Despite long-held popular beliefs, scalp treatments aren’t just reserved for those with dandruff or sore, itchy scalps.
In actual fact, having good scalp health is essential to good hair; whatever condition your locks are in, your scalp is at the root of it all. (See what we did there?)
‘The scalp is the bedrock for the hair follicle,’ explains trichologist Anabel Kingsley, ‘If it’s not in good condition, the chances of you experiencing problems with hair growth and health increase significantly. Research has proven that a flaky, itchy scalp can cause and or worsen hair loss in certain individuals.’
‘Just like the skin on our face, the scalp ages too, which can lead to dull, thinning hair and – in the worst-case scenario – hair loss,’ adds Nate Bigger, founder of new hair and scalp care brand MONPURE London. ‘Plus, if you’ve ever experienced the discomfort of dryness, flakiness or an itchy scalp, then you’ll know that the scalp needs as much care and attention and everywhere else on our body.’
The good news is that we’ve started waking up to the importance of caring for our poor old scalps. According to haircare brand Living Proof, ‘scalp’ was the top hair-related search term on Space NK at the start of 2019. So, without further ado, read on for the top tips you need to care for your scalp.
Scalp treatments and tips
The importance of caring for your scalp all comes down to the hair’s structure. ‘The hair is comprised of two parts,’ explains José Ginestar, scientific director at Sisley Paris. ‘The hair bulb, the living part at the dermis level, and the hair fibre, the visible part that’s greatly exposed to environmental damage.
‘At scalp level, the hair bulb is the hair-producing entity, where the cells responsible for the formation of hair fibre and colour are concentrated. By bringing dedicated active ingredients to the scalp, the cellular mechanisms of the hair are going to be boosted.’
Regardless of whether your scalp is normal, dry, oily or itchy, you need to be looking after it. ‘Special care of the scalp is needed, as the condition of the hair directly depends on its health; the hair will be stronger and denser, shinier and radiant with vitality,’ José adds.
Giving your scalp a refresh is important to remove product build-up, and a sore, flaking scalp can be treated with an exfoliating mask or tonic. ‘It is also crucial to massage the scalp in addition to the formulas,’ explains José. ‘Massaging the hair helps improve blood circulation and allows a better penetration of the active ingredients. It’s also better to use sulphate free shampoos, as these are harsh on the scalp.’
José adds that, although the results are a long-term solution, you’ll see a difference in your scalp after a few weeks if you heed this advice.
Which ingredients are particularly good for your scalp?
When shopping for haircare, there are certain ingredients that can be especially good for your scalp. Below, MONPURE’s founder, Nate, explains some of them in more detail.
‘AHAs like lactic acid help remove dead skin cells and also debris that build-up on our scalp throughout the day. This is important to help the absorption of active ingredients and improve the efficacy of moisturisers used.’
‘You have probably heard about retinol; dermatologists have long sworn by it as a solution to a number of skincare dilemmas, from scarring and wrinkles, acne and pigmentation. People are starting to wake up to the fact that retinoids can have the same anti-ageing effects on the scalp – and hair loss – as they do on the face. Our Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum stars a potent form of retinol called retinyl palmitate, which is retinol combined with the fatty acid, palmitic acid. This also occurs naturally in the body and is a renowned antioxidant, good for strengthening and repairing cells.
‘You might already be familiar with this ingredient as a popular ‘after sun’ or sunburn remedy. It’s a succulent plant that grows in arid landscapes around the world, and is full of what’s known as polysaccharides, which are famous for their hydrating and anti-inflammatory powers. So it’s a hero for issues like irritation, itching and dryness.’
‘A natural toner and anti-inflammatory, it’s ideal for treating irritated scalps, as it’s historically been used in skincare remedies for ailments like rashes, insect bites, bruises and minor burns – and is renowned for calming sensitive skin.’
‘For those dealing with dry scalps in need of hydration, Pro-Vitamin B5 – otherwise known as pantothenic acid – is widely used in face creams, masks and toners. It’s another winning ingredient in our Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum, which together with moisturising allantoin, absorbs water from the air like a sponge to prevent dry, itchy scalps.’
Camellia tea oil
‘Widely used in Asia, this essential oil is extracted from the seeds of the tea plant. Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, as well as essential fatty acids it delivers an intense hit of nourishment to neglected scalps to stimulate hair follicles and enhance healthy hair growth while leaving it conditioned.’
Pumpkin Seed Extract
‘Testosterone in our body produces a chemical called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which in excess may cause hair loss in certain individuals,’ explains MONPURE’s resident dermatologist, Dr Sue Ann Chan. ‘This chemical is released by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which pumpkin seed extract helps to block. That’s what makes it effective in preventing hair loss, which is why it’s the star ingredient in MONPURE’s Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum.’
What are scalp scrubs? Do I need one?
‘As with the skin on your face, your scalp has its fair share of dirt and debris. But with your hair covering it, it can easily build up, causing irritation and inhibiting hair growth,’ Nate explains.
‘Similar to facial and body scrubs, scalp scrubs, like MONPURE’s Clarifying Scalp Scrub, work in the same way to exfoliate away debris and dead skin. Instead of microbeads, ours contains biodegradable jojoba beads, conditioning shea butter and nourishing argan oil extract.’
That said, not everyone can necessarily use a scrub on their scalp. ‘Not all skin types are suitable for scrubbing,’ warns Dr Sue Ann Chan. ‘If you have any dermatological conditions, do consult your dermatologist [or doctor] before using scalp scrubs, as these can sometimes irritate the skin if you have pre-existing scalp conditions, such as scalp eczema or scalp lupus etc.’
Ready to get your scalp in check? Keep scrolling for the scalp treatments to shop now.