Why is Scalp Important and What Does it Do?
Most of us put all our focus on our skincare and haircare routine that we tend to forget that scalp care is just as important. Similar to the skin on our face, our scalp is also prone to aging and UV damage. A surprising fact is that the scalp ages 12 times faster than the skin in our body and 6 times faster than the skin in our face. Although the scalp will not show wrinkles like what we see in our facial skin, the scalp can become thin and lose its elasticity over time which can then lead to hair loss, thinning, or damaged hair follicles.
But what does it really do and why is it important?
A healthy scalp is vital in cultivating a healthy environment for the hair follicles to grow and continue to flourish. There are a few scalp treatments that target different scalp issues, but the best treatments can help restore moisture to dry scalp while also help in balancing the natural oils of the scalp. Check out below the most common scalp issues and tips to achieving a healthy scalp.
4 Common Scalp Issues
DANDRUFF AND BUILDUP
Those white flakes on your scalp called dandruff can be embarrassing especially if they get so bad that they start to fall on your clothes every time you scratch your head. However, you are not the only one who suffers from it. According to research, almost 50 percent of the adult population suffers from dandruff and it’s more common than you think. Fortunately, it is not contagious, but it can be uncomfortable and itchy.
Dandruff is caused by too much oil and yeast buildup that causes skin cells to shed and flake. Here are the common causes of dandruff:
- Dry skin
- Product allergy or food sensitivities
- Not washing the hair enough or washing too much
- Medical conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, or eczema
Check out below how for DIY treatments.
DRY FLAKY SCALP
Dry scalp happens when your hair loses water causing it to dry, flake, and itch. But how is it different from dandruff? With dry scalp, the main cause is the lack of moisture while for dandruff, the main cause is too much oil and yeast growth. They often get confused together because they show almost the same effect. What are the common causes of dry scalp? Check out below:
- Contact dermatitis or contact eczema
- Allergic to certain hair products
- Weather change
- Unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle
HEAD LICE, RINGWORM AND FUNGUS
Hair and scalp nightmare? Head lice and ringworms can cultivate in your scalp if you do not take proper care of your scalp health. Head lice are tiny insects on the scalp that suck and feed on blood. They usually grow 2-3 mm long and lay eggs to multiply. It can be very itchy and when left untreated can affect the scalp’s health and its ability to grow healthy hair.
Another scalp nightmare is ringworm or tinea capitis. This is caused by fungal infection and can cause bald patches. Some of the symptoms are red scaly rash, itchiness, round red pimple-like patches. Just like head lice, they can be very contagious.
Treatment for these scalp nightmares varies from over-the-counter antifungal medication, topical creams, antifungal shampoos, or at home remedies. It is best to consult with your doctor quickly if you see symptoms of ringworms and head lice.
Scalp folliculitis or the inflammation of hair follicles is a sin condition that is called by yeast or ingrown hair. They look like red bumps that can be very itchy and sometimes painful. There are several types of folliculitis:
- Hoffman disease exhibits reoccurring large pustules (pus) and nodules that can lead to alopecia.
- Razor burns or tiny red bumps from ingrown hair.
- Eosinophilic folliculitis is another pus-filled skin lesion.
- Bacterial folliculitis is caused by a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus.
- Gram-negative folliculitis is a pus-filled pimple that can be a result of long-term use of antibiotics.
If you see signs of pus, skin lesions, or inflammation, please consult your dermatologist for diagnosis and medication.
DIY at Home Scalp Care
How do you take care of your scalp? Here are some tips and ways to do so at the comforts of your home:
Use a Scalp Massage Brush
A scalp massage brush has many hair and scalp benefits such as:
- Exfoliates the scalp, and remove dirt and excess oil buildup
- Reduce and prevent dandruff
- Increase blood circulation that can help with healthy hair growth and strengthen hair follicles
- Helps reduce head tension
How to use it:
Wet hair and apply a hair cleanser or shampoo then use the scalp brush in a circular motion in gentle pressure. Do this 3-4 times a week. We recommend this gentle silicone brush from M3 Naturals that has a multi-functional use as a scalp scrubber and cellulite exfoliating brush.
Salicylic acid is a BHA skincare product that can also be used to treat dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. It works by exfoliating the scalp and get rid of excess oil and product buildup, kill bacteria, and reduce itchiness.
How to use it:
Apply salicylic acid on scalp and leave it on for 10 minutes then use a gentle shampoo. Do not use more than twice a week.
A controlled trial has shown that rosemary is as effective as minoxidil in helping hair growth. Other studies also suggested that rosemary helps with controlling and treating dandruff. When using rosemary oil, make sure to dilute it with carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil to avoid irritation. You may also make a rosemary rinse at home using the following:
- 5 rosemary leaves
- 5 cups of water
Instructions:1. Add 5 rosemary leaves into 5 cups of boiling water
2. Leave it for 15-20 minutes
3. Let it steep and cool
4. Transfer to a jar
5. Shampoo and condition your hair and use it as a hair rinse
Check out this TikTok from for inspiration @audreyvictoria_
@audreyvictoria_ Reply to @martynaastasiewicz my new obsession for hair growth ✨ #rosemarywater #hairgrowth #longhair #hairgrowthtips #hairtok ♬ Seaside_demo by SEB - SEB
Panahi. (2015). Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed, 13(1). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25842469/