S – skin
C – connective tissue
A – aponeurosis
L – loose connective tissue
P – pericranium or periosteum
Anyway, just like your skin, the scalp serves as a physical barrier to protect your body, and it is where your hair grows from!
And just like your skin, it renews daily, needs hydration, loses elasticity over time, dries out in cold weather, and sweats in hot climates.
Scalp hair come through structures known as hair follicles found in the scalp’s dermis. The hair follicle itself is ‘nourished’ by a rich nervous and vascular network necessary to supply the essential elements for hair growth.
So, one thing is for sure that it’s just as important to care for your scalp so your hair can grow on a healthy base, but it can also stimulate healthy hair growth.
Now let’s understand the hair anatomy and the role the scalp has.
Each hair strand is made of a protein known as keratin, which occurs naturally in our body. The keratin-rich fibers have two parts: the hair shaft and the hair follicle.
The shaft is the portion of hair on your head that is visible.
Whereas the follicle lies below your skin and it’s not visible.
The follicle is made up of blood vessels and nerves. It needs nourishment from our body to grow and stay healthy. The nutrients to hair are supplied through the scalp. So, it’s evident that for healthy hair, you need to have a healthy scalp.
Now next to the hair follicle, we have the little glands called the sebaceous glands. Which again are similar to the one you have on your face, which can lead to oily skin.
Right, that gland delivers ‘sebum,’ which is a mixture of oil and water that goes down your hair shaft and helps to keep it moisturized.
When you have curly hair texture, chances are that there isn’t enough sebum to go around the various curls; this is why textured hair tends to be drier than straight hair!
If you don’t take effective care of your scalp, your follicles will be affected, and your curls may not be as strong, healthy, and hydrated as you’d like.
Now, you might be thinking, ok, I understand the importance of a healthy scalp and how it helps in having beautiful curls and coils. But how to know if my scalp is healthy and what are the different ways to take good care of my scalp?
Those are signs that you might have an unbalanced scalp.
Any of these symptoms can be a sign that your scalp needs a little TLC.
Now let’s look at the 4 basics way to maintain a healthy and balanced scalp, which by the way, can be done while you take care of your hair; it isn’t about adding more to your overall routine:
This alone will make a huge difference, especially if you use a lot of styling products.
Just like your skin, a regular exfoliation routine is beneficial for your scalp. Products like styling mousse or commercial conditioners are the common causes of buildup, like dead skin, sebum, and sweat.
There are 3 types of exfoliations:
If you are new to exfoliation, stick to scrubs!
I recommend exfoliating at least once a month and building it up to weekly if you can.
It seems pretty obvious, but I know how we Black people love to skip wash day, especially if we have a protective style on!
Wash your hair weekly, no matter what.
Alternate your favorite shampoo with a deeper cleanse, like black soap or clarifying shampoo, to really get rid of the buildup.
It is ok to have a favorite shampoo! You don’t have to give up everything you like, just alternate with the things you need!
Now there are a few ways of doing that!
You can mask your scalp, yes, sis! In the same way, you mask your hair, scalp masks are great for detox, especially clay-based masks that work wonders on the scalp!
And you can use serums or oils. So now, do you need to use oil everyday on your scalp? Probably not.
As I mentioned before, your hair’s natural oil system is the ‘sebum’ which is a blend of fat and water; it is not a stretch to think that your scalp can benefit from extra oil if it is dry.
Don’t overlook water-based serum, which can deliver great hydration and treat certain conditions such as an oily scalp. There is more to life than oil and grease on your scalp!
Please take time to massage your scalp. You can do it in the shower, when you shampoo, when you mask, and when you apply your nourishing product
Do not underestimate the power of massage; it stimulates circulation, and we talked about how the hair gets nourishment from the vascular system.
So now let’s talk about the specifics of ingredients to avoid and those to look out for.
(note that clarifying shampoo are mean to be a bit more aggressive, this is why I prefer black soap, as it provides deep cleansing while being mild to the scalp and hair)
So, just a quick note on styling!
The easiest would be to just leave your hair alone, wild and free, but we are not gonna do that, right?
Et Voila, that was a quick webinar on scalp health and care.