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How to Deal with Itchy and Flaky Scalp in 6 Effective Ways

Taking care of your scalp is just as important as managing your hair. Read on for effective ways to handle an itchy and flaky scalp and achieve healthy roots.

 

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There is more to attaining healthy hair than what you see on the surface. The hair starts at the roots within the scalp. Thus, it's important to remember that in order to achieve healthy hair, you have to have a healthy scalp first.

Just like the skin on your face and body, the scalp has skin that needs consistent TLC, too, if not more! The scalp has more sweat and sebaceous glands than the skin on our face, so it can easily develop other issues and irritations.

This skincare-like approach to the base of your head is called "skinification", where the scalp is set to be nourished using high-quality products with skincare-grade ingredients.

Just like the skin, not all scalps are the same, so knowing what specific factors affect your head is important for building better care habits. By doing so, you can find the best possible solutions and practices that can benefit your hair’s health for years to come.

To learn more about how you can build a better scalp care regimen and remedy certain issues, take a look at the infographic presented below.

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What Does the Scalp Do?

 

The human scalp is a surface area on the top of your head where hair growth naturally occurs. On average, a person can have over 100,000 follicles on this surface containing a single strand of hair on each cavity. As time goes by, hair follicles will continue to grow in length and may vary in color, texture, and thickness. 


Apart from holding the hair strands, these follicles produce a natural oil called sebum, which helps keep your scalp moisturized. At the same time, this oil production also helps your head prevent the development of infections that may irritate the skin and cause damage.


While not all scalps can be considered equally the same, all humans have five layers that make up their surface. This includes the skin, connective tissue layer, galea aponeurotica, loose areolar connective tissue, and pericranium. 

 

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Common Scalp Types and Concern


The human scalp can develop several problems and risks if proper care is not given regularly. These circumstances can also range from mild to severe cases. Here are a few of the most common concerns that can occur to your scalp.


  • Hair fall – Hair fall is a common occurrence that everyone experiences. This is identified by the thinning or loss of hair follicles on the scalp.


  • What causes it: Multiple factors can contribute to hair fall. A few common determinants include hormones, stress, age, and genetics. Hair fall can also be connected to the foods you eat and the products you place on your head.


  • How to treat it: A good scalp care routine can help reduce hair fall risks and other common scalp problems. However, certain medications and creams can also help slow down the severity of the condition. 


  • Dandruff – This condition is more common in adults that suffer from dry scalps.


  • What causes it: When the scalp becomes dry, the skin begins to flake and cause irritation and itchiness. This is typically due to the lack of sebum production in the roots.


  • How to treat it: Most cases of dandruff will go away with regular use of anti-dandruff shampoo and proper moisturizing practices. 


  • Sensitive scalp– Sensitive scalps often cause you to have a burning, itching, or painful discomfort on your head. 


  • What causes it: More often, cases like this occur from using too many hair products with intense ingredients such as fragrances, parabens, and sulfates. However, it can also be brought about by poor scalp care habits or allergic reactions.


  • How to treat it: Most mild symptoms can be treated by cutting off the use of harsh products or lessening their frequency. As for severe cases, they may be treated by a physician through medication.


  • Oily scalp – Oily scalp can be classified from the appearance of greasy-looking hair accompanied by irritation and dandruff. 


  • What causes it: People with oily scalps typically over-produce sebum, causing dirt build-up to appear faster and more frequently. The excess oil from your head can cause the hair to stick together while blocking sebaceous glands and leading to dandruff and irritation. 


  • How to treat it: An oily scalp can typically be treated by thoroughly applying a recommended shampoo during the day and avoiding hot water during showers.


  • Dry scalp – Lack of moisture can cause the scalp to get dry and cause other problems such as dandruff and redness. 


  • What causes it: This condition commonly occurs when the scalp does not produce enough sebum to moisturize the surface area. As a result, the skin turns dry and begins to flake. 


  • How to treat it: Treat dry scalp using a moisturizing conditioner to introduce moisture into the skin. Depending on the severity of the condition, you can also use a moisturizing scalp cream before bed. 


  • Scalp psoriasis – This skin condition is identified through red, itchy, and scaly patches located on the scalp. 


  • What causes it:Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition caused by the overstimulation of skin cell growth. Apart from the scalp, it can also appear in other parts of the body, such as the knees, elbows, and lower back.


  • How to treat it: While there is no known cure for this condition, treatments such as creams or ointments are generally prescribed to help lessen the severity of the symptoms. 


  • Scalp eczema – Eczema on the scalp is classified as a red and greasy condition that can feel itchy or give burning sensations. 


  • What causes it: Several factors can trigger eczemas, such as irritants, changes in weather, or allergens. The overproduction of sebum can also result in scalp eczema.


  • How to treat it: Wash your scalp thoroughly with a gentle shampoo and avoid products that can cause further irritation. With mild cases, symptoms may subside after taking over-the-counter medications and creams as well.

 
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6 Best Practices for a Healthier Scalp


Much like managing the hair, there are multiple ways to achieve a healthier scalp. If you are yet to build a scalp care regimen, here are some of the best practices you can start with.


  1. Keep your diet in check

Proper nutrition is essential to keep a healthy scalp and avoid unwanted hair and scalp problems. Foods rich in protein can help make your hair stronger and healthier as your scalp maintains the proper levels of sebum production.


  1. Take supplements to boost scalp health

Besides a healthy diet, taking additional supplements can also benefit you and your scalp. Focusing on essential vitamins such as vitamin A, B12, and B6 helps promote stronger scalps and lowers the risk of dryness. 


  1. Pick the right shampoo for your scalp type

For different scalp types, picking the right product is an essential part of your care routine. Oily scalps benefit more from balancing shampoos such as the Kérastase Spécifique Divalent rather than regular anti-dandruff substitutes meant for dry and oily flakes. 


On the other hand, anti-irritation products work best if your scalp is considered sensitive and dry. Lastly, if you have thin hair or suffer from hair fall, you can use anti-hair fall fortifying shampoos to help your scalp heal. 


  1. Exfoliate the scalp regularly

Exfoliating your scalp is an important step you should not skip during your routine, as it helps you eliminate all dead skin cells and dirt on your head. Doing so can help moisturize your scalp and balance the oil levels to remain healthier. 


  1. Make time for a home scalp care day

Keeping up with your routine is essential for the most effective results. If your scalp care routine seems overwhelming, dedicate an hour a day or one day a week where you focus on scalp care. 


In case you’re looking to build your scalp care arsenal, try Kérastase’s Genesis Anti Hair-Fall Fortifying Serum for stronger hair or Potentialiste Universal Scalp Defense Serum to better manage itchy and irritated scalp.


  1. Contact the experts

Never hesitate to speak with an expert immediately with stubborn or extreme scalp problems. This can be your regular physician or a professional hair and scalp expert at a Kérastase salon. Through consultations, you can better understand what your scalp needs and how you can maintain its health.


Building a Better Scalp Care Routine


Having beautiful and strong hair isn’t just about brushing and washing it. You also need to take care of your scalp to ensure that you avoid any common complications from the roots. 


Analyze your nature of locks with the Kérastase Online Kérastase Hair & Scalp Diagnosis tool, and discover luxury treatments for all your hair and scalp needs when you visit the Kérastase shop today.