As we leave winter and embrace the warmer months, you’ll no doubt be preparing your body for the new season. And although hair removal, fake tan and fresh nails are definitely essential steps, there’s still one area that always seems to get neglected – your scalp. Even if you spent all winter slathering your face and limbs with deeply nourishing moisturisers, it’s hard to do the same with your scalp.
So now that spring is here, why not take the opportunity to give your scalp a bit of TLC? While you’re spring cleaning your wardrobe and beauty bags, take some time to get your scalp sorted too. Whether you’re dealing with dandruff, a dry scalp, an itchy scalp or a sensitive scalp, we spoke to dermatologist Dr Samuel to find out how to get a healthy, happy scalp for spring.
What are some common scalp issues that I might experience?
Regardless of your hair type, you can still encounter scalp troubles. Dr Samuel says that this is all down to our genetic makeup. “Internally our hormones control how oily or dry our skin will be,” he says. “An example of this would be those who have fine hair, who may find that the sebum produced from our skin can weigh their hair down and make it more limp than someone with coarse hair.” These differences in hair types can therefore result in all different types of scalp issues, including dryness, tightness, scaling or flaking, itchiness or hormonal oiliness.
Autoimmune diseases can also directly affect the health of your scalp. “Unfortunately autoimmune diseases are also completely internal and we have no control or cure for it,” says Dr Samuel. “But we can treat the symptoms so always speak to a trusted hairdresser to get advice on how to best treat your scalp whilst protecting and managing your individual hair type.”
How do I know if my scalp needs a cleanse?
Been finding that your scalp is drier than usual? According to Dr Samuel, this is a very common experience over the colder months. “This is usually due to the lack of UV rays and the change in the humidity, caused by heating and exposure to the cold,” he says. But as the weather warms up, our hair conditions change and spring is the perfect time to work on your scalp health.
And just like great skin comes with regular cleansing and exfoliation, a healthy scalp comes from a deep cleanse of the hair. “We need to cleanse our scalps to keep the skin clear of pollution from the atmosphere and debris in general,” says Dr Samuel. “The hair can trap oil, sweat and heat, which means the scalp can become a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. This irritate the skin and causes you to itch.” A regular deep cleanse of the scalp can prevent yeast from thriving within your natural scalp oils and stop irritation.
How often do I need to cleanse my scalp?
Regularly shampooing and conditioning with great products is obviously a very important part of maintaining healthy hair. But according to Dr Samuel, many of us (including myself!) aren’t washing our hair often enough. “The biggest misconception I come across is that people think it is best to not wash their hair for a week, which is not correct in most cases,” he says. “Our hair traps dead skin, oil and foreign matter, so it has no way of escaping from the scalp unlike the rest of the skin on our body.”
But when is it time to give your hair an even deeper clean? Dr Samuel says that after using lots of styling products or being exposed to chlorine or debris, it’s time for a good scrub with a deep-cleaning product. “The No More Snow – Hair Stimulant & Anti-Dandruff Shampoo will gently deep clean the hair and Let Them Grow – Exfoliating Scalp Scrub will exfoliate the scalp and replenish its natural oils,” he suggests. “It also contains a mild surfactant which unblocks the hair pores and helps your hair follicles to grow.”
When we’re at the hair salon and we want to give our hair a bit of a treat, we often go for the bright and shiny treatments that work on the condition of our hair. However, in the name of scalp health, Dr Samuel asks that we reconsider this choice. “Have a new approach to hair treatments and ask to have a scalp treatment instead,” he says. “It’s almost like a facial for the scalp and scalp exfoliation is anti-ageing. We must remember where our hair grows from and start treating that as our priority and focus.” Another must-do for a healthy scalp according to Dr Samuel is a gentle exfoliation of the scalp at home.
Is there anything I should avoid to help maintain a healthy scalp?
We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the all the information that is out there about scalp health. Potential scalp irritants are increasingly identified through further research and consumer experience with certain products and ingredients. Dr Samuel says there are a few things to look out for if you’re experiencing scalp irritation. “Highly fragranced products, extreme temperatures and harsh cleansers can cause irritation or contact allergy,” he says. Take stock of what you’re currently using on your hair and speak to a professional about whether the products may be causing sensitivity in your scalp. Luckily, there are now a plethora of brands that are recognising these needs and catering with some excellent products that will be gentle on your scalp and hair.