What a mystery the scalp has been for years. Different cultures have used various methods to treat their unknown scalp challenges. Fabulous and Frugal says that Indian women are known to conduct consistent coconut oil treatments on their hair and scalp. A common Indian ritual consists of heating up organic extra virgin coconut oil mixed with curry leaves or other herbs and massaging it into the hair and scalp, followed by braiding the hair at night and cleansing in the morning, up to three times per week. The African-American culture began consistently applying pomade to the scalp in attempt to protect their hair from dryness and fungus. Today, these practices may or may not be done as often. The product market has taken notice and formulated more scalp treatments, exfoliants, scrubs, and cleansers than ever before. Should we go back to these practices or simply move forward with more current remedies to fit meet our modern need?
It's Hard for Your Crown
We most certainly know that the crown of the head is the area that receives the most attention. The environmental elements (i.e. sun, wind, and rain) give the crown the biggest beat down than any other area of our heads; not to mention sleeping on the back of our heads or resting on the car seat headrests. In fact, babies struggle at the crown from lying in their cribs and baby carriers. Our trendy styling processes can also affect the crown. Women love to wear their hair at the crown of their head and when not careful, bobby pins can lodge there and create havoc on the scalp over time. Other styles like braids and twists can add to the tenderness of the crown area. Trichologist Lavon Morrow at Dimensions Trichology Center explains that, "There is no one single reason that one has a tender scalp. There are many influencers that must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Tenderness could be caused by scalp trauma, hair practices, and hormonal imbalances, or otherwise. The wellness of the body directly affects the hair and the scalp and these processes are complex and much more scientific than one would imagine.”
The Proof is in the Practice
Is there any science to support a distinctive difference in the crown area? According to Morrow, “Yes, that is why male pattern baldness primarily affects that area versus the occipital area where the tissues are less responsive.” Studies continue to be done on the subject. His Hair Clinic further explains the process of Male Pattern Baldness: "It is not clear why different hair follicles are affected at different times to make the balding process gradual, or why follicles around the hairline and crown are more susceptible to this effect, known as miniaturization.”
While we do not know the many causes that disrupt the crown, it is apparent that this area requires extra attention and delicate care. For starters, follow an adequate hair care regimen that includes consistent cleansing and conditioning.
- Cleansing daily or weekly, based on your lifestyle, and pay close attention. Choose a shampoo with natural, gentle ingredients. Strong chemicals may be too harsh on your scalp and visible reactions may be delayed. Rinse thoroughly.
- Conditioning should immediately follow. Look for products with nourishing emollients, enriching oils, and fatty acids to entrap moisture into your hair. If your scalp is excessively dry, apply the conditioner to your scalp and rinse thoroughly.
Shining Your Crown
Westerners have looked to Ayurvedic medicine for hair and scalp practices due to its holistic approach. Men and women who follow Ayurvedic principals for their hair and scalp report successful remedies that are worth sharing. The most prized practice is an Ayurvedic scalp massage. However, if no serious conditions are present, common scalp remedies include DIY scalp mask or an over-the-counter scalp treatment.
Ayurvedic Scalp Massage
Massaging the scalp and hair with warm oil, preferably infused with hair-friendly herbs (alma brahmi), is the best way to nourish the scalp and hair topically. Massaging helps to increase blood flow to the hair follicles and supports the growth of healthy hair. It is especially beneficial for dry hair, as the increased circulation facilitates production of natural oil thus restoring lost luster.
DIY Scalp Treatment
- Take about 4 tablespoons of softened coconut oil; mix with 2-4 (depending on sensitivity) drops tea tree oil, and 3-4 drops of rosemary oil.
- Apply to dry hair with a scalp treatment bristle brush in circular motions.
- Massage the oil into your scalp.
- Finish it off with a good shampoo and conditioner.
OTC Scalp Treatment
- Jessicurl Massage Oil
- My Honey Child Honey Bee Sweet Scalp Exfoliator
- Ouidad Mediterranean Bay leaf Exfoliating Hair and Scalp Treatments
Assess your scalp to see which method would be suited for your crown and seek professional attention if possible. “If you have a consistent occurrence of tender, dry, or even oily scalp, see a certified trichologist for a full consultation which includes an exam, tests, and information gathered which are used to determine the root cause of the condition.” – Lavonn Morrow, Dimensions Trichology Center.
How do you care for your crown?