By Nicole Petty, Marketing Manager at Milk + Blush
The key to getting the strong, healthy hair of your wildest dreams starts with a healthy scalp. Often neglected, the scalp is the foundation from which your hair grows and so if it’s not in good shape, your strands won’t be either.
Modern-day issues such as increasing air pollution and the rise in skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema mean our scalps are more antagonised than ever.
Incorporating a thorough scalp treatment into your daily routine can not only help strengthen your roots and promote growth, but also reduce flaking and the build-up of dead skin cells.
At Milk + Blush, we’ve put together our top tips to help you nourish a neglected scalp back to full health.
Picking and applying the correct product can make all the difference when it comes to giving your scalp a new lease of life.
If you can, try using shampoos or conditioners that are rich in Zinc and Biotin as these help prevent flaking and drying.
Avoid washing your hair more than 2-3 times a week as this can encourage a dry scalp as well as causing your hair to become brittle and break more easily.
If you’re prone to sensitive skin, try hypoallergenic shampoos as these are far more forgiving for sensitive skin.
Particularly for your scalp, look for paraben-free alternatives as these can magnify the damage done to your head by UV exposure.
Reduce chemical treatments
The scalp is extremely sensitive and the effects of any treatment you give it, whether it be good or bad, are exasperated on your scalp.
Any treatments that deal with bleach, heat treatments, colouring and relaxing your hair have a dramatic impact on your hair and the scalp’s dermis layer below.
Not only can over-treating your follicles contribute to hair loss and mass breakage but can cause itching and irritation on the scalp too – so, it’s best not to overdo it.
If you’re prone to allergies and don’t colour or bleach your hair regularly, make sure you try a patch test before each treatment. Dab a small amount of product behind the ear and wait to see if a reaction arises. If there is a reaction, do not use the product and find an alternative more suited to your skin.
Just as food can cause acne flare ups and effect your skin, unhealthy foods can also cause damage to the health of your hair and scalp.
Having a diet that’s rich antioxidants and vitamins A and C, helps to promote cell growth and protect against cell damage.
Make sure you’re eating enough green/leafy vegetables and citrus fruits as these are packed full of these essential vitamins.
Zinc and iron are also great for tissue growth, hair strength and cellular repair and are found commonly in protein sources like lean meats, shellfish and seafood. These also contain vitamin B12 which helps strengthen hair and combat hair loss.
An often-overlooked part of hair and scalp care is exercise. Regular exercise stimulates cell growth by opening-up blood vessels and increasing blood flow, allowing your hair follicles and the surrounding dermis layer to receive more of the nutrients you take in from a diet.
Cleansing is the starting point to a healthy scalp, but what else should be on your scalp care to-do-list?
Masks, exfoliants and serums can also effectively tackle a myriad of issues from oiliness to dandruff. Thankfully, you don’t need to implement a laborious 12-step regime – the key is to only address obvious problems to avoid overloading a sensitive area.
One of the biggest triggers of an irritated scalp is a poor PH balance in your hair. Sebum keeps your hair between a PH of 4.5 – 5.5, a lack of natural acidity will lead to bacteria growth and inflammation.
A scalp mask is a perfect way to calm an angry and irritated scalp. Look for ones that are high in vitamin B3 – this not only strengthens hair follicles, but restores a natural PH balance leading to a calm and healthy scalp.