Although we spend a lot of time talking about hair loss, it’s important to remember that a healthy head of hair is rooted in a healthy scalp. While it’s definitely important to care for your strands, the health and condition of your scalp and hair follicles can make a big difference in the rate of your hair loss and the overall look of your hair.
The scalp and the dermis layer below it create the foundation of healthy hair follicles. Unlike the skin on other areas of your body, scalp skin is incredibly delicate, making it particularly sensitive to the care—or lack of care—that you give it. Scalp skin is made up of thousands of glands and pores at and just below the surface, which cause skin to constantly shed dirt and impurities while producing sweat and oil. While hair follicles need natural oils to function, an excess or lack of oils can also be problematic. Just like it’s difficult to grow a garden with bad soil, it’s difficult to grow a strong head of hair without the support of a healthy scalp.
Over time, the dead skin and oils on your scalp build up, clogging pores and causing skin infections and dandruff. When hair tries to sprout from a clogged follicle, it’s prone to infection. While seemingly harmless nuisances, untreated flakes and infections can lead to scarring, which negatively affects hair follicle production and can affect how quickly and healthily your hair grows and how much of it falls out. Regular cleansing, exfoliation, and hydration are essential to scalp health and will promote hair growth, decrease shedding, and reduce irritation.
Though washing and exfoliation are important, hormonal regulation is also critical to scalp health. Below the skin, hormones also play a significant factor in scalp health and hair growth. Just like on your face, hormone irregularities can affect your scalp and its ability to support the kind of growth that is vital for healthy hair. Hormone irregularities can cause scalp skin to thin and affect its ability to support a healthy head of hair. A healthy scalp should be thick with a normal pH balance to prevent excessive hair loss. One of the fastest ways to regulate hormones is to adopt a healthy lifestyle with a nutrient-dense diet and regular exercise. Because it promotes thick follicular growth, protein is an essential nutrient for a healthy scalp. Biotin and vitamin A are also helpful in moisturizing the scalp and promoting thick, healthy strands.
UV rays can be incredibly damaging to the scalp, thinning the skin and making it unable to support healthy hair follicles. Make sure to wear sunscreen on any exposed part of your scalp. Even better, keep a hat on when you are outside for any length of time. However, make sure to wash your hats regularly to avoid a detrimental scalp infection.
Because strong strands grow from healthy, intact skin that’s clean from oil, dirt, and bacteria, a healthy scalp is essential to growing a thick, healthy head of hair. Fortunately, it takes just a few minutes each day to maintain your scalp health and reduce hair loss. However, just as everyone’s skin and hormones are unique, so is the scalp. Talk to your dermatologist and hair stylist about your scalp’s unique needs.