Your hair health begins in the scalp: one of the areas that we tend to neglect. No doubt the look, the feel and health of our hair are what we tend to focus on most because it is what we can see. But our scalp so important for the healthy upkeep of your hair because it is inside where the hair follicles are and keeping it healthy is synonymous with a much stronger and brighter hair. Your scalp is where the bulb is implanted and where the cells multiply thanks to the indispensable supply of oxygen, nutrients and mineral salts. For this reason, hygiene and scalp care should be chosen with the aim of preventing eventual problems such as itching, irritation, falling, oily, dry or fine hair The best way to understand the importance of the health of your scalp is by looking at it as if it were exposed skin which you can see, such as your hands, face or body. Scalp problems bear a similarity to the dermatological problems that arise on the face and on the body. Just like your hands, your scalp may also be too dry or too greasy, or too itchy. The good thing is that most of the problems related to the scalp can be solved in a simple way, including or extend some steps in your washing routine, adjust your hair products to the type of scalp problem you are experiencing, and take into account some other factors that you may sometimes overlook. Don’t forget to visit the natural hair shop online by clicking the image below. Available in the shop are a range of black hair products to maintain and grow healthy hair.
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As we all know, there is between 100,000 and 150,000 hair implanted on the scalp. Each one is made up of a hair root or bulb and a hair shaft, which is what we know as hair. The hair consists essentially of keratin and melanin, the pigment that gives it its natural colour. Hair growth is related to the multiplication of cells in the bulb, which grow upwards and form the stem. In this case, it is very important that the scalp, in other words, the area where the bulb is implanted, be healthy and provide the nutrients necessary for the life of the hair. The life of a hair consists of 3 phases: 1) the anagen phase, which is a period of hair growth that lasts from 3 to 7 years at a rate of approximately 2 millimeters per week. The root produces the hair shaft of keratin, that is, the visible hair, 2) the catagen phase, a short period of 1 to 2 weeks where the hair stops growing and dies, 3) the telogen phase, an approximate period of 3 months in which the dead hair remains fixed to the scalp before falling, time in which the cells descend towards the root to restart a new cycle. Each bulb produces between 20 and 25 hair stems in a cycle. The healthy life cycle of your hair is ultimately determined by the health of your scalp. Our scalp is covered with a protective layer that can sometimes be damaged by various external aggressions. As a consequence, this natural barrier is broken and there is the invasion of harmful substances that cause the scalp to become irritated and produce itching, redness, dandruff and a feeling of tightness.
As we have already established, while the effects of an unhealthy scalp may be visible on the hair, everything begins on the scalp. If you really want to have a nice hair, then first you have to pay attention to the scalp, to “attack” the root problem. Every day your hair faces environmental pollution, climate changes, dyes, irons, dryers and the use of products such as gels, sprays, foams or oils that leave residues and affect the health of the hair and scalp. An oily or dry scalp that is itching, with peeling or dandruff, could mean that the follicles may be lacking the oxygenation they need, along with the lack of basic nutrients. This will eventually affect the health of your hair to the point of being able to get an excessive hair fall. Different scalp problems require different remedies, but first, let’s examine the most common scalp problems.
Symptoms of a sensitive scalp may include the following: burning, tingling, pain, itching and redness. If your symptoms are severe, you may have a hyperreactive or hypersensitive scalp. Regardless of whether your case is mild or extreme, it is important to consider the factors that can cause the sensitivity of the scalp. The symptoms may be due to an unbalanced diet or the use of the wrong shampoo. Also, exposure to certain weather conditions, pollution or stress may cause you to experience sensitivity in the area of the scalp. Taking these and other factors into account will help you determine why your skin is so sensitive and how to best improve this situation. In many people, shampoos containing harsh chemicals is one of the main causes of scalp sensitivity. The cleansers or aggressive surfactants, present in many shampoos, can wash away the acid mantle of the scalp, that is, the natural acidity that protects your skin, leaving it vulnerable to dryness and irritation. Some people report having a hypersensitive or sensitive scalp after receiving treatment for skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis. When the natural protective barrier of the skin has been altered by one or more of these factors, microinflammation of the scalp can also become a major cause of the increased sensitivity. This occurs when the skin cells of the scalp become inflamed, increasing vulnerability to irritation. Among the other causes of sensitivity or hypersensitivity of the scalp, the following stand out:
If your scalp is heavy, it lacks volume and has a bright appearance, especially at the root. Behind these signs, there is usually a hyperseborrhea, whose causes can be diverse. The excess of sebum accumulates in the roots, which consequently present an “oily” appearance. Heavy and crushed, the hair is smoothed into strands, which look dirty because sebum traps dust in the air and easily adheres to the hair.
This is a reverse situation. The hair looks dry, brittle, fragile, with split ends, difficult to untangle and comb. A dry hair is due to a scalp that lacks sebum, can be congenital in the case of people who secrete naturally little sebum or, acquired, although the dryness. In all cases, the skin barrier does not fulfill its function, the loss of water accelerates and the hair becomes dry, brittle and rough. Due to the lack of hydration, the hair is sensitive to static electricity and it becomes difficult to comb.
