Importance of Skin Care for Your Scalp
Posted on 4th July 2022Back to news
Importance of Skin Care for Your Scalp
Many brands have been guilty of not giving the scalp the same development attention reserved for their skin care lines. More recently though, brands are beginning to understand that this special area of our skin needs the same level of attention as the rest and, in certain respects, has some specialist needs.
Our scalp is the organ that provides support to our hair through the hair follicles and the connection between a healthy scalp and healthy hair is strong and now, well understood. Our scalp, for example, goes through the same ageing processes; in fact, it ages up to six times faster than the rest of your skin¹.
As consumers become more aware of this as well as the impact of stress on hair loss², they are paying much more attention to their scalp care regimes. It is predicted that the global hair and scalp care market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 6.6% from 2021 to 2028³.
With this rapid rise in consumer demand, an increasing number of brands are using skin care grade ingredients in hair care products and developing scalp-specific products and regimes. Many examples of new and scalp focussed shampoos, scrubs, serums, masks, oils, and multi product treatments⁴. In this article, we discuss common scalp conditions and ways to improve your overall scalp health.
Different Scalp Conditions & Causes
A dry scalp should not be confused with dandruff; it can cause dandruff but they are two separate conditions. Dry scalps occur when the scalp does not produce or hold enough moisture or oil to feel lubricated; it is commonly experienced by those who suffer from dry skin⁵. It can be caused by drying shampoo, washing your hair too often, dry air, and other skin conditions such as eczema. Symptoms include itchy, flaking and an irritated scalp.
Dandruff is a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis and occurs when the shedding of dead skin cells speeds up. It currently affects over half of the global adult population⁶ but isn’t contagious or serious. Potential causes of dandruff include an irritated scalp, oily skin, fungal infestation (Malassezia) which feeds on the oils on the scalp, contact dermatitis, and sensitivity to hair products and other substances. Symptoms include skin flakes and itchy scalp.
Just like our skin produces oil, oily secretions on our scalp are normal at a moderate level. It protects our skin and supports healthy hair growth; however, increased amounts of oil can be seen as an issue. An oily scalp can be caused by over washing, using shampoos and other hair products that are too harsh on your scalp, a poor rinsing process when washing your hair, or your genetics. Symptoms include hair gets greasy easily, looks flat and appears to need to be washed more often – a vicious circle.
Did you know that losing around 100 strands of hair daily is considered normal? Excessive hair loss refers to visible patches on the scalp, when hair comes out after gentle pulling, or many strands on your hairbrush after brushing. Hair loss can be caused by genetics, medication to treat certain diseases, or scalp infections and other scalp problems.
How to Improve Your Scalp Health
Luckily, there are many ways in which people can ensure their scalp is healthy and balanced.
Use Milder Shampoos
As mentioned above, use of products that are too harsh on your scalp can dry out the scalp causing itchiness, flakiness, and excess sebum production. How do you know what ingredients are too harsh for your scalp? The harshest surfactants are:
- Ammonium laureth/lauryl sulphate
- Sodium coco sulphate
- Sodium alkylbenzene sulfonate
By using milder shampoo formulations, your scalp would not be stripped of its moisture and its protective barrier would not be affected. Some gentler surfactants are:
- Sodium cocoyl isethionate
- Cocamidopropyl betaine
- Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate
- Sodium cocoyl glycinate
Regular Scalp Exfoliation
Just as regular exfoliation should be included in your skin care routine, it should also be included in your scalp care regime. It helps remove build-up of sebum, debris and scalp flakes, refreshing your scalp surface. You can use physical and chemical exfoliators:
Most used physical exfoliants:
- Fine volcanic rock powder
- Different shell powders
Most used chemical exfoliators
- Lactic acid
- Glycolic acid
- Salicylic acid
Include Skin Care Ingredients
Treating your scalp like your skin – because it is – and utilising skin care can have many benefits to your overall scalp condition. There are numerous skincare ingredients gaining popularity in hair care, including:
- Hyaluronic Acid – Can be used for any hair types. It improves scalp hydration which consequently helps with dryness. Plus, it can help eliminate frizz and add volume⁷.
- Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) – Is a great option for hair loss conditions and scalp serum formulations. Renowned for its moisturising aspect in skin care, it locks in moisture on your scalp too and helps with sebum regulation. It also improves inflamed areas and nurtures the hair follicles⁸.
- Panthenol (Provitamin B5) – Known for its moisturising, soothing and repairing properties⁹. It provides long lasting moisturisation, increased shine and strength for both your hair and your scalp, eliminating the dry scalp feeling. As a skin care product, it reduces transepidermal water loss (TEWL) meaning it strengthens the skin barrier meaning it can do the same for your scalp.
Cosmetic Products & Tools for Scalp Care
As mentioned above, scalp scrubs can be made with physical and chemical exfoliants for the most efficient effect. Physical scrubs should remove flakes and debris from the scalp by physically taking it off. Chemical scrubs enhance the desquamation process to remove dead skin cells from the scalp and help with removing product build-up. Scrubs can be in an emulsion or shampoo format and should be used regularly, but not every day.
Scalp serums are used at the end of your hair care routine on a wet scalp. They usually contain ingredients that create an environment which would support hair growth and reduce the dry and itchy feeling of the scalp. As mentioned above, Niacinamide is a good choice for scalp serum formulation because of these benefits. There are also numerous sprout extracts that claim to help with prolonging the hair cycle which, in turn, creates an effect of longer hair with less frequent shedding.
A growing number of head massagers are being advertised across the media recently. They are used during the hair washing process, where shampoo can be massaged into the scalp.
This tool is great for exfoliation and encouraging blood flow to the head. Increased blood flow stimulates hair growth and stimulating the hair follicles with head massaging increases hair thickness¹⁰.
A derma roller is a small roller covered in tiny needles; when rolled over the scalp or hairline, it creates tiny punctures¹¹. This encourages blood flow, increases cell turnover and creates a healthier scalp environment.
Also known as microneedling, it has been successfully paired with other hair growth promoting therapies and shown to stimulate hair follicle growth¹². Derma rollers and scalp serum are a perfect combination as better serum penetration is enabled; the size of needles is important should be discussed with a professional.
Jarvis Cosmetic Developments & Scalp Care
At Jarvis, we believe it is essential to raise awareness of the importance of scalp care. Your scalp should form part of your daily skincare routine. Everyone’s scalp is different so it’s vital that you choose the right scalp care products to suit your special needs.
We are always looking ahead and keeping up with the latest trends and research so if you would like to discuss this topic further with our industry expert chemists, please get in touch.