DANDRUFF, itchiness and unsightly flakes in your hair all point to the fact your scalp is in desperate need of some TLC.
Experts say you should treat it in the same way you do your skin. Why? Because your scalp is your skin.
“Just like facial skin, the scalp can get a bit cranky when it’s not cared for,” explains Philip Kingsley trichologist Anabel Kingsley. “If you don’t cleanse it often enough, dead skin cells, sweat, pollution and oils can accumulate on the surface.”
This can lead to more problems like irritation and even hair loss. An unhappy scalp makes for miserable hair, too – it could cause dry ends, lifeless colour and lack of volume.
“The hair grows from the follicle, and if this is under stress or friction, it can restrict growth and vitality,” says Andrew Barton, creative director at Headmasters.
“Look for warning signs that you would take note of on your face, for example redness, itching, flaking, pimples and oiliness,” advises Anabel.
Experts say you should give your treat your scalp in the same you do your skin – because your scalp is your skin[/caption]
Also, if your hair is difficult to style and your roots feel greasy when locks are clean, it may be that you have an excessively oily scalp that needs attention.
Here’s how to give it a boost.
We tend to think an exfoliating shampoo will banish flakes, but Andrew says this may aggravate it further.
Equally, ignoring the problem can make it worse.
The Body Shop Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo prevents growth of bacteria, soothes and gently gets rid of flakes[/caption]
- The Body Shop Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, £7.50 from The Body Shop — buy now
Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Toner is oil-free and fragrance-free[/caption]
- Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Toner, £9.50 from Philip Kingsley — buy now
“The best way to care for a distressed scalp is by gently cleansing it in warm water,” he advises. Scratching an itchy scalp will make it feel better temporarily, but you could aggravate skin to the point of infection. Don’t try to banish dandruff by “hydrating” it with oil.
“Dandruff is an oily condition, so rubbing oil into the scalp will make flakes harder to remove,” Anabel says.
Wash daily with an anti-microbial shampoo, such as The Body Shop Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, £7.50. This prevents growth of bacteria, soothes and gently gets rid of flakes.
Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Toner, £9.50, is oil-free, fragrance-free and works immediately thanks to dandruff-fighting piroctone olamine.
It’s tempting to “wash and go” when you’re in a hurry, but this can affect the health of your scalp – and therefore your hair. “Quickly applying shampoo and rinsing isn’t going to get rid of dead skin cells,sweat, oil or products, so instead take your time,” says Anabel.
Green People Irritated Scalp Shampoo contains coconut to cleanse the scalp[/caption]
- Green People Irritated Scalp Shampoo, £13.50 from Green People — buy now
Be more thorough by performing a massage ritual.
“Use gentle pressure with your fingertips in a circular motion around the head,” Andrew advises. “This will increase circulation to the scalp and encourage hair growth.”
Green People Irritated Scalp Shampoo, £13.50, contains coconut to cleanse the scalp, plus soothing aloe vera.
CLEAN UP YOUR ACT
“The scalp is an extension of the skin on your forehead and needs to be cleansed regularly in order to be healthy,” says Anabel.
“It produces sebum via the sebaceous glands, which are vital to hair health but also need to be kept in check – too much sebum causes hair to look greasy,” Andrew explains.
- Sachajuan Scalp Conditioner, £22 from Cult Beauty — buy now
Arbonne True Hair Daily Shampoo helps get rid of the build-up of grime and scalp-damaging nasties[/caption]
- Arbonne True Hair Daily Shampoo, £24 from Arbonne — buy now
Try a sulphate-free shampoo, which is kinder to skin as it won’t completely strip away sebum but won’t leave your hair looking oily either. Arbonne True Hair Daily Shampoo, £24, contains pea protein to get rid of the build-up of grime and scalp-damaging nasties. And add a scalp-focused conditioner to your routine.
Sachajuan Scalp Conditioner, £22, contains fungal-fighting ingredient climbazole to soothe, plus salicylic acid to aid cell regeneration, and rosemary oil and oats to hydrate.
The more anxious you are, the more this is reflected in your skin – your scalp included.
“Yoga or even stretching for a few minutes per day will improve overall blood circulation and therefore the health of your scalp,” says Andrew.
Kerluxe Aquavol Hair Mask contains oats – which are brilliant for sensitive skin[/caption]
- Kerluxe Aquavol Hair Mask, £46 from Kerluxe — buy now
Plus it’ll do wonders for your mindset – two wins for the price of one!
To de-stress your scalp, apply a weekly hair mask with skin benefits. Kerluxe Aquavol Hair Mask, £46, is the real deal when it comes to skincare for your scalp. It contains oats – which are brilliant for sensitive skin – and peptides to nourish
it to the max and strengthen locks.
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“When your body is in poor health, it often affects the scalp and quality of hair growth,” explains Andrew.
Nutritional deficiencies, like a lack of vitamin C, can cause a dry scalp and sometimes even hair loss.
Viviscal Maximum Strength Hair Growth Supplements will help revitalise hair[/caption]
- Viviscal Maximum Strength Hair Growth Supplements, £29.99 for 60 from Boots — buy now
A red, itchy scalp is usually caused by too much salt and sugar in your diet and not enough essential fats like those found in salmon and avocado.
Up your protein intake by eating plenty of red meat, oily fish and green vegetables. “Avoid full-fat dairy products and spicy foods, as well as white wine and champagne,” says Anabel. It’s thought dandruff is caused by an overgrowth of a yeast on the scalp, which white wine can trigger if you’re prone to flakes.
You could try Viviscal Maximum Strength Hair Growth Supplements, £29.99 for 60, which have protein, vitamin C, plus horsetail extract to revitalise hair.
Stockists: Arbonne (Arbonne.com), Green People (Greenpeople.co.uk), Kerluxe (Kerluxe.com), Philip Kingsley (Philipkingsley.co.uk), Sachajuan (Cultbeauty.co.uk), The Body Shop (Thebodyshop.com), Viviscal (Boots.com)