Scalp care is having a moment. The days of trying to disguise white flakes and slyly scratch an itch are long gone. Now, we finally want to shine a spotlight on how well-cared for our heads are – after all is it the root cause of hair health.
It’s become such a sought-after sector, that hashtag #scalpscare has garnered 1.2 billion views, at speed. Breakaway terms such as #scalp, #scalptreatment, and #scalpmassage have collectively gained 2 billion views.
So with scalp care at the center of attention, we’ve decided to bust the common scalp myths that we’ve seen gain attention.
1. YOUR SCALP IS BEST LEFT ALONE
We often hear not to ‘condition your scalp’, ‘focus on the hair ends’, and ‘it’s stripping to cleanse the scalp too much’, but in reality, the scalp should be treated just like your skin.
While the scalp microbiome is tasked with protecting and caring for your head and hair, the use of styling products, heat, and other environmental factors, means it often needs a helping hand.
Similar to your skin microbiome, the scalp requires support when it comes to sloughing away product build-up and boosting hydration levels. As the scalp microbiome is easily influenced and occasionally vulnerable to certain shampoos and conditioners, the right scalp care routine can help to alleviate and prevent any potential irritation.
A scalp care routine can include massagers, exfoliating scrubs, clarifying pre-shampoos, and calming scalp toners.
2. DRY SCALP CAUSES DANDRUFF
When it comes to dandruff, we often assume it’s down to dry skin. And although a dry scalp can contribute to and exacerbate dandruff, it’s not the main cause.
In fact, dandruff is actually a result of an overgrowth of the “yeast-like fungi” Malassezia, on the scalp.
Malassezia is a fungi yeast that is a well-known resident in the scalp microbiome. Similar to C. acnes in the skin microbiome, Malassezia feeds on sebum and therefore grows out of control when the scalp and hair are oily.
A study found that dandruff tends to be more common during puberty and around twenty years old when sebaceous glands activity is maximum.
3. WASHING YOUR HAIR EVERY DAY IS BAD FOR YOU
Ok, this is a myth. But, there is a slight element of truth to it.
The frequency all depends on your hair type. For instance, fine hair has more hairs on the scalp, and as each hair sits in an oil gland, this increases the risk of an oily scalp. Therefore it’s more of a necessity to wash daily, rinse off the excess oil, and avoid irritation or dandruff forming.
Whereas, coarser hair has fewer oil glands and therefore it can take a bit longer for oil to build up. But, this can make it naturally drier, and so hair-wash-day becomes a hydration process.
Depending on your hair type will determine how often you should wash your hair. For those with coarser or coily hair, you may not want to wash too often in order to allow your natural oils to do their job and prevent stripping.
4. FUNGI ON THE SCALP ARE BAD
Fungi have a bad reputation. Mostly for its ability to plague us with troublesome fungal infections.
But, believe it or not, fungi are actually a beneficial part of your scalp health.
Actually, your scalp is naturally full of fungi. This, and other microorganisms make up your scalp microbiome. It’s when certain fungi dominate and grow out of control, that it can be problematic.
For instance, an imbalance of the scalp microbiome and the prevalence of certain types of fungus can lead to tinea capitis and endothrix scalp infections.
5. YOU DON’T NEED TO PROTECT YOUR SCALP FROM THE SUN
Disclaimer: your hair is not a shield from UV rays.
Just like the rest of your skin, your scalp needs sun protection too. This is particularly important for those with finer hair that may have more skin exposed. You may already know this if you’ve ever burnt your parting.
But another reason to safeguard your scalp is to also protect your hair. The sun’s strong rays can damage your strands by drying them out and reducing it’s strength, leading to weak, brittle hair.
When the sun is at its peak, wear a hat to ensure your scalp is protected. Otherwise, seek specially-formulated sun-creams that you can spritz in your hair while on the go.
6. REGULARLY USING A CLARIFYING SHAMPOO IS GOOD FOR YOUR SCALP
Ok, so now you’ve started the scalp care process and solidified a routine, it’s just as important not to overdo it.
This mainly applies to clarifying shampoos. They are incredible products for deep-cleaning tresses and lifting dirt, grease, and product build-up from the scalp.
However, they are not to be overused. Simply because, their deep, detoxing effect can be too harsh if used for every wash. Remember, our natural oils are beneficial, we don’t want to strip them away, but instead, keep them at a level that works for them and us.
Always check with the product’s recommendation, but usually, it’s best to use a clarifying shampoo only once a week or as needed.
BONUS MYTH: MASSAGING YOUR SCALP WITH OIL CAN CURE HAIR LOSS
While social media can teach us incredible time-saving hacks, it’s often awash with numerous claims on curing hair loss.
It’s always important to remember that hair can be caused by a variety of factors, whether it’s temporary and a result of stress or body-straining infections like Covid, or it could be more permanent and down to genetics, hormones, or other medical conditions. In any instance, it’s always best to consult a medical professional.
That’s why, there is no set cure for treating hair loss and it’s dependent on what has caused it. That being said, massaging your hair with your hands or a scalp massager, will still increase your overall hair health. Simply because it will increase blood flow, which in turn, delivers nutrition to your hair follicles.
While there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that massaging your scalp with oil can cure hair loss, there are certain types of oil – such as rosemary oil – that have been shown to promote hair growth. However, this is still variable person-to-person.
Learn more about your skin microbiome and meet the bacteria living in yours with our skin test. Order here.
Have you done our scalp survey?
Help us, help you! We would love to know how many of you are interested in your scalp microbiome by answering a few questions.
You can also complete the survey here, or on our app homepage.
Enter your email below to receive updates from the Skin Trust Club HQ including latest offers and recommendations on new microbiome-friendly products.