When talking about hair care, we usually mean masks, serums, oils and tons of other products that are applied to the hair shaft, and while a lot of them do improve the quality of your hair, we do tend to forget the most important part – the scalp.
Scalp care is crucial for healthy hair, as that is where the follicles are and where your hair grows from. The skin of your scalp goes through the same phases of regeneration as any other part of your body, but shedding old cells can be a bit more tricky here, as buildup from hair care products can make it harder for your skin to get rid of old cells.
What Is Scalp Exfoliation?
Scalp exfoliation, similar to your usual face or body scrub, is a simple step added to your hair routine that will help your hair scalp get rid of buildup and dead skin cells that might be stuck.
We all know that our skin is constantly regenerating itself. We’re shedding 40.000 dead skin cells each day, replacing them with new ones, and even though our skin is capable of producing new cells by itself, sometimes it’s quite useful to help it get rid of the old ones.
Exfoliating has become one of the basic steps in most skincare routines, and with good reason. This one simple step helps skin regeneration, prevents clogged pores and helps the skin to balance sebum production, which is a key factor in maintaining its moisture levels and protective barrier.
The Benefits of Exfoliating Your Scalp
There benefits of scalp exfoliation are numerous. Not only does it keep your scalp fresh and balanced, but will also improve hair quality tremendously.
Just think about all the products you use daily on your hair, all the leave-in conditioners, styling products, oils, serums… even if they are all free of silicones, parabens and similar ingredients, these types of products are designed to stick to hair, so naturally they will stick to your scalp as well.
Washing your hair will remove most of it, but not all and after a while that remaining build up, combined with the natural oils that your scalp secretes, will cause issues such as itching, flakiness, dandruff or even hair loss. The more debris is on your scalp, the harder it is for the follicles to push new hair out, and over time that leads to thinner and duller hair.
Balance your scalp
Exfoliating your scalp once every week or every two weeks will not only help you get rid of that buildup, but also help your skin balance its sebum production. Buildup on your scalp can go both ways. It can either be disrupting the sebum distribution on your skin by clogging the pores, which leaves it dry and can result in dandruff and itchiness.
Clogged pores can also drive your scalp into hyper production, leading to excess oil being secreted, leaving you with greasy hair. When the scalp is clear, your sebum production levels will normalise and will be able to nourish both the skin and the hair as intended.
How exfoliating helps with hair growth
As mentioned earlier, buildup on the scalp can impact the quality of the hair growing follicle, which in turn will impact the quality of the emerging hair – it’ll be thinner, but also weaker, which makes it prone to breakage.
Exfoliating your scalp will not only get rid of that buildup that is blocking your hair from growing, but also ensure maximum nourishment, so that it can grow healthy and strong. Physical exfoliation has the added benefit of massaging the scalp, bringing blood flow to the surface which can promote hair growth.
How to Exfoliate Your Scalp
Exfoliating your scalp is a lot simpler than you might think, and actually quite similar to exfoliating any other part of your body. You can either use a traditional scalp scrub, which physically removes debris and build-up, or a chemical exfoliator.
Chemical exfoliators contain acid that gently dissolves bonds between the old skin cells, debris and all the build up, so that you can just wash it off. They are quite easy to use and rinse off. The physical ones, however, come with the benefit that they also increase blood circulation to the scalp.
Both are great ways, but with both it’s important to choose a product that is specifically designed for the scalp, as body scrubs will be too harsh, and some gentler face scrubs might not do the job.
Luckily, nowadays there are tons of products available that are designed for this purpose specifically and considering how easy it is to do and how many benefits this simple step will bring to your overall hair quality, you should give it a shot.