On my hair course, I get so many complaints about scalp health that I’ve now decided to focus a section on the course on this very topic.
The truth is, with effective cleansing, many people are already taking all the scalp precautions they need. But too many are still not cleansing their scalp effectively!
With those suffering from itchy, dry or flaky scalp, my first line of questioning is always around cleansing, not just frequency, but using the right cleansers at the right time. A lot of education still needs to be done around effectively cleansing the scalp.
That said, some of my clients suffer from dandruff, eczema and psoriasis. It is important to note that often, these conditions need to be managed indefinitely, with medicated shampoos, creams and other prescription, depending on the severity. There may not be a cure as such.
Conditions that need to be managed means there may be periods of stability, and periods of flare ups. Some know what aggravates their scalp conditions, while others don’t. I’m listing some common stressors below, so if you have scalp issues, you may just wish to pay attention to the following stressors which are not often spoken about.
Dairy products, sugary foods and alcohol, especially white wines and champagne can trigger scalp conditions, even spicy foods! But please note that just as some people react to dairy, others may not. Sensitivities and reactions are person specific. The takeaway here is to pay attention, should in case these are exacerbating your condition.
Dirt and dust can absolutely affect your scalp. It is a stressor for skin as well as scalp. Everyday grime, especially in highly populated cities can lead to itchy scalp, and even congestion that may lead to spots or pimples on the scalp. To counter this, hair must be cleansed thoroughly with the right shampoo. This is the main reason I have never been a fan of exclusively washing the hair with a sulphate-free shampoo or even a clay. They have their place in a regimen but never exclusively. So, get a good cleanser and ensure your scalp is getting the wash it deserves. While I typically tell those on my hair course to use a clarifying shampoo every four weeks. If you are not washing your hair weekly, with a milder shampoo, then there is a case for using it more frequently. And for those who only wash their hair when they take out braids, a clarifying shampoo should be your main shampoo.
I decided to launch a Vitamin D and Magnesium supplement because I was convinced that if many women got their hormones in check, they would notice an improvement in the health of their scalp and their quality of life! What we know for certain is that hormonal imbalance can affect both your skin and your scalp. Pregnancy and even your period can mean changes that you notice e.g., excessive secretion of sebum which leads to dry and flaky scalp. So be observant, this is one thing that I am quick to stress. I know that during my period, I smell different, my gums swell at times, and I do a number 2 more, this is how intimately we ought to know our bodies. If I am consistent with my vitamin D and Magnesium, my mood is stable. Better still, if I have been taking my fish oil, I experience less dry skin and scalp! But many people don’t want to be observant, many are looking for prescriptions from a coach and this is not empowering. If you notice that your scalp flares up during your period, you wouldn’t stress, it will pass. You may move your clarifying washes to around that time to accommodate for the change in sebum production.
I hope you found this blog post helpful, let us know in the comments if you did!