A healthy scalp is one of the most important aspects when it comes to healthy hair growth, and yet, the scalp is also so often neglected when it comes to grooming and hair care. Just like the skin everywhere else on your body, the scalp needs maintenance and benefits from good practices such as moisturizing and exfoliation.
Yes, you read that right! Your scalp also needs exfoliation. This step added to your hair care routine can make a world of difference when it comes to your own comfort and provide a healthy environment for your hair to grow.
What Is Scalp Exfoliation and Why It's Important
Scalp exfoliation involves the removal of dead skin cells, excess sebum, and product buildup from the scalp's surface. It is like a refreshing spa treatment for your scalp. It's a necessary step to remove those pesky dead skin cells that can build up on your scalp. By using scalp scrubs or gentle exfoliating products, you give your scalp a chance to breathe and feel revitalized and clean. It gives your roots a fresh start, and it promotes better blood circulation, which is super important for healthy hair growth!
Now, why does scalp exfoliation matter so much? Neglecting your scalp's health can lead to some serious hair problems. When you don't exfoliate your scalp, it can lead to an overly oily scalp, dry scalp, or a flaky scalp and too much product buildup. This makes it hard for the skin to absorb nutrition and can cause irritation and even chronic conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis. By exfoliating your scalp regularly with scalp scrubs, you can prevent these issues and keep your hair and scalp healthy.
Benefits of Scalp Exfoliation
Scalp exfoliation should be an essential, just like exfoliation on the skin on your face or body is needed. It allows you to refresh the skin on your head, and there are numerous ways you will benefit from it.
Remove dead skin cells and excess sebum
Removing dead skin cells and excess sebum is a must when it comes to scalp health. Having a scalp that has layers of dead skin and excess sebum can cause it to be overly oily or greasy, blocked up, and rough and flaky to the touch. You can prevent this by exfoliating every week or so or feeling it out whenever your scalp needs it.
Removes scalp buildup
We use many hair products in our everyday routine: conditioners, hairspray, mousse, hair oils, creams, heat protectants, gel, wax, and many more. This cannot all be washed away with just a regular shampoo. If there is too much buildup, this can be the cause of oiliness, greasiness, an itchy scalp, irritation, a sensitive scalp, and many more issues.
Your scalp needs regular deep cleansing with a clarifying shampoo and scalp scrub. This will allow you to get rid of scalp buildup whenever it gets a bit too much and keep your hair and scalp fresh and clean.
Promote better hair growth
Physical exfoliants such as a scalp scrub and a scalp brush can really help stimulate blood flow and oxygen in the scalp, which allows for faster and thicker hair growth. Exfoliating your scalp also clears away any buildup that may be blocking your hair follicles and impede hair growth.
Prevent scalp issues like dandruff, dry scalp, and itchiness
Dead skin, as well as product and sebum buildup, can cause an array of problems that are easily preventable with a scalp exfoliant. Issues such as dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, inflammation, itchiness, dryness, and more can be prevented by regular exfoliation.
Understanding Your Scalp Type
It's important to know your scalp type when choosing an exfoliation treatment. Is your scalp dry, oily, normal, or sensitive? Choosing the right scalp exfoliation products will greatly affect how your hair and scalp react.
For example, if your scalp is dry, you'll need an exfoliant that has a lot of moisturizing properties. If your scalp is oily, you'll need more deep cleansing properties. If your scalp is normal, a healthy balance of moisture and clarifying is best. While if your scalp is sensitive, you need to be careful of any ingredients that are known irritants, such as fragrances, sulfates, parabens, etc.
How To Exfoliate Your Scalp
There are a few different ways to exfoliate the scalp. You can use either different types of physical exfoliants or opt for chemical exfoliants. Depending on the effect you're looking for, let's discuss how these different types of exfoliation can benefit you.
Natural DIY Scalp Exfoliants
Natural exfoliants are really easy to make at home using ingredients you can already find in your pantry. First, you'll need a physical exfoliant such as sugar, sea salt, or coffee grounds. Next, find some ingredients that will suit your scalp's needs. For example, jojoba oil or honey for moisture, tea tree oil for anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, aloe vera to reduce irritation, soothe the scalp, and promote growth, or peppermint oil to deeply cleanse and freshen up the scalp.
Of course, it's important that you know what your scalp needs and do extensive research when you do this. Know what to use if your scalp is oily, dry, or sensitive, and keep in mind any allergies or irritants that you may personally have. Also, remember, DIY scalp scrubs do not have the same preservatives as professionally made products. They should always be thrown out after one use just to be safe.
Mild Formula Scalp Scrub
There are also professionally formulated scrubs for your scalp out in the market. It's best to choose a mild formula scalp scrub with natural and gentle ingredients that effectively exfoliate the scalp without causing irritation and damage, ensuring a clean scalp while providing many benefits for your skin and hair follicles.
Chemical Scalp Exfoliants
If you have a super sensitive scalp, you may be suited more to a chemical scalp exfoliant. You may already be familiar with these when it comes to your skincare, and yes, they are also used for scalp care. Exfoliants with ingredients such as AHA, BHA, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or retinoids. A chemical exfoliant will also suit those who have an oily scalp.
Precautions and Safety Tips
How often should you exfoliate your scalp?
- While exfoliation should be done regularly, it definitely shouldn't be done daily or too often. At most, you can exfoliate your scalp once a week. Once every two weeks is also sufficient.
Notable dos and don'ts of scalp exfoliation
- DO exfoliate regularly, especially after using styling products.
- DO choose an exfoliant that suits your hair and scalp's needs.
- DO use an exfoliant that is gentle and specially formulated for the scalp.
- DO follow the instructions to the tee for your exfoliants, especially chemical exfoliants.
- DON'T do over-exfoliation, at most, do it once a week or once every two weeks.
- DON'T choose an exfoliant that has ingredients that will do the opposite of what your hair needs (e.g., moisture for oily scalp, clarifying for dry scalp)
- DON'T just use any exfoliant you have lying around, like face or body skincare products.
- DON'T wing it, especially when it comes to AHAs and BHAs. These are strong chemicals and should be used exactly as intended.
Patch testing new products to avoid allergic reactions
- A product may claim to be hypoallergenic because it is free of any known allergens. However, you may be allergic or have an adverse reaction to an ingredient that is not an allergen. It's still necessary to do a patch test every time you are trying a new product, just to be safe.
Consulting a dermatologist or trichologist when necessary
- If scalp issues continue or worsen, consult a dermatologist or trichologist to find out if there are any underlying issues that may be causing scalp irritation.
Scrub, scrub, scrub!
Exfoliation of the scalp is an easy step to incorporate into your hair care routine but it makes a world of difference! If you're not doing it yet, it's time that you started. Have your scalp feeling refreshed, promote hair growth, and improve the overall health and quality of your scalp and hair by exfoliating your scalp regularly.