Being the birthplace of hair it is important that we have a basic understanding of the scalp's structure and functions before undertaking any healthy hair endeavour.
Okay, enough small talk. Let's get to it!
THE SCALP 101
Like the rest of the body’s skin, the scalp is made up of 3 layers: The Epidermis (uppermost/visible layer), The Dermis (middle), & The Subcutaneous (bottom) layer.
The scalp differs slightly, however, in that it has larger oil glands than the skin on the rest of body, which means that it produces more sebum - the body’s natural oil. On the uppermost layer of the scalp, flakes of keratinised cells form and shed on a daily basis, but this natural process is completely invisible to the naked eye. When the scalp’s moisture levels drop below 10%, however, this natural flaking process is thrown out of sync and accelerated. This is when we begin to experience dandruff and other issues associated with scalp dryness.
While genetically low sebum production levels and hormonal imbalances can cause some to struggle with chronic scalp dryness, most cases are self-induced and can be avoided by making a habit out of these three simple tips.
#1 - DRINK UP
Much like beauty, you’ll find that scalp dryness is also not just skin deep. Water from within the body migrates upwards (through the skin’s layers) and outwards (through the process of evaporation). So it makes sense that the first step to keeping our scalps from getting dry is drinking enough water to constantly supply it with all the hydration it will need. If you are dehydrated, your body will supply little moisture to the upper layers of your skin and scalp.
There’s a very affordable beauty tip for you ladies.
And you didn’t even need to go to the beauty supply store for that one
Thank us later
#2 - AVOID APPLYING HEAVY/GREASY PRODUCTS DIRECTLY TO YOUR SCALP
Being somewhat an extension of your face, your scalp has pores(follicles) and also needs to breathe. Heavy oils/excessive sebum production can build up and turn wax-like over time and combine with the natural flaking process to form tough blockages to the hair follicles. When this happens on our faces it results in a pimple, but when this happens on the scalp, hairs are simply forced to push through the build up. This forced motion can lead to scalp irritation, itchiness, dryness and negatively affect the quality of the growing hair itself.
#3 - A WASH A DAY WILL KEEP THE DANDRUFF AT BAY
It naturally follows on from our previous tip that in order to make sure you avoid the detrimental effects of build up on the scalp, frequent use of cleansers and conditioners (i.e. every 7-10 days) is necessary to keep the scalp hydrated, clutter free, and sebum production at an equilibrium.
Okay, so maybe not a wash a day, but you get what we mean
And it rhymed so you won’t be forgetting that one anytime soon….
Finally, for my girls who suspect they may suffer from low sebum production, light sebum-mimicking oils like Jojoba or Coconut are great alternatives that can be applied to the scalp in moderate doses to make up for the lack of sebum and maintain a moisturised scalp.