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  • Nelufer Beebeejaun

A Healthy Scalp is a Happy One

What a month January has been! I know I usually write about skincare and the best ways to deal with annoying breakouts. BUT due to popular demand and the fact that the weather has been absolute crap, today’s topic will be how to care for your scalp!

I am someone with very curly hair. It can be very drying and I usually have a ton of buildup on my scalp because of the products I use. Even when I started straightening my hair regularly in 2015, I noticed my scalp was becoming super unhealthy. My scalp was always itchy and there was a ton of buildup. I was experiencing dandruff for the first time ever and my hair was taking FOREVER to grow. Add in the the dry air from heaters at full blast, the cold wind tunnels we walk through in the city and you have the perfect combination for a dry and itchy scalp.

So why do our scalps get itchy in the first place? There are numerous medical reasons but I will concentrate on dandruff and dry scalp. Dandruff (or seborrheic dermatitis) is caused by an overreaction the body has to normal yeast on the skin. Changes in weather, stress and increased sugar in your diet can bring it out. Dry scalp on the other hand comes with the seasonal changes of winter (dry an cold air). The dryness strips the scalp of its protective oils. Stress, over styling your hair and changes to your diet can all have an impact as well.

For me, when I noticed the buildup was getting unbearable, I had to find something to properly cleanse my scalp each time I washed my hair. I was less worried now about my strands getting clean and wanted to focus in on getting my scalp healthy.

Did you know that what we use for our skin health can also be applied to our scalp/hair health? I have below some suggestions and products with familiar skincare ingredients you might recognize.

Probiotics: The balance of good and bad bacteria on your skin is the key to a clear complexion.The same goes for your scalp. When this is out of whack, you get itching, flaking and irritation. Many anti fungal scalp treatments can really dry out your hair so its important to get the moisture back in.

Hyaluronic Acid: Dehydration is at the root of all scalp and hair woes. Breakage, dull hair, curls that are lacking their usual bounce and shine, all can be attributed to dehydration. I recently tried this amazing scalp mask (yes these exist!) that holds 1000 times its weight in water. You just apply the mask to your scalp after shampooing, let it marinate for a couple of minutes, rinse out and voila!

Salicylic Acid: This is a common ingredient we find in a lot of our spot treatments and acne products. But did you know this is a great for the scalp too? It helps increase cell turnover on your scalp, getting rid of all that buildup.

Tea Tree Oil: This is probably the one thing that has improved my scalp health immensely over the past year or so. Not only has it healed my dry itchy scalp but I actually noticed that now that my scalp is healthy, my hair has been growing a lot faster and a lot stronger. I love the cool and tingly feeling I get when I use it, like I actually feel my scalp getting cleaner.

You can incorporate tea tree oil in 2 ways, the first is to add a couple of drops of pure tea tree oil directly to your shampoo or you can buy a tea tree oil infused shampoo (which is what I do)

You should buy: Tea Tree Special Shampoo (a huge bottle is about $40, I usually buy this from a Trade Secrets store, I am not a huge fan of the conditioner though)

The shampoo has oil and peppermint to soothe the scalp. Because of how dry my hair is and the build up I get from curly hair products, I tend to use it every time I wash my hair, I just make sure my conditioner I use after is a hella hydrating.

Here is a couple of pictures to show my own hair transformation.

Here is a time line of my hair since last year (going across from left to right) using the Tea Tree Shampoo:

1. This is when my hair was at its worst. Scalp was terrible and I was burning the crap out of my hair straightening it. You can see how stressed and dead my locks look.

2. Freshly cut and rocking my natural curls, consistently using the Tea Tree Shampoo.

3. The longer I went without applying heat and keeping my scalp clean, the more my natural curl pattern started coming back.

4. Straightening my hair for the first time in a long time. Note the length, shine and thickness.

5. How my hair was during the second half of 2018, long, thick and healthy with a happy scalp! :)

For an all natural scalp treatment: Place a bowl over a pot of hot water and mix two tablespoons of coconut oil with one tablespoon of olive oil (for dry hair or dandruff) or one table spoon of jojoba oil. Apply to the scalp and massage the oil in from root to ends. Warm a towel in the dryer and wrap your head in it for 20 minutes. Rinse out and style as you would.

So there you have it, a couple of tips to rid you of your dry scalp this winter. Also, never underestimate the power of a good scalp massage :)

Nel xoxo


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