Is Scalp Cleansing Worth It?
Hair has always played an important role in an individual’s appearance, with signs going as far back as the height of Ancient Egypt. According to the BBC, Ancient Egyptians apparently used wigs and hair extensions to beautify themselves. Egyptologist Joann Fletcher (PhD) claimed that despite social status, grooming their tresses was widely seen as a form of self-expression.
Fast forward to the 21st century and you’ll find that not much has changed. We’re still very much obsessed with gorgeous tresses and expressing our individuality, and why not? If anything, it has since cultivated greater innovation with even more effective techniques to manage hair, restructure it, and even colour it. Both modern technology and globalisation has allowed such a mass exchange of information across the world, including hair care.
With all these advancements, people now find themselves opening up to a whole new world of high-end hair treatment and care methods online. A quick Google search on “hair care” will show you a page offering billions of hair-related results, from salons, to hair care routines, to products.
But the number of results for “scalp care” only covers about 2% of that figure. Wellness of your tresses comes hand in hand with wellness of your scalp. No, scalp care is not new. In fact, just like grooming, it’s been around for centuries. Read on to find out more about cleansing and its importance.
What Is Scalp Cleansing?
So what is scalp care and what can you do to care for it? While there is no precise definition, it generally refers to caring for the crown of your tresses and ensuring it is healthy and in good condition.
More products these days aim to do just that. But relying on shampoos alone is not enough in spite of claims by shampoo advertisements often depicting high levels of purification. In Singapore, our sebaceous glands tend to be highly or overactive due to high humidity. This causes dirt and impurities to clog up the pores in the skin of your head, resulting in one or many afflictions.
To avoid the stress and hassle of these issues, you should ensure you cleanse your scalp consistently, using the right treatments and products. One of the best ways to do so is by going for a cleansing treatment.
1. What Is It Exactly?
Not many people are aware that some hair-related issues are actually caused by poor scalp health and cleanliness. A professional cleanse is a stronger and more effective way to clean the follicles on your head thoroughly. This method requires careful application of salon-grade solutions that deeply penetrate past your strands and through the layers of your skin to exfoliate, purify, treat, and moisturise your delicate scalp.
2. Who Should Go For It?
Everyone should undergo this revolutionary treatment. Detoxing your scalp holds many wonderful benefits for all, more of which will be discussed at length below. In particular, there are certain groups of people who should seriously consider this technique to improve their overall head health, including those who:
- Have chronic dandruff
- Have oily/dry/flaky skin on their head
- Are not aware of their crown’s condition
- Suffer hair loss/breakage
- Have inflammation or acne on their scalp
3. Can It Improve Your Condition?
Without knowing the cause for the affliction, it is difficult to tell if your specific issues can be improved. That is why it’s important for an expert such as ours to perform an in-depth review to identify the areas of concern and use the right tools and techniques to manage them. More serious conditions tend to require much more consistent care and management than others. Dandruff, for example, is chronic, but it can be controlled with the right treatment and products. On the other hand, lichen planus, an inflammatory disorder that causes bald patches, is a far more severe concern that may require medical attention. A cleanse alone might, therefore, not suffice.
4 Causes of Scalp Conditions
So what of your scalp condition? Most conditions vary in terms of manageability, but the question on most people’s minds is: why does it happen in the first place? Usually, there is at least one reason for why you have dandruff, inflammation, or even an overly oily scalp.
Do note that although there are reasons as to why a cleanse can benefit you, some issues are far more serious and may require you to seek the opinion of a doctor, instead.
Here are some reasons why you may be facing difficulties in managing your crown:
1. Loss of Compatibility With Current Hair Products
There are people with extensive routines and people who have the simplest routines. But with changes in age, lifestyle, diet, and hormones, you may find that your version of hair care is no longer compatible with you. Unfortunately, sometimes tried-and-tested efforts have to change along with you.
2. Wrong Products
Utilising the wrong products can result in clogging of your follicles, irritation, and flaking. By piling on shampoos, conditioners, oils, dry shampoos, and styling products without knowing your condition, you may be inadvertently adding to your problems. A study published by the Indian Journal of Dermatology in 2016 showed that products with a pH higher than 5.5 may cause inflammation on the surface of the top of your head. Additionally, some styling products cannot be dissolved by traditional shampooing, therefore causing an accumulation of impurities and grime.
3. Inadequate Diet
Your head is part of your body, and just like the rest of it, it needs nourishment. There is no shame in snacking or eating something that is not necessarily healthy, however, it should not become a habit. A lack of the right nutrition such as protein, vitamin c, vitamin D, or iron can result in your tresses falling. When there isn’t an appropriate amount of nutrients consumed, the body cannot absorb them and pass them on to your follicles and scalp.
4. Lack of Knowledge
Besides all of the reasons stated above, there is a lot of information floating around on the internet that can easily confuse you. It’s impossible to know everything, which is how things such as incorrect technique in hair washing or product application can end up leading to build-up of products and other debris. Even something as simple as not brushing your tresses daily can result in concerns. Brushing your hair actually helps distribute the oil from the top of your head, down to the ends of your strands. If you find yourself puzzled, consider an expert’s opinion.