Oily hair is mainly due to an increase in the secretion of sebum by the sebaceous glands of the scalp, called “hyperseborrhea”. This phenomenon is not solely responsible for the presence of oily hair. This can be the result of:
A loss of fewer than 100 hairs per day is normal since it corresponds to the course of the hair cycle. If there is a greater loss of hair, it is convenient to take it into consideration for treatment. Excessive hair loss is often related to an unhealthy scalp. External attacks of a physical nature can also affect the health of your scalp, such as using hair dryers with very hot air too close to the scalp, and other external factors such as aggressive cosmetic products, especially for oily hair. Another scalp related problem that causes hair loss is microinflammation. This is a mild inflammation of the skin. In fact, they are so mild that they can not even be detected in clinical examinations. However, if we study the skin tissue where the micro-inflammations are located, we can detect the presence of inflammatory immune cells; In other words, the skin responds to irritation with inflammation and, in this way, tries to repair itself. If these skin cells are subsequently subjected to further irritation, the skin may progress to a “true” inflammatory response. All the above factors inevitably have an impact on the scalp first and then on the hair. In addition to hair loss, this can result in more fragile, dull and lifeless hair or a thin, oily hair. The use of nutritional supplements can have a beneficial effect on the hair. To stimulate, strengthen and thicken hair, these supplements must contain nutrients that stimulate the production of quality keratin, which limit hyperseborrhea and promote hair growth. These nutritional supplements can also help fight the stress responsible for hair loss when it is enriched with magnesium. If not scalp related, other causes for hair loss include a temporary situation such as stress, fatigue, pregnancy (after childbirth), change of season (especially in autumn), deficiencies in the diet (especially iron, silicon, B vitamins, zinc, essential fatty acids, sulfur amino acids, and hormonal problems. If you are facing a significant and prolonged hair loss, it is advisable to consult your dermatologist or your doctor to rule out any medical issues such as iron deficiency. To also find out more about hair loss, read my article on Afro hair loss treatment.
In all cases, it is necessary to clean without harming or removing the hydrolipid film to respect the physiology of the capillary bulb. By itself, a non-detergent shampoo can maintain the biological balance of the hair, that is, a product that does not contain surfactants that are too aggressive for the hair fiber. Pollution, the use of a helmet, intense sports practice force frequent hair washing. It is essential to choose a shampoo that is not really detergent because there are non-detergent shampoos .
Adopt the following practices into your natural hair care regimen. Cleaning: As the scalp accumulates a lot of impurities (dust, dead skin, remains of shampoo, etc), the pores become clogged and do not allow the hair follicles to be nourished. This can resulst in your hair becoming weak and brittle. You will need to ensure your wash routine is also balanced. You can opt to water only wash you hair once a week, and use a mild shampoo every two weeks. You can even create your own homemade natural shampoo and conditioner (such as oatmeal, avocado or honey), so that the scalp can generate its own natural oil. For more information on creating a shampoo, read my article: Homemade Shampoo for Natural Hair Growth. If you wash every day you can be getting unwanted effects, sweeping with all the essential nutrients and also not letting the root of the hair to dry completely. Massages: In addition to being something more than relaxing and perfect for after a day here, and there, a good massage on the scalp has other interesting effects for health and beauty. Every day you make circular movements with your fingertips (never with the nails) to encourage blood circulation, oxygenation, and nutrients, as well as to remove the dust that accumulates. The pressure should be slight, and you can use some essential oil or olive if you have dandruff, for example. Hair Tonics: If you do not want to wash your hair too frequently, you can create your own hair tonics to be used in between washes. A hair tonic that contains vitamins E and B in a natural way to help normalize the condition of the scalp. If the scalp or hair has too much fat, a tonic removes it, and if it is too dry, it gives it moisture and vitality. Tonics are great because they balance the PH of the scalp and ensures that the hair stays clean for at least 5-6 days. With tonics, you prevent the elimination of the layer of fat on the scalp when we wash our hair, so our body must produce fat again. For this reason, frequent washing of the hair requires excessive work, which can cause problems such as irritation, excess fat on the scalp, hair loss, dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis, among others. The process becomes a vicious circle that ends up spoiling the hair, Homemade Remedies: Deep Conditioner for Natural Hair Growth & Scalp Care Below are some homemade remedies for scalp care. For more homemade remedies, have a read through the articles called deep conditioner for natural hair growth to help prevent breakage and keep your hair in healthy conditioner.
Fruits include avocado and banana to moisturize dry scalp. However, the fruit should be stirred with a blender to a very fine pulp, otherwise it is difficult to wash out again. Protein deficiency can also lead to dry scalp. In contrast, home remedies such as egg yolk or mayonnaise help.
Scalp care for oily skin: on the contrary, if you have a greasy scalp, you need home remedies that reduce excessive sebum production. Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, natural yoghurt, baking soda, mint tea or healing earth are suitable for this. Chamomile tea soothes and yeast, as contained in beer, inhibits excessive sebum production. Homemade Conditioner Recipe for Oily Scalp: Another simple and gentle method to prevent the scalp from fast greasing is a rinse with mint tea:
Psoriasis, dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis are the three most frequent alterations that occur in the scalp. In general, they are usually more visible behind the ears, forehead, nape and hairline. In the case of dandruff, it is due to an excess of dead cells, in the form of somewhat unsightly scales. It can be treated with a herbal medicine shampoo, for example. People who have psoriasis of the scalp present more important desquamation and there is also inflammation in the area. If that’s your problem, do not brush it too often and, every time you do, make it with a soft bristle brush. Do not scratch or tear off the scales, wash your hair very gently, do not use the hair dryer or apply very strong products. Pay attention to the situations of stress or nerves that you are going through, because that may be the reason for an increase in white scales on your scalp. It can also be due to habits when washing your hair or using certain beauty items. It is good not to tie too strong hair or when wet, do not use permanent or dye it, take baths of seawater to level the oils produced by the scalp and massage with olive oil or arnica. Pay close attention to the signals that this area of the body gives you and, above all, change the customs that damage it and cause inconveniences. That way you’ll have much more beautiful hair, as you’ve always wanted.
Along with a healthy scalp, here are some other important factors that influence hair growth include:
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As a 10 year natural hair enthusiast & blogger, I love learning more about the science of hair, so as to help other women overcome their hair woes. Follow & subscribe for more knowledge on how to grow your natural hair.