Sometimes, an itchy scalp is an itch you can’t quite seem to scratch. There’s nothing more frustrating than being constantly uncomfortable, and when a chronic itch is compounded by a flurry of flaking each time you do scratch, it can be enough to drive you a bit crazy.
An itchy scalp is usually accompanied by visible signs like flaky skin, but you can also experience uncomfortable symptoms without seeing any visible skin changes. Either way, something must be done. Life is busy and there are enough things to worry about; an itchy head shouldn’t be one of them.
Do you know about scalp exfoliation? For something as common as itchy scalps, we’re surprised more people aren’t talking about it. Here’s the 411 on scalp exfoliation.
What Is Scalp Exfoliation?
Scalp exfoliation is basically a “detox” for the skin on your head. We know the word “detox” gets thrown around a lot these days. There are juice detoxes, liver detoxes, kidney detoxes, and just about any other “cleanse” you could imagine. Here’s one more for you: the scalp detox.
As we become more aware of the ingredients in our diet and healthcare products, we can begin to take more control of what goes into— and onto— our bodies. The health and wellness industry is booming and no body part is going unattended. So let’s take it from the top and begin with our scalp.
Just like the skin on our face, our scalp skin can become irritated and dry. It commonly gets overlooked, but we should be paying attention to the products we choose and the ingredients they contain. Over time, the scalp can develop a build of residue from the products that we use. When it becomes covered in unhealthy ingredients, not only will hair follicles get clogged, but the scalp can become itchy, red, flake-prone.
Scalp exfoliation will help restore balance to the scalp’s natural oils and state of being, soothe any irritation, and provide a gentle detox for the skin.
Why is Scalp Exfoliation Important?
Our scalp is lined with anywhere from 80,000-120,000 hair follicles which act as a direct line to our bloodstream. Our bodies are like ecosystems; everything is harmonious and affects other parts. Any way you treat one part of your body will have ripple effects and influence your body elsewhere too.
Scalp exfoliation is important because it removes any build-up of unwanted products, promotes healthy hair, and exfoliates the skin.
What Are the Benefits of Exfoliating Your Scalp?
Scalp exfoliation is a soothing way to relieve stress, reinvigorate the skin, and leave you feeling refreshed.
Removing Residual Product
First of all, you should be using products that contain natural and nourishing ingredients. Everything that we put onto our scalp will make its way into our bodies— make sure you’re not unknowingly soaking your head in harsh chemicals.
When the scalp becomes covered in unhealthy ingredients, of course, it’s going to become irritated. A scalp exfoliation will remove any build-up of product that has nestled itself onto your head. By removing any residue, your skin now has space to breathe and hair follicles can rebalance their natural oils and moisture level.
Promotes Healthy Hair
Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. All of the hair on our head started and came through the roots. When we cleanse the scalp of dead skin, oily residue, and product build-up, the hair follicles have room to flourish. Happy hair follicles will create healthy, strong, and vibrant hair strands. Incorporate a scalp exfoliation into your beauty regime once a week in order to maintain a healthy scalp and healthy, happy hair.
A build-up of dead skin blocks blood flow and can hinder new hair growth. Dry, flaky skin is a common condition that causes the skin on the scalp to flake. Not only can it be itchy and uncomfortable, but for many people, the white flakes that show up in our hair are embarrassing. We already pamper our hair with only the best shampoo and best conditioner, so it would be a shame to have an otherwise perfect head of hair be tainted with white flakes.
By exfoliating the skin on our scalp we’re encouraging healthy skin, preventing dry flakes, and helping our hair grow to its best potential.
A physical exfoliant is a pasty substance that contains tiny particles or another type of textured surface. Using a physical exfoliant will create friction along the skin when it is massaged into the scalp. This friction is what physically lifts and removes dead skin and residue.
When choosing an exfoliant, look for words like “scrub” on the packaging to be able to identify that it’s a physical exfoliant. If your skin is more on the sensitive side and is easily irritated, you may want to look for a chemical exfoliant instead.
Chemical exfoliants use acids or enzymes to chemically dissolve dead skin and residue. Because chemical exfoliants do not involve harsh friction on the scalp, they may be the better choice for those who have sensitive skin. Chemical exfoliants that are made with hydroxy acids, like salicylic and glycolic acids, have the ability to actually penetrate the skin, allowing for a deeper exfoliation than a physical scrub.
For those of us who really have sensitive skin— and we know who we are— a natural scalp mask may be the best way for exfoliating the scalp. A scalp mask serves the same function as physical and chemical exfoliants do, but it is a much more gentle detox and can soothe the scalp at the same time.
How to Exfoliate Your Scalp, Properly
Exfoliating your scalp once a week with a natural exfoliator is all that’s needed to make the world of difference for your skin and hair’s wellbeing.
An exfoliating pre-shampoo scalp mask is the easiest and most effective way to go about cleansing your scalp. It will act as a highly concentrated pre-wash treatment for both your skin and your hair.
When choosing the right scalp mask for you, look for one that contains good-for-your-scalp ingredients that are natural and hydrating.
- Charcoal or witch hazel will rebalance your scalp’s natural pH levels.
- Tea tree oil will de-clog hair follicles.
- Peppermint and menthol are great at promoting anti-redness for irritated scalps.
- Argan and jojoba oils provide scalp skin with nourishment.
A scalp mask should be used before your shampoo. This is because your hair’s cuticles are more receptive before they’re washed. Using the right pre-shampoo scalp mask before washing your hair also perfectly prepares for your hair for the shampoo and conditioner to come.
Dampen your hair and apply the mask directly onto your scalp. Use your fingers to continually re-part your hair so you can cover the entirety of your scalp. Gently massaging the product in circular motions will help your skin soak it all in. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it out, and you can carry on with the rest of your shower routine.
Let’s Go Back to Our Roots
Scalp care is haircare. Just like the skin on the rest of our body, scalp skin should be cleansed, exfoliated, and hydrated on the regular. You wouldn’t try to grow a flower garden in dirty soil, would you? A healthy scalp is a base and building block for clean, nourished, and strong hair.
Exfoliate your scalp properly by using a natural scalp mask that will gently detox, restore balance, and soothe.