10 Important Scalp Care Tips for Healthy Scalp and Hair
By Jacqueline Samaroo
Healthy hair doesn’t start at the ends. It grows from the roots. Those roots are healthiest when they grow from a healthy scalp. This is why scalp care is so vital – healthy scalp and hair go hand-in-hand.
Keep reading to discover some healthy scalp care tips to get the most out of your scalp care routine.
Scalp Care 101: Understanding the Scalp and Its Functions
Scalp skin is very much alike AND unlike skin found on the rest of your body. It has layers just like other areas of skin. But, it has five layers compared to three layers elsewhere.
It also has more oil glands and definitely more hair follicles than the rest of your skin, too. In fact, the average human scalp has about 100,000 to 150,000 hair follicles. A single strand of hair grows from each one.
Your scalp also has the job of producing sebum. This is a natural waxy, oily substance that lubricates and conditions both your scalp and your hair.
Just like the rest of your skin, your scalp has blood vessels running through it. These vessels bring oxygen and nutrients to the hair cells. They also take away wastes and toxic substances that can adversely affect scalp and hair health.
Scalp care for bald heads
We tend to focus on scalp health as it relates directly to hair health and hair growth. But, if you’re a proud baldie or you wear your hair in a fade, you know having your scalp on full display is pretty much unavoidable. This makes scalp care for bald heads very important.
The healthy scalp tips coming up in the next section apply as much to bald scalps as they do to scalps sprouting long, luscious curls!
For more on shaved heads, read
- Thinking of Shaving Off Your Natural Hair? Read This First!
- Natural Hair Styles: 27 Stunning Tapers and Fades
10 Tips for Healthy Scalp and Hair
1. Remember your scalp is skin
This is perhaps the most important tip when it comes to scalp care. We tend to forget that our scalp is actually skin. That’s probably because it’s hidden by our hair and the health and appearance of our hair are what we tend to focus on.
Remembering that the scalp is skin might help us give it the same attention we give to having flawless skin on our faces and elsewhere on our bodies.
We take care to cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate, and moisturize our faces – and that’s a good thing! But, these healthy skin treatments are also healthy scalp treatments we should be practicing on a regular basis.
2. Don’t wash your hair too often
Of course, how often you wash your hair will depend on several factors. These include how active you are during the day; the environmental conditions you are in; if you have a naturally oily or a naturally dry scalp; and whether you are dealing with the symptoms of dry scalp or dandruff.
Washing your hair is a good way to clean your scalp but it also strips away the sebum which your hair and scalp need. A good approach is to set up a routine and then adjust it according to how your scalp and hair react.
When you wash your hair:
- Use a gentle shampoo that won’t damage your scalp as it cleans.
- Use a conditioner each time to hydrate, moisturize and nourish your scalp.
- Use a deep conditioner once a week.
- Keep the pH balance of your scalp in mind. We deep-dive into the pH of hair and scalp in our article Baking Soda and ACV – Are They Really Good for Natural Hair?
3. Avoid irritating and drying products
It’s not just your shampoo that should be gentle on your scalp. Each of your styling and hair care products should be chosen as scalp care products, as well. Ingredients, such as sulfates, parabens, alcohols, fragrances, and mineral oil can have very negative effects on your scalp and hair.
Remember, too, that your scalp absorbs some of the stuff you put on it. Some questionable ingredients can go beyond affecting just your scalp and actually affect your general health
4. Eat a balanced diet
While the best scalp care products will nourish, strengthen, and protect your scalp, they can’t do a whole lot if your scalp is simply unhealthy on the inside. The best way to care for your scalp is with the foods you eat.
A balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals, along with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids will work wonders for your scalp and the hair it grows.
Get advice from your doctor or dietician if you feel you may be lacking in particular nutrients or at risk of a deficiency. Dietary supplements may be an alternative to consider.
Our recent series on vitamins for hair growth covered the hair-healthy benefits of vitamins A, B, C, D, and E. We also looked at the best sources of each, and signs of deficiency. Here’s a good place to start: 9 Wonderful Vitamin B Complex Benefits.
5. Protect your scalp from the Sun
Vitamin D is one of the vitamins that contribute to healthy hair growth. As its other name, the sunshine vitamin, suggests, the best way to get your vitamin D is by exposing your skin to direct sunlight – but not for prolonged periods.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, be sure to protect your scalp from the damaging effects of UV rays. Wear a hat or scarf or stay in the shade.
Read all about vitamin D and tips to safely get the vitamin D you need in our recent post: Vitamin D for Hair Growth – 3 Incredible Benefits.
6. Exfoliate your scalp regularly
A scalp scrub is definitely one of the scalp care products you should be using. Scrubs can remove dead skin cells, excess oils, dandruff or dry scalp flakes, and grime.
Whether it’s one with tiny granules that physically scrub your scalp or one that exfoliates chemically, but NOT harshly. A scrub with tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil is a good one to use. These ingredients exfoliate and stimulate your scalp.
Another benefit of a scalp scrub is that it can help you to feel more relaxed – just as a scalp massage (the topic of our next tip) does!
7. Give yourself a scalp massage
A scalp massage is one of those healthy scalp care treatments you can do each time you wash your hair – and in-between! A good idea is to gently massage beneficial oils into your scalp as a pre-shampoo treatment. This will help to lift dead skin cells and debris from your scalp so your shampoo can easily get rid of them.
Scalp massages also carry the added benefit of helping to calm your mind and spirit. They can be almost meditative. A scalp massage is one of the best types of self-massage you can do.
Watch as A N G I E B E E shares some of the benefits of a scalp massage and shows us how it’s done.
8. Treat yourself to a scalp steam
A scalp steam treatment about once per month helps to unclog your pores. This makes it easier for toxins to be removed. Your scalp steam will also help to open up your hair follicles, allowing hydrating and moisturizing products inside. The third benefit of scalp steaming is that it improves blood circulation – a necessary part of maintaining a healthy scalp and hair.
9. Remember temperature affects the health of your scalp, too.
Avoid cold, dry air whether it’s from the weather or from the air conditioning in your home. Constant exposure to air that is cold and dry is one of the risk factors of developing dry scalp. A humidifier can help to counteract this.
At the other end of the spectrum, you should avoid using hot water on your scalp. Apart from the possibility of burns, it can strip too much sebum and moisture from your scalp. This can also lead to you developing dry scalp.
10. Treat scalp issues right away
Scalp conditions and infections come in many forms. Each has its own symptoms but there are some common signs of trouble you can be on the lookout for. The sooner you spot and treat any adverse scalp conditions the better for you, your scalp, and your hair.
A healthy scalp is free from
- Redness and inflammation
- Irritation – itching and burning
- Flakes and scales
- Buildup of grime and products
- An odor
- Hair loss
- Dry, brittle, breaking hair
If you notice any of these signs and they cause you any concern, schedule a visit with your doctor. They can do a thorough examination of your scalp and suggest the best treatment. That may include prescription or OTC medication, but it may also involve healthy scalp home remedies you can try.
Be sure to read
- Best Treatment for Dry Scalp – 5 DIY Remedies
- How to Treat Dry Scalp – 6 Simple and Effective Lifestyle Changes
Do you have any healthy scalp and hair tips you would like to share? We’re all ears!!