Moisturiser, exfoliant, serum, night cream, eye cream, body lotion, face mask, sunscreen, cleanser – it seems like a new product is invented every few months to keep the skin on our bodies in tip top shape. A great facial care regimen has become a must have for most of us to deal with all our various issues. Body lotion and hand cream are the go to generic gifts for when you can’t think of a present for that random coworker you get for secret Santa. And you know how much they like you based on whether you get the K-mart version or the fancy brand minis….
Taking care of our skin is a priority for most of us but it seems our face and body skin get all the attention, while the skin on top of our head gets sadly neglected. While we are more than happy to discuss the desert that used to be the skin on our face and legs, dry scalp remains a pariah. As we surreptitiously brush those telltale white flakes off that ill-advised black coat, and sneak a little scratch when we think no one is looking, most of us remain somewhat embarrassed by the concept of dry scalp. Not to mention actual dandruff – the horror! With so many of us suffering quietly in the corner with our minor scalp ailments I feel it is time to break the cycle of embarrassment and start to embrace scalp care as a part of our hair routines.
While slightly ruining my flow here, it is important to note: Hairdressers can only deal with minor scalp ailments – dry scalp, minor hair loss, dandruff and sensitive scalps for example. Serious issues such as allergies, psoriasis, dermatitis and alopecia should always be discussed with a healthcare professional. While we certainly cover these more serious problems in our training in order to vaguely identify them, we are not capable of providing you with a professional diagnosis or the medical care you may require. We can however, give you an amazing cut and colour, and support your hair health journey!
Those glorious strands of hair sprouting from your head all begin as minute cells, formed in their lovely home – your hair follicles. These tiny caves sit just under the visible layer of skin, gently pushing the newly formed hair cells into the world, for you to immediately take to the hairdresser for colouring*. The healthier the skin is, the better quality this new hair will be. Most of us tend to focus more on the ends of hair, forgetting about this new growth, assuming that it just grows as good as it gets. But with the right care for those pesky scalp issues, your hair can start its life with the best possible chance of greatness.
Dandruff is the catch-all word we use for any issue with ‘flakes’ and itching but actual dandruff is generally not those dry white flakes we all joke about being “caught in the snow” when we see them on our clothes. Actual dandruff tends to be more oily and more inclined to stick to the scalp. And while it is quite common it is far less common than those supermarket dandruff shampoos would have us believe – a wonderful marketing ploy I must say! What those companies are really referring to is generally dry scalp.
While dandruff tends to occur from an overproduction of sebum in your hair follicles, dry scalp is just that. Dry scalp. It can be caused by anything from simple lack of moisture to a mild reaction to a product to just not washing your hair correctly. A build up of either dry or oily skin on your scalp can begin to impede the growth of your hair, making it more dull, brittle or even stopping it all together. In fact, one of the major contributors to non medical hair loss is constricted hair follicles.
Think of your new hair cells like little seedlings. Now imagine dumping a pile of sawdust or clay on top of them. Trying to push their way through is going to be virtually impossible, and only the very hardiest of them will survive. Now imagine instead you have lovingly watered and fertilised your seedlings, with a specifically targeted formula perfect for your little plants. Lush plants anyone? Before you all start complaining of your brown thumbs… imagine you have your very own gardener showing you what to do and providing you with all the advice and help you need.
A well tended scalp is the best start you can give your hair. Nurturing the environment in which it grows, with the help of your hairdresser, will allow your hair to begin it’s life strong and healthy. Incorporating a regular scalp care product into your regimen, such as an exfoliator or moisturiser can clear the way for all your other products – like shampoo, conditioner and treatments – to really shine, just like your beautifully healthy hair! Now excuse me, I’m off to regift a hand cream….
*It’s actually a little odd that we call it ‘regrowth’ if you really think about it – it’s just growth, unless it is a brand new hair strand – but that’s a diversion for another day!