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Our scalps are made of thick skin that contains sebaceous glands, and if not cared for there are numerous scalp conditions that can affect our hair growth. There are habits and practices that we do to our hair and scalp without ever thinking about the impact it may have on the root of our growth and hair health. Here are 5 of the most common mistakes we make that can damage our scalp.

1. Not cleansing properly

Not properly cleaning your hair or your scalp is the best way to damage it. Keeping it clean goes further than just cleansing with a co-wash or a regular shampoo. Clarifying shampoos remove all the products that build up in the hair and scalp along with the sweat and dirt. Clogged pores are not just bad for hair, they are also bad for our scalps. Any time you add a product to your hair and scalp it must be removed fully. If not, airflow does not get to the scalp and the pores can become clogged, causing irritation, rashes, and even scalp acne. No one is saying to clarify every wash day, but if you are using ingredients that cause build up, a clarifying shampoo is needed at least once a month.

2. Bleaching hair

When we bleach our hair we know the risks it poses on those strands by making them weaker, as the cuticle is raised in the process. Yet we do not often think about what it is doing to our scalp. Hair bleach can cause burns to your scalp.

Hair bleach can cause burns to your scalp.
  When using hair bleach you should discontinue or let the stylist know if you experience any discomfort. These can cause chemical burns quite similar to the burns some suffer from relaxers (mentioned below) and those burns can cause damage to your scalp and hair follicles, which can result in hair loss. If hair was in bad condition prior to the bleaching service, it can also cause hair breakage at the scalp as well.

3. Scratching

Yes, scratching is detrimental to your hair and scalp’s health. While we are not talking about an occasional scratch here or there, continuous scratching is something you should steer clear of. According to Medical News Today, “Studies have shown that with only 90 minutes of continuous scratching by the fingernails, it is possible to remove all of the cuticular scale, a protective covering on individual hairs, off of a hair shaft. This loss leaves the hair shaft weakened and permanently damaged, making it easily susceptible to breakage and hair loss.” Scratching that dandruff is bad and the best way to fix the problem is to shampoo or if you prefer a natural remedy, try one of these natural dandruff treatments.

4. Chemical burns from relaxers or hair straighteners

Anyone who has ever relaxed their hair knows about chemical burns. These occur when the caustic chemicals in relaxers or hair straighteners make contact with the scalp and cause blisters, scalp burns, or what it is also known as cosmetic alopecia. Hair relaxers or chemical hair straighteners contain lye (some are no-lye relaxers which is mostly just guanidine hydroxide), which are harsh and can damage not only the hair but also the scalp and cause discomfort during the process.

5. Braids, weaves and sew-ins

Recent studies from the University of Connecticut have shown black women are more prone to hair loss due to braids, weaves, and relaxers and all three can also damage the scalp as a result. Braids and weaves may contribute to scarring of the scalp and hair loss along with bacterial infections. Painful scalp issues can surface from allergic reactions to the glues used in some weaves.