The importance of keeping your scalp healthy

Eva Proudman Consultant Trichologist portrait image smilingBy Eva Proudman on June 17th, 2024

The scalp forms a staggering 7% of our total skin and contains around 180,000 oil glands so it’s important to look after it, in the same way we look after the skin on our face, body and feet. With scalp health issues increasingly grabbing the media headlines, here we ask Consultant Trichologist Eva Proudman for advice on what contributes to the overall health of the scalp and how to mitigate against common conditions.

What factors contribute to poor scalp health?

Infrequent washing

The scalp needs to be cleansed and managed, ideally, I would recommend washing daily or every other day to keep it clean and well balanced for optimum hair health.

Harsh or ineffective cleansers (shampoos)

some shampoos can have high levels of SLS in them which can dry and dehydrate the hair and scalp, others have no sulphates in them and do not effectively clean, both are detrimental to the overall health of the scalp.  Generally, MEA and TEA sulphates make good cleansers that do not dry or dehydrate the hair and scalp but do cleanse very effectively.

Product build up on the scalp

Using dry shampoo for a few days without washing it off can cause a build-up on the scalp that can lead to irritation and inflammation. If the scalp is not balanced the hair cannot grow as well as it should.

Scalp scrubs that contain beads and particles

These can be way too harsh on the scalp skin and can irritate.  Using an effective cream-based cleanser is much better as a therapeutic deep scalp clean and rebalance. I recommend using this on a monthly basis. The TTR scalp cream that I helped to develop is brilliant for this treatment.

Scalp conditions such as seborrhoeic dermatitis

This can be caused by a number of triggers such as the weather in the Autumn and Winter, stress, illness and diet.  The best way to manage this condition is by combining a treatment shampoo and frequency of washing.  Juniper Therapy treatment shampoo is brilliant on this condition giving great relief, scalp balance and healthy hair.  

Scalp Psoriasis

This is an autoimmune condition causing the skin to regenerate 5 times more quickly than normal, leading to inflammation, flaking and a thickened silver plaque. It can be incredibly itchy too.  GP’s will use steroid lotions to thin the plaques, Trichologists use a Keratolytic cream to soften and lift the plaque alongside a Therapy shampoo that can be used daily to clear the scalp. 

How can ageing impact scalp health?

As with the rest of the skin, age can cause the scalp to become more dry or oilier, which can affect the health of the hair in terms of both growth and shedding.  Ensuring that the scalp is well balanced is key to healthy hair growth.  We can also develop irritation and allergies to products that we have used in the past such as hair dye, which is why a patch test is always recommended.

What products are beneficial for improving and supporting scalp health?

  • Glycerin is a humectant that pulls moisture into the scalp and hair and helps to keep the scalp calm and hydrated and smooth the hair
  • Eucalyptus Oil stimulates the hair follicles and promotes hair growth, it also relieves itchy scalps and is antifungal and antiseptic too

  • If you’re looking for something that removes flakes, Star Anise hydrates the scalp and is anti-bacterial as well as a natural antioxidant

  • For removing product build-up, Sunflower oil is a good anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and will help.  It can also support female pattern hair loss and can help to reduce hair shedding in certain cases

  • Olive Oil is another anti-oxidant and as such anti-ageing, as it hydrates and moisturises and supports the removal of flaking

Can any other lifestyle approach aside from scalp/hair products aid scalp health, such as certain foods?

As always, diet has a major impact on scalp health, as indeed it does on our overall hair health.  Adequate amounts of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are important as they can reduce inflammation, increase scalp hydration, and help to regulate sebum production.  These can be found in fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, avocados and chia seeds.

Adequate daily intake of water is also key to scalp health. Water helps to maintain a balanced pH level which is vital for a healthy scalp environment and reduce the likelihood of scalp issues such as dandruff, itching and irritation.

Eva Proudman Consultant Trichologist portrait image smiling

Eva Proudman

Eva is a Consultant Trichologist and has a number of clinics across the UK where private consultations are offered, expert and accurate diagnosis given and a tailor made treatment plan to get optimum results for clients.

All articles by Eva Proudman

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