What Is The Process of a Cleanse?
Now that you understand a little more about your condition and what cleansing is, let’s walk through the process. While they may vary based on the state of your strands and your head, in general, a scalp cleansing treatment consists of three key steps.
The very first step is to assess the condition of your tresses and crown. As mentioned before, the state of your tresses is directly related to the state of your scalp. As the root of your strands are embedded into the skin of your head, naturally, you would want to ensure that it is clean, healthy, and nourished. By using either high-end technology or physical appraisal, your stylist will judge the condition, and plan the rest of the treatment accordingly.
As you would with your face, the act of exfoliating is vital to keep your precious tresses flowing and strong. Deep follicular exfoliation clears the accumulation of dead skin cells from the surface layer of your skin and within hair follicles via chemical solutions, tools, or granular material (scrubs). Aside from removing dead skin cells, it also helps to clear other stubborn impurities, purify the scalp, and unclog blocked follicles. This is the most important step as cleansing begins here. Using a solution or a mask, stylists will gently rid the skin of the debris that your regular shampoo was not able to remove.
3. PDT Treatment
Before ending the procedure, a PDT treatment is conducted on your head to encourage better hair growth, improve overall scalp health, and moisturise. A study by Lasers in Medical Science in 2018 cites that this type of laser therapy has shown effective results in improving hair loss. As debris can block follicles, it is important to foster growth.
Lastly, you will enjoy a relaxing scalp massage. Stylists will use oils or serums and work methodically to ensure your entire head, from the front, to the crown, to the back will be massaged. Additional solutions may be applied to your scalp and tresses depending on your situation and the salon. Once this step is completed, the professionals will advise you on how to manage at home care before your next appointment. But why is any of this even necessary?
5 Benefits of Scalp Cleansing
When met with a problem, the best way to solve it is by tackling it at its root. Likewise, a healthy scalp equates to healthy hair, which equates to a happier you! There are plenty of benefits to doing this cleansing treatment.
Here are some reasons why this procedure is more important than you realise and definitely worth considering!
1. Foster Hair Growth
Hair growth and hair loss are not necessarily synonymous, but this treatment can help them both. Individuals tend to experience hair fall when their pores are clogged with sebum and other impurities or because of overwashing. With clogged pores, your locks fall because of blockage of the follicles. Overwashing, on the other hand, can strip the skin of oils, resulting in breakage or loss. Thoroughly and consistently cleaning beyond the surface layer can result in a decrease in falling tresses, and even an increase in hair growth.
2. Promote Circulation
The massage section of this procedure works wonders for blood circulation in the skin of your head. It stimulates your follicles, which may result in better hair growth and more invigorated locks. In 2019, a study published by Dermatology and Therapy found that a standard scalp massage could, in fact, improve growth. To add on, the history of a good head rub goes back for centuries as a part of an Ayurvedic treatment to alleviate headaches, hair fall, and to help individuals sleep better.
3. Treat Acne and Dandruff
If you find “snowflakes” on your shoulders or hit painful bumps when you run your fingers through your hair, chances are you have a scalp condition that needs taking care of. Acne and dandruff are generally caused by excessive sebum, irritation, inflammation, bacteria, or blockage of follicles. With regular treatments, acne and dandruff can be minimised and controlled by tackling these causes, including regulating the overstimulation of sebum.
4. Remove Build-Up of Debris
Aside from oil or dandruff, build-up of unwanted debris can be caused by many things, one of them being sweat. Living in a tropical island city means you are exposed to air pollution and humidity daily. While more of us protect our faces, we often forget to protect our tresses and scalp. Even though most of us wash our locks daily or every other day, build-up occurs every day, and shampoos cannot penetrate beyond the surface level. Continual monthly cleansing sessions can help cleanse it deeply and keep it in tip-top shape!
5. Relaxing Experience
Let’s face it, Singapore is a fast-paced city. Finding that balance between work, family, and relaxation can be a challenging task. One of the best ways to relieve stress? Yes, that’s right, a head rub. Research published by the Journal of Physical Therapy Science in 2016 found scalp massages can decrease the production of cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones that prepare you to choose between fight or flight. These hormones are absolutely necessary for survival and can even improve productivity in your tasks, but balance is important here. When left unchecked, cortisol and adrenaline can lead to high blood pressure. So take that time out for yourself to enjoy a gentle and calming experience while reaping the rewards of better hair and scalp health.
The Final Takeaway
Ultimately, undergoing scalp treatment is definitely worth every penny as there are no known side effects and there are plenty of benefits. Whether you have established a routine or not, as mentioned, anyone can add this to their hair care process as it helps improve hair loss, as well as cleanse and regulate your scalp.
Consistency is key in ensuring your scalp is healthy. Regular sessions with your stylists, between once or twice a month, can change your hair health dramatically as well. With great hair, comes great responsibility — always maintain and treat it whenever you can!