Healthy hair starts at the scalp. Think of your hair as a garden, with flowers that have roots in the soil. Your scalp is the soil for your hair! Without healthy soil that is full of nutrients and oxygen, while free of pollutants and harmful bacteria, a garden will never look its best. In the same way, the health of your hair is a reflection of the health of your scalp Source. So what makes a healthy scalp?
5 Elements of a healthy scalp
1. MOISTURE AND OILS. Your scalp contains oil glands that produce sebum, a natural oil that lubricates the hair strand as it grows. Sebum is essential for healthy, moisturized hair. If this oil is stripped from the scalp, your hair will be dry and less manageable.
What to do:
- Treat your scalp with beneficial oils like NaturAll Club's JBCO Growth Serum, 3-4 times a week. The JBCO Growth Serum contains jojoba oil, which mimics sebum, along with other oils that keep your roots and scalp moisturized and promote growth.
- Don't wash your hair too often (shampoo strips sebum out of your scalp.)
- Enrich your diet with Omega-3s and fish oils to help keep your scalp moisturized and balanced.
2. PH BALANCE. A healthy scalp pH ranges from 4 to 5. Scalp pH is essential for moisture retention in your hair. Acid causes the hair cuticle to flatten, helping it retain moisture. If the scalp is too basic/alkali, the cuticle opens up and the hair dries out more quickly. Source. This target acidity also makes hair less prone to tangles, and a pH balance is optimal to prevent bacterial and fungus growth. Many products have an extremely high pH that disrupts the scalp balance. However, products with a very low pH can degrade your hair and skin.
What to do:
- Use products that mimic the target pH of your scalp.
- Stay away from alkali products (especially harsh shampoos.)
- Do an ACV treatment to restore pH balance.
3. CLEANLINESS. Oil, hair products, dead skin cells, and dirt easily build up and clog the pores and follicles on your scalp. This irritates the scalp, prevents hair growth, and creates a haven for fungus and bacteria to grow. Fungus, bacteria, and other infections can cause dandruff, itchiness, irritation, and many other problems. So keep your scalp clean!
What to do:
- Clean your scalp regularly with a clarifying shampoo (we recommend once every 1-2 weeks.
- Use tea tree oil (an ingredient in our Deep Conditioner) to combat bacterial growth.
- Apple cider vinegar is both clarifying and microbial, so do an occasional ACV rinse to keep your scalp clean.
- Exfoliate your scalp regularly with a scalp scrub. (You can find a few DIY recipes here.)
- Avoid products with silicones or mineral oil, which coat the hair and build up on the scalp.
4. CIRCULATION. Blood circulation brings oxygen and nutrients to your scalp and hair follicles, which is essential for growth! Think of blood circulation to your scalp like fertilizer for plants in a garden.
What to do:
- Essential oils are extremely beneficial for blood circulation! Use our JBCO Growth Serum or other products with essential oils to improve circulation.
- Give yourself regular scalp massages to stimulate blood flow to the scalp.
- Yoga and stretching help with circulation throughout your body!
5. PROTECTION. If you damage the skin on your scalp, your hair will have more difficulty growing. A variety of factors can cause direct damage to the scalp, including UV radiation, intense temperatures, and harsh chemicals.
What to do:
- Protect yourself! Wear a hat or scarf when you’re out in the sun for a while.
- Avoid hair products that irritate your scalp.
- Be very careful with chemical treatments, perms, are relaxers, or avoid them altogether. They can cause serious scalp and hair damage.
- Avoid washing your hair with extremely hot water or spending time outside in the extreme cold.
Signs of an Unhealthy Scalp
Dandruff and Minor Infections
- Dandruff is usually the result of a mild scalp infection. Hair products, oil, dirt, and dead skin build up on the scalp over time. Buildup can trap bacteria and yeast and allow them to grow on the scalp. These yeasts lead to excessive skin cell growth on the scalp. The overgrowth of skin cells build up and shed in the form of dandruff.
- Product and oil buildup is usually caused by infrequent shampooing/cleansing, or poor hygiene. Hormonal changes, stress, diet changes, or illness can also cause imbalances in these bacteria. On the other hand, some people are simply more prone to the yeasts that cause dandruff (this is probably the case if dandruff runs in your family.) This just means you need to take extra steps to keep your scalp clean.
- Flakes can also be the result of a dry scalp. If this is the case, read on...
Dry or Itchy Scalp
- If your scalp seems like it's always dry, the first thing to adjust is your shampoo regimen. Shampoo less often, and opt for a shampoo that is less harsh. Make sure you rinse shampoo thoroughly out of your hair.
- Dry or itchy scalp can also be caused by a specific product, chemical, or ingredient that irritates your skin. Review this list of ingredients that could be irritating or drying out your scalp.
- Keep your scalp moisturized by deep conditioning regularly. Avocado Deep Conditioners provide a deep moisturizing treatment for your hair and scalp. Follow the treatment with a leave in conditioner and a moisturizing oil like Shea butter or jojoba oil.
- If itchiness persists, see a doctor or dermatologist. You might have a more serious scalp condition.
How to treat an itchy, irritated, or flaking scalp in 5 steps.
- Deep condition your hair. NaturAll Club's natural Avocado Deep Conditioners contain antimicrobial oils, and provide a deep moisturizing and nourishing treatment to your hair and scalp.
- Cleanse and exfoliate. Get rid of all the buildup and bacteria! Do an exfoliating scrub and then wash with a cleansing shampoo.
- After washing your hair, restore pH balance with an ACV rinse.
- Use a leave-in conditioner to restore moisture and hydrate your scalp.
- Seal in moisture with an all natural oil (highly recommended: jojoba oil, avocado oil, Jamaican black castor oil, and Shea butter.) This will prevent your scalp from drying out again.