How to keep your Scalp Healthy?
Updated: May 19
Every summer this happens to me where I'm scratching my head uncontrollably. It's extra terrible especially now that its lockdown and I can't go to the parlor for my regular hair treatments. I suffer from hormonal issues which causes my scalp to become dry and itchy. But over the years I have learned how to keep my scalp clean and healthy. Because if you don't you will suffer from terrible dandruff which will, in turn, cause more hair fall and which slows down your hair growth.
I have done a whole Blog post on causes and how to manage dandruff which you can check: Click here
You have to understand the difference between dandruff and plain itchiness. Everybody gets itchy scalp every now and then and you may get white flakes but that's also caused because of dryness which happens if you are using a drying shampoo or not drinking enough water especially in the summers. Not all white flakes are dandruff there are other scalp conditions but if not controlled or managed can lead to dandruff which can be severe or can be a condition known as seborrheic dermatitis (a more severe form of dandruff)
Now the reasons we get itchy scalp are:
Not shampooing enough (especially the back of our head we tend to not wash properly in the middle)
Using the wrong shampoo according to hair type (a lot of us buy and use shampoo according to our hair type but we look at our hair length and not our scalp and the main reason we need shampoo is to clean our scalp)
Oily and greasy scalp
Dry scalp (which happens in winters mostly or if you don't drink enough water in summers)
Product buildup (this happens when you use a lot of hair products like creams and sprays)
Too much dry shampoo
There are a few ways you can manage this itchy scalp situation.
First being please wash your hair. the myth that the more you wash your hair the more you get hair fall is seriously not true. In fact, if you don't wash off that gunk on your hair will cause hair fall and scalp infection. So if you are someone who travels a lot (Okay that sounds like a joke in this quarantine but still) or if you exercise often and your scalp gets sweaty then please wash your hair. Use a mild shampoo if you wash it often and use an exfoliating shampoo if you wash it less often. But see that you don't use too much and it works for your scalp. Ginger, tea tree, and green tea or mint are ingredients that work best for itchy scalp.
If you are someone who doesn't shampoo often and use dry shampoo see that you wash your hair properly otherwise it causes buildup and makes your scalp prone to infection. Overuse of dry shampoo even if its organic leads to scalp dryness.
Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a chemical, granular substance, or tools like a brush or silicone cleanser. Exfoliation brings newer, healthier skin cells to the surface. Now we already know this since we do exfoliate our skin either we use Physical or chemical Exfoliants but we tend to not think about our scalp. which needs just as much attention because if you don't have a healthy scalp you will suffer from dandruff and hair loss related issues. Scalp exfoliation also works the same way it also has physical and chemical exfoliation.
Yes, you have scrubs for your hair too. You would find it funny that you have to use a scrub for your hair but we have been using powder mask for hair for a long time. The natural hair packs we make at home or more like our grandmother made for us was nothing but for exfoliating our scalp. The powder helped to soak up the buildup and oil on the scalp which in turn made our hair grow. If we exfoliate our scalp properly that causes stimulation which in turn helps our hair grow faster. This is a great step for people who suffer from slow hair growth. The natural Hair packs really helped me but I hate doing them at home by myself since its a lot of work and it gets messy so the next best thing is the hair scrubs. There are brands that have powder packs and masks for hair which you can check out if you like powder exfoliation for your hair. Powders are a more natural way to go for your hair so If you prefer organic products then powders are meant for you.
One of the first scrubs I tried was The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea. I was skeptical at first and I didn't know the right way to use it. The right way to use it wash your hair with a mild shampoo before (this step is required if you have dirty hair if not then you can skip it) then take a pea-size amount of this scrub mix it with water. Now the oil stays on top and the scrub granules are down so see that you scoop out both equally. Then scrub your hair. The granules aren't harsh and they dissolve pretty quickly. The scalp feel super refreshed and clean. Always condition your hair after using this since it can get drying even with the oil. It doesn't completely dry your scalp though just the length of the hair. Use this only once in 15 days and it smells amazing.
