns.
All scalp conditions are helped by frequent shampooing, drinking lots of water and minimising dairy products, particularly cheese. Severe irritation, pruritus, can sometimes be exacerbated by WHITE wines and particularly champagne.
You may not be familiar with the phrase “scalp facial” but the idea of an exfoliating and cleansing treatment regime for your scalp makes sense in the same way it does for your face. Depending on your condition I offer bespoke follow up treatments which will encourage gorgeous, healthy hair.
Whatever hair or scalp issues you may be struggling with, you really need to get to the root of the problem (excuse the pun) because a healthy scalp environment does result in healthier and stronger hair. And as a qualified and experienced Trichologist I will be able to identify the exact cause of a problem relatively quickly and start getting your scalp and hair back to good health.