Keep your scalp happy all year long with these self-care tips
Spare a thought for your humble scalp – it bears the brunt of our day-to-day lives without complaining. Whether you’re spraying, styling, drying or getting sunburnt, it has to go through a lot. No wonder it’s common to experience scalp troubles every now and then!
Up to half of us will suffer dandruff at some point in our lives. But even if we don’t suffer from dandruff, we could still fall victim to a dry and itchy scalp, which can be caused by any number of factors.
Fancy saving your hands for something better than scratching? Keep your hairline happy with our scalp care guide.
Step one…step away from the moisturiser
It might be tempting to treat your head with the same products you’d use on your face. Don’t do it! Apart from the obvious moisturiser in the roots (which is never a good look!) facial moisturiser is likely to make your scalp oily.
Dandruff can be caused by a natural yeast called Malassezia, which feeds on our natural oils. Too much oil causes Malassezia to overproduce, sparking irritation and dandruff.
Enjoy the sun…in moderation
When it comes to scalp care, sunshine is a blessing and a curse. In moderation, exposure to the sun’s rays can help to prevent the overgrowth of fungus that causes dandruff. However, this is no invitation to start being a sun-worshipper. Sunburnt skin is not only painful, but could leave you more susceptible to dandruff.
To stay safe, keep away from direct sunlight between the hours of 11am and 3pm, and always use UVA + UVB protection.
Turn the temperature down
There’s nothing better than a nice hot shower. Just don’t tell your scalp! Washing your hair in too high a temperature can strip your scalp of its natural oils, making hair brittle and drying out the skin. This may lead to itchiness or worsen dandruff symptoms. For best results, shower in tepid water or try cycling through hot and cold to encourage blood flow.
Putting your hair through hell with gels, waxes, sprays and backcombing? While these products won’t necessarily cause dandruff, they may cause a product build-up if you’re not washing them out regularly. These can lead to a dry scalp and itching.
Chemical straightening is a no-go if you want to avoid dandruff. These harsh products may cause your skin to react, allowing dandruff to potentially develop. When dyeing hair, always perform a patch test 48 hours beforehand.
While harsh products and moisturisers are a no-go, a gentle massage as part of your hair care routine will work wonders. Work your fingers into the scalp under a tepid shower, or give yourself five to 10-minute head massages to get blood moving. If you’re washing your hair, this will also draw away any build-up of product to restore your hair’s natural balance.
Don’t forget that stress can wreak havoc on your scalp. Stress causes your body to produce the cortisol hormone, putting you into a ‘fight or flight’ response. This can weaken your immune system, which means previously harmless yeast like Malassezia can go into overdrive. This may result in dandruff, which will likely cause more stress.
Try to practise yoga or get outside with nature. Put down the phone, read a book and keep electronic devices away while you sleep.
Prevention is key
Last but by no means least, you can prevent dandruff from reoccurring by using medicated shampoo bi-monthly. Nizoral® contains Ketoconazole, an antifungal used to fight the yeast that causes dandruff.
Remember – in many cases, prevention is key – especially when it comes to your scalp.
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