So, if there’s one thing that’s actually more complex than a lot of us would like to give it credit for, it’s probably our scalp. Yes, it’s obvious that it’s the skin that covers your skin and that hair follicles grow out of it. But did you also know that your scalp has five layers (skin, connective tissue, aponeurosis, loose areolar tissue and periosteum”>, that it has a way of revealing things about your health and that, like your face, your scalp has a “type”?
Yep. All of us literally have either normal, dry, oily or combination scalp and knowing what yours is, specifically, is what can help to put you on the road to having a healthy scalp and flourishing hair.
That’s what we’re going to explore today. The four different kinds of scalp characteristics and how you can take better care of your own scalp once you narrow down what yours is.
Something that your scalp is supposed to normally produce is sebum; it’s a waxy oily substance that your body naturally produces in order to hydrate and protect your skin/scalp. That said, when you have a “normal” scalp, all this basically means is your scalp produces the right amount of sebum to keep your scalp well-moisturized. Not only that but you don’t usually notice any signs of itching, redness or irritation as far as your scalp is concerned and you don’t have to wash your hair and scalp any more or less than you usually do. If this is you, that’s awesome. Until something changes, keep doing what you’ve been doing!
When your scalp doesn’t produce enough of the sebum that it needs, you could end up with what is known as dry scalp. And pretty much like when the rest of your skin is not moisturized enough, dry scalp can lead to itchiness, irritation and flaking; plus, your hair is typically drier and brittle too. It’s not uncommon for people who live in dry climates to battle with dry scalp more than others. It’s also common to confuse dry scalp with dandruff. That’s why it’s important to remember that 1″> dandruff is caused by a fungus called Malassezia and 2″> its flakes are usually stickier, larger and off-white or yellow while people with dry scalp tend to have flakes that are white and smaller.
Treatments for Dry Scalp
Use a moisturizing shampoo
Look for shampoos that are free of sulfates that can dry out your scalp and hair.
Deep condition on every wash day to give your scalp and hair additional moisture.
Soothe your scalp
Use ingredients or treatments with some aloe vera gel or witch hazel.
Massage your scalp
Give yourself a scalp massage with rosemary or bergamot essential oil; both can help to condition your scalp and contain healing properties.
Use a humidifier
Sleep with a humidifier to give your scalp additional moisture throughout the night.
Eat hydrating foods such as cucumbers, watermelon, apples, lettuce and peaches and drink plenty of water.
Again, it’s perfectly normal (necessary even”> for your scalp to produce sebum. However, when you have an oily scalp, that means that you’re producing an excessive amount of it. Interestingly enough, because sebum is a layer of protection, oftentimes what leads to an oily scalp is dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, forehead acne or skin conditions like eczema because they all are skin irritants that can “trigger” more sebum. It’s also worth noting that when your scalp is oily, typically your hair is oily too which can make it feel dirty and difficult to hold a style.
Treatments for Oily Scalp
Take a daily probiotic
This can help reduce inflammation that can cause flare ups like eczema and dermatitis.
Clarify your hair with apple cider vinegar
An apple cider vinegar rinse will remove product build-up and help to restore the pH balance of your scalp.
Shampoo your hair with a brand that contains menthol; it cleanses your scalp without over-drying and soothes it with its tingling sensation.
Focus your conditioning
Condition your hair more than your scalp (to keep the additional moisture from making your scalp greasier”>.
Apply tea tree oil
Dilute your tea tree oil (it’s potent”> and then apply it to the acne that you may have on your face.
Consume foods that are high in Vitamin B
They will help to control how much sebum your body produces. Some of those include dark leafy greens, salmon, eggs, green peas and brown rice.
Just like some people have combination skin, some people have combination scalp. This kind of scalp can be common in Black women because it can result in sebum not being able to make its way all the way down the hair shaft (which is typical with curly textures”>. As a result, the scalp may be overly oily while the hair is too dry.
Treatments for Combination Scalp
Pre-poo and deep condition your hair
The pre-pooing will give your hair some extra moisture prior to shampooing it and the deep conditioner will deeply hydrate your hair after every wash.
Try a monthly scalp scrub
A scalp scrub can help to slough off dead skin cells and remove excess product that you may be using to compensate for how dry your hair is.
Use a leave-in conditioner
With a leave-in conditioner, your hair can get extra moisture without you applying a ton of more hydration to your scalp.
Minimize the heat
Heat can irritate the oils on your scalp while further drying out your hair in the process.
Eat foods that are high in Vitamin C
The “C” will help your scalp to produce more collagen to keep your hair follicles healthy as it makes your hair stronger.
Dust your ends
As you notice brittle or split ends, dust them so that they don’t run further up your hair shaft.
As you can see, your scalp is not quite as “one type fits all” as you may have initially thought. But learning more about it and what it needs can help to get it (and you”> on the path to having a healthy scalp and even healthier hair — which makes all of the research and added steps totally worth your while!