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6 Sep

Scalp health 101: Expert advice to maintain your hair

With the number of individuals experiencing hair loss for the reason that pandemic skyrocketing, scalp health is becoming an increasingly hot topic. Here is all the pieces you would like to know

Scalp health is essential to the general health and growth of your hair. “Consider your scalp because the soil in a garden,” Jen Atkin, celebrity hair guru and founding father of Ouai, told Dazed back in May. “It’s good to are likely to the soil for all the pieces to grow.” 

The scalp is the production centre for hair, with each strand growing from an individual follicle. The standard of those follicles depends on the underlying structures of blood vessels, tissue and cells. Aspects like vitamin deficiencies, health conditions and high cortisol levels from stress can all have a negative impact on the hair follicles, as can build-ups of sebum, dead skin or dandruff which block the follicles and hinder growth. Permanently blocked follicles may eventually stop producing hair altogether. 

Alongside hair thinning and loss, symptoms of an unhealthy scalp also include itchiness, pain and discharge, says Dr Mia Jing Gao, a consultant dermatologist who specialises in hair loss and scalp conditions. So it’s value your time maintaining a clean and healthy scalp. Luckily it’s becoming easier than ever. Previously neglected, the subject is increasingly gaining popularity and traction each online and off. 

Over on TikTok, #scalp has almost 800 million views, while terms like #scalpcare and #scalptreatment have each racked up hundreds of thousands more. Within the industry, scalp care – alongside targeted hair loss products – has grow to be a category in its own right with brands including T.H.O.M, Ouai, Augustinus Bader, Dr Barbara Sturm, The Nue Co. and The Strange all entering the market with various scalp serums, scrubs and supplements.

It’s not surprising, considering the link between scalp health and hair loss. Through the pandemic, the number of individuals experiencing hair loss increased dramatically. COVID-19 itself has been linked to hair loss, while emotional stress because of this of monetary worries, the lack of jobs and other personal worries also contribute. “Loads of individuals who had COVID lost their hair,” says Hannah Gaboardi, trichologist and hair growth specialist, who’s busier than ever for the reason that pandemic. “Everyone seems to be also highly stressed. So with COVID and stress, everyone’s got hair loss issues.”  

To search out out the most effective practices for maintaining a healthy and comfortable scalp, and keeping your hair strong and thick, we spoke to Dr Gao, Gaboardi and Paul Windle, hairdresser and founding father of Windle Lab. Below they share their best suggestions and tricks which you could do at home. Remember, Gaboardi says, in the event you see the signs of hair loss – act on them early. “Start using your supplements, start using a scalp serum and go see a trichologist or a dermatologist,” she says. “Fix the issue early on because in the event you leave it and also you start going bald there’s nothing anyone can do except a surgeon.” 


Relating to keeping your scalp healthy, food plan is essential. In response to Gaboardi, high protein, zinc and iron are all vital for general hair health. She recommends fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, spinach, avocado, carrots and sweet potatoes. Oysters are high in zinc – “they’re such a very good food for hair,” Gaboardi says – while meat is essential for protein and iron. “Loads of my clients who are suffering from hair problems are normally not eating meat and are iron deficient,” she says. 

In addition to eating the fitting foods, in the event you are deficient in iron, vitamin D or zinc, Dr Mia Jing Gao says supplementing them will be helpful for hair growth. Alongside targeted supplements, increasingly more hair brands are releasing combined supplements designed specifically for hair. “The Ouai complement has zinc, vitamin Bs, vitamin D and likewise pea extract which is one other ingredient that everybody’s talking about,” says Gaboardi.

The Nue Co’s Growth Phase accommodates vitamins including all eight B vitamins in addition to collagen-rich ingredients and ones which work to cut back stress like reishi mushroom and eleuthero root extracts. It also includes biotin which stimulates keratin production in hair, although it’s possible you’ll wish to keep clear of it if you will have skin concerns. “The downside of taking biotin is it causes pimples,” says Gaboardi. “Loads of clients have noticed that they’ve been getting skin flare-ups.” 


What’s the primary thing you may do to maintain your scalp healthy based on Paul Windle? Massage. “Don’t shampoo your hair too often, but if you do be certain that you give it a deep cleanse,” he says. “Use a number of friction together with your fingertips.” Gaboardi agrees on the advantages of massaging your scalp, which stimulates blood flow to the world and encourages hair to grow. “I all the time tell my clients to massage or use a scalp massager,” she says. “Put shampoo on a scalp massager. It will take off the dead skin cells and stimulate blood flow.” 