To buy it: Click here
You can check the small review I have done on this on my Instagram page: Click here
This one has been a recent edition, I basically bought this because I saw a lot of other bloggers love it and it has tiny particles in it which help exfoliate the scalp better. This does have tiny granules but they aren't dense or too big so its a really mild exfoliant. It does have charcoal and clay in it which helps soaks up the dirt and the product build-up and give a nice clean scalp. It does do that but somehow I am not the biggest fan of this one. I 'll be reviewing this one soon on my blog in detail. If you have really oily scalp and you need something to remove that product build-up then you can definitely check this out since its mild and you can use this more often without causing problems. Also, this doesn't completely dry your hair unless you have colored treated hair then please use a conditioner. This mask can be used before and after shampoo or in place of shampoo.
To buy it: Click here
If you don't want to invest in a separate hair scrub you can get a silicone cleanser like this where you use it on your scalp with your regular shampoo. This is better if you have thick curly hair if you have thin hair which breaks easily this isn't for you.
Now lets come to chemical exfoliation for the scalp. The way you use chemical exfoliation for your skin the same way you can use it for your scalp too but the one ingredient that is recommended is Glycolic acid. Since this doesn't strip your scalp of the natural oils and just cleans it out and gives the scalp a good exfoliation which helps the pores on the scalp to stay clean and which in turn helps in hair growth. A lot of us didn't even know that we could do this well its a recent discovery I started the chemical peel off for my scalp around a year or so back but I did in parlors only since I didn't want to do anything wrong but recently I have started doing it at home since right now we don't have much choice in that matter anyway.
L'OREAL Professionnel SERIE EXPERT ZNPT + GLYCOLIC ACID Clear Dose Cleansing Treatment.
I'm pretty sure you are hearing about this one for the first time and if you think you know what this is you are confusing this with the same range shampoo named L'Oreal Professionnel Instant Clear Znpt+Citric Acid Anti Dandruff Shampoo. The shampoo doesn't have glycolic acid so the shampoo isn't an exfoliant but this tube treatment is. Its meant to be used once in 12 days if you have severe dandruff and if it is mild you can also use it once a month which I prefer doing. Now, this treatment is only done in parlors, and that's why getting your hands on this is a little difficult as it is only meant for professional parlor use. They don't have instructions on how to use these tubes.
Now I have been doing this treatment which is known as Soft peel in the parlor for over a year and I have seen a huge difference. Only proper Loreal certified parlors do this. The way to use this is first to wash your hair with mild shampoo if you have any oil residue or any product build-up then after rinsing out the shampoo take this tube to apply it on the scalp and then use your fingers and gently massage it. It works like a shampoo where it foams up. Leave the product for like 5 mins and then wash it off and then conditioner your hair length. One tube works for one time. Just concentrate on your scalp and don't use this on the length of your hair. This will thoroughly clean your scalp and you feel this really nice cooling sensation, this stimulation also helps with hair growth.
Now this tube is only if you suffer from the itchy and flaky scalp and dandruff if you don't and just have some product build up every now and then, this isn't for you.
To buy it online: Click here
It's difficult to get your hands on this but if you have beauty stores nearby ask them they usually have all parlor related items. If you are scared of using the tube and just want a basic exfoliating shampoo for dandruff then check out the shampoo of the same range: To buy that: Click here
Since it is difficult to find a product for hair that has glycolic acid in it you can just use the glycolic toner you are using for your face. Since the one we are using for the face is anyway mild it can be used for our scalp issues too. Now Pixie is the one I am using since that's the one I own but if you own some other brand even if it's mixed with green tea or rose water it's perfectly fine or you can also use the Glycolic acid toner from the Ordinary but remember that the ordinary one is 7% so it's gonna sting a little. The one thing to remember before using any kind of glycolic acid toner is that your scalp isn't dirty and also it's not wet. It needs to be clean and dry otherwise the glycolic acid makes your scalp itchier which isn't something we are looking for. Wash off with your regular mild shampoo and condition your hair length. The toner is applied only on the scalp and not on the hair so be careful.
