Almost everyone will have to deal with scalp problems at some point, so know you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are many things you can do about it. Below are a number of scalp problems and tips on how to solve them!
Do you think you have dandruff? First make sure it’s not flakes. Flakes are often seen as dandruff, but are harmless. For example, it can be remnants of hair products that don’t dissolve in water or haven’t been rinsed well. Therefore, make sure you rinse your hair thoroughly and use CG products that are water soluble. Think of a co-wash or clarifying shampoo.
Did the flakes not disappear? Then you probably suffer from dandruff. Symptoms of dandruff are white, greasy-looking flakes of dead skin that cover the hair and shoulders. It’s simply a buildup of shedding dead skin. You probably have an itchy and flaky scalp too. Dandruff is caused by the fungus Malassezia globosa which feeds off of sebum. You can treat it with a special shampoo that regulates sebum production or tackles the yeast that causes it. Repeated use of the same anti-fungal shampoo may end up making the product inefficient, so try to cycle between a few different kinds. Note that dandruff thrives in warm, moist environments, for example, those created when plopping. So stay away from plopping for a while.
Do you suffer from a dry scalp? A dry scalp produces too little sebum and lacks moisture. Symptoms of this include a tight feeling and dry skin flakes falling from the scalp. Causes for this are aggressive shampoos, the climate, sun exposure, and swimming pools. They dissolve the natural sebum on the scalp and extract moisture.
If you have a dry scalp, here’s what you can do:
- Wash your hair as little as possible. A dry scalp can be caused by washing too often.
- Wash your hair with a CG-proof sulfate-free shampoo. Sulphates strip your hair of its natural oils.
- Or use a co-wash, which is a popular method within the Curly Girl Method. Replace shampoo for conditioner and wash your hair with it. This is much gentler on your scalp as it contains milder cleansers.
- An oil scalp massage can also help with a dry scalp. Do this once a week before washing your hair. It will also protect your scalp from the cleanser. Heat a mix of various oils, such as coconut oil, olive oil and jojoba oil, and massage this onto your scalp. Wrap it in a warm towel and leave it on for 20-30 minutes. Then wash your hair or use an apple cider cleanse.
- Avoid heat. Don’t shower too hot and let your hair air dry rather than blow dry.
- Give the pre-poo method a try.
Also read: Pre-poo: what is it & what are the benefits?
Do you suffer from an itchy scalp? That’s a sign that something isn’t right with your hair care routine or the health condition of your scalp. This can have several causes. For example, it could be an allergic reaction. Have you started using any new CG products that may contain ingredients that could be causing your itchy scalp? For this you can be tested by a dermatologist. You could also be sensitive to preservatives such as methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) and methylisothiazolinone (MI). Also known as the Itchy M’s.
If you have an itchy scalp, here’s what you can do:
- Drink more water, as an itchy dry scalp is starving for more moisture.
- Don’t wash your hair too often.
- Avoid harmful substances such as sulfates in your shampoo. Therefore always use a CG friendly shampoo.
- Don’t use too many products, as it can very easily lead to product build-up, which will give you an itchy scalp.
- Occasionally use a sulfate free clarifying shampoo to remove build up.
- Tea tree oil has soothing properties and is an antifungal agent that has been used in hair care products for many years.
Do you have itchy, red, scaly patches? Then you may have psoriasis. That’s a chronic skin condition. It causes the body to make too many new skin cells. Usually skin cell turnover takes about a month, but with psoriasis only a few days. Symptoms of psoriasis include thick, red, inflamed skin, white or silvery-gray scaling that is itchy and painful to the touch. Scalp psoriasis is slightly more difficult to treat than other forms of psoriasis because the scalp is more difficult to reach. Oily ointments are also less suitable for the hairy scalp, because they cannot be washed out properly. That’s why it’s best to discuss this scalp problem with your doctor or dermatologist.
Unfortunately, you cannot cure psoriasis. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce the symptoms:
- Prevent skin damage.
- Don’t shower too long and too hot, because that will dry out your skin.
- Limit how often you wash your hair.
- Shampoos with tar or salicylic acid may be helpful.
- Take good care of the scalp so that it doesn’t become too dry. Dry skin is itchy and causes problems again more quickly.
Do you have any other questions about scalp problems? Let us know in the comments below.