In addition to if you’re washing your hair, you should use a scalp massager at night before bed. One other method to get your blood circulating to the scalp, says Windle, is exercise. “Your hair is a byproduct of your blood, so the more blood flow, the higher the scalp and hair.” A few of Gaboardi’s clients will even do handstands after treatments to rush blood to the world. 


As we undergo the recent summer months, everyone seems to be talking about sunscreen and the way vital it’s to guard your skin from the damaging rays of the sun. What isn’t as widely discussed, nevertheless, is that we must always even be using SPF in your scalps. “Scalp is a standard location to develop skin cancer especially in individuals with hair loss because the hair does somewhat shield the scalp skin from sun,” says Dr Gao. 

“A burnt scalp is like burnt skin, it causes irritation, it makes your scalp flaky,” adds Gaboardi, who says the sun will even dry out your hair shafts. Using a hair SPF is great or wear a hat to supply sun protection.


“Stress might be the primary trigger for hair loss without delay,” says Gaboardi, who cites “all the pieces that’s happening on the earth” as a significant source of stress for people, alongside the stress Covid itself puts on the body. She has seen a number of clients experiencing hair loss who’ve undergone Covid or lost their job due to the pandemic.  

“Physical and mental stress cause stress hormones Cortisol and adrenaline to rise in our bodies which drives changes in our skin and scalp, including oil production and inflammation,” explains Dr Gao. “This will flare and even trigger conditions comparable to seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis. Women who experience high levels of stress are also 11 times more prone to experience hair loss than those that don’t report high stress levels.”

Hair loss from stress will normally start with an initial shedding of hair, a phase called telogen effluvium which is when your growth phase is interrupted. Once this has began there is no such thing as a product that might help stop the shedding because it’s an internal process. Normally it would last for 3 to 6 months but the excellent news, says Dr Gao, is that it’s reversible. “But it could actually take as much as 18 months to totally regrow,” she says.


Relating to silk pillowcases, opinion is split. We regularly hear that silk pillows and scrunchies are the important thing to smoother, healthier hair and Gaboardi is a proponent. “Try to be using all the pieces silk,” she says. Windle, nevertheless, disagrees. “Silk pillowcases make no difference in any respect and cotton won’t damage your hair,” he says. “Hair could be very abrasive – it could actually in reality wear out your pillow case. In itself, the friction of hair rubbing against hair whilst sleeping is what causes damage during sleep.”


“For a healthy scalp, a number of people think that not washing their hair helps,” says Gaboardi. “Not washing your hair actually makes situations worse.” Washing your hair frequently helps keep your scalp and due to this fact hair healthy, she explains, recommending that you just wash your hair every other day or every third day. 

Introducing a detox shampoo or a scalp scrub once every two week can also be really useful as it would help remove the buildup of dead skin cells and sebum and boost follicle growth. “A build-up will block the follicles,” she says. “It’s good to cleanse to get growth.” Detox shampoo will even help remove any product buildup that has occurred. In response to Gaboardi a number of people don’t rinse out their shampoo and conditioner properly, which may cause dandruff. Be sure to rinse your hair rather well after which do a chilly rinse at the tip.


One other product which could help with keeping your hair healthy and growing is scalp serum. Formulated to assist promote hair growth, boost recent follicles and put moisture into the scalp, brands like Ouai, Augustinus Bader, Dr Sturm and T.H.O.M have all recently released scalp serums. 

Depending in your age and hair health, how often you utilize the serum will vary. When you are anxious about hair loss, Gaboardi recommends using it every day or every other day. When you are younger and usually comfortable together with your hair, a few times every week can be enough.


While products are something that we will use at home, experts like Gaboardi will even offer in-clinic treatments to assist with scalp health. PRP is a plasma injection that you just might need heard of known as the “Vampire facial”. It might probably even be used for the scalp to treat hair loss as seen famously on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

PRP involves taking a small sample of the patient’s blood, spinning it in a centrifuge after which injecting the plasma back into the scalp. This helps rejuvenate the world by promoting epidermal stimulation and hair follicles and the expansion of collagen. It might probably be used on people who find themselves experiencing hair loss in addition to those that are only fascinated about keeping the scalp more generally healthy and their hair thick.  

“The clients I’m seeing for PRP are people who find themselves experiencing thinning on their hairline, on the crown area, men who’re experiencing male pattern hair loss,” says Gaboardi. “But everyone must catch hair loss very early on. Whenever you leave it too late, there’s not much I can do.” Signs that you just are losing your hair include a receding hairline or balding on the crown area, for men, and a widening of the parting in women. 

Other treatments available include hair injectables which involve biotin, hyaluronic acid and amino acids which help with growth; scalp facials which have peptides; red light therapy and micro-needling.

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