Specifying a few glycolic acid toners:
Pixie Glow tonic (available on Sephora)
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% (check cult beauty I buy from @crimson.luxe on the Instagram page)
Pure by Priyanka Green tea toner (check their website)
Dr.Sheth's Gulab and Glycolic toner (order from their website you can use my code MERCHANTPOST for 20% off)
Okay now that we have covered up exfoliation part lets come to another part. The power of essential oil now I know this topic is controversial and sometimes it's not the best for our skin but there are some oils that are great for our hair especially our scalp which causes stimulation which helps with keeping the scalp clean and helps in the hair growth process. The few oils that help are Tea tree(for dandruff and itching), rosemary(for hair growth), peppermint(for scalp infections), and lavender(for soothing rashes). Always remember to mix these with some kind of carrier it can be another cold-pressed oil or it can be any kind of gel or it can be your shampoo or hair mask, just never use these oils directly and max 3 to 4 drops and not more than that and also don't use more than two essential oils at the same time.
Now my fav is obviously tea tree oil since it can be used in many ways and its the best when it comes to itchy dandruff scalp. Now you can use the tea tree oil in different ways but my fav is mixing it with aloe vera gel just see that the aloe gel you are using doesn't have alcohol in it. You can use the homemade gel from your aloe plant or you can use any other brand aloe gel and mix 2 to 3 drops of tea tree oil in it. Mix it well and then apply it on your scalp concentrating on parts that are itchier. The aloe helps to nourish your scalp and the tea tree helps with any dandruff related symptoms. Tea tree doesn't truly solve all your dandruff issues but it does keep your scalp clean which is the main aim here. You can do this once a week but see that you don't apply this if you already have oil on your scalp. If the scalp is dirty it's fine the tea tree will still work just don't overdo it otherwise it will dry out your scalp and make it flaky.
If you are someone who hates to use essential oil because you never know the right quantity you need to mix and it causes a problem then you can always just use products that have the ingredients you need for a healthy scalp like a ginger shampoo or green tea conditioner. Now my fav is the Tea tree hair mask from Mamaearth, it really works for me. You can use this twice a week if you have severe itchy scalp like me. Like for me the humid it gets the worst it gets. So I really prefer keeping my scalp clean and this mask helps me do that. I have already reviewed this on my blog with other hair masks from this brand do check that out to know how exactly to use this mask the right way. To check out the review Click here
Since the journey to the parlor seems far away to me I have started doing a few home remedies since I can use all the help I can get to keep my scalp clean and stay away from dandruff. These are tried and tested by me but you should definitely always do a patch test when it comes to using any kind of DIY since not all ingredients work for all. I have dry scalp and not oily but the dryness causes oil buildup too.
👉Rice water: Now you can do this in two ways either soak the rice for half an hour and use that water or you can boil the rice and use that water. I always boil my rice and use that water since I feel that has the most starch which helps with the hair. Now what I do is I keep the rice water aside to cool properly. I use the rice water in the shower after I finish shampooing. I let the rice water stay in my hair for at least 5 mins. I rinse my hair afterward with plain water and see that you don't use hot water. This method is great if you have dry frizzy hair.
👉Green tea with vitamin E: I tend to use the mint green tea for this it works the best if you don't have mint tea then just add in the mint leaves while boiling the water. The mint gives the hair a refreshing feeling and helps with the itchiness. You can also add peppermint essential oil. I brew the tea and add in the vitamin E in a spray bottle and keep it in the fridge then spray the liquid on my scalp and massage it keep it for 15 to 20 mins then wash my hair off with my regular shampoo and conditioner. This method is better for oily scalp since green tea works to keep the PH level in check.
Change Pillow covers:
We tend to get product build up because our pillow covers too especially when we don't change it every week. This also causes face acne since our scalp dirt is transferred on the pillow which also touches our face and this is how we get acne on the sides of our face and foreheads. So change your pillowcase every week. Also, silk covers are pretty for your hair texture compared to pure cotton ones. Cotton tends to break out hair and also gets dirty faster.
I know I have done the whole dandruff post already but people who don't suffer from dandruff also need to keep their scalp clean since they can get it too. A lot of us use a lot of hair products and also travel in the heat and go gym and sweat but instead of washing our hair, we prefer dry shampoo. Sometimes that works but depending on that is just wrong and it will cause long term issues. So if you are someone who has slow hair growth or has itchy scalp just follow the above-mentioned methods to keep your scalp clean and healthy and in turn, it will help with keeping your hair more manageable and will help with hair growth.
Check out the hair category for more information on different hair related topics: Click here
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