An Expert’s Guide To Better Scalp Health

We all want longer, healthier hair, so it only makes sense to go to the (literal) root of the problem. From the importance of shower filters to why you should stock up on apple cider vinegar, we asked three experts to share their top tips for a healthy scalp.
By Rebecca Hull /

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Scalp Health Is So Important 

“Seeing as the scalp is an extension of the skin on your forehead, it should be cared for with the same attention you devote to your face.  After all, your hair and scalp experience the same things your face does. They both get just as dirty by the end of the day and are exposed to the same harmful environmental pollution. It’s a myth that your scalp and hair clean themselves in time – the scalp can actually suffer from a build-up of yeasts and bacteria, as both these things thrive in an oily environment. It’s why you should shampoo your hair and scalp frequently – at least every other day – to boost the overall cleanliness in this area. Remember, a healthy scalp is vital to hair growth and a healthy scalp is a clean one.” – Brand president & trichologist at Philip Kingsley, Anabel Kingsley

It's Best Think Of It As A Flowerbed

“Even though we wash our hair regularly and go for haircuts, it’s so easy to ignore what your scalp needs. You should think of it like a flowerbed – it needs hydration for it to be a healthy environment to grow glossy, happy hair. Trust me, if you look after it, you’ll notice a difference in the overall appearance of your hair. It’s not just products that can help – give yourself scalp massages to boost circulation and improve your nutrition to promote healthy skin in this area.” – Medical practitioner & hair specialist Dr Masood Munir

There Are Certain Conditions To Look Out For

“For most of us, the scalp needs a bit of general care and maintenance, but there are some common issues that can upset the balance. That includes dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis. Both are common conditions that cause red, itchy patches with greasy scales – thankfully, both are also easy to treat. Hair loss is also a common cause of an upset scalp. This can manifest itself through hair breakage, excessive shedding and bald spots – though this can also be courtesy of medications, inflammation and damage in general. Scalp psoriasis is another condition that’s worth knowing about. This usually presents as raised, inflamed patches of skin that appear red on light skin and brown or purple on darker skin. With psoriasis, the skin cells on the body build up more rapidly, meaning they have little time to fall off on their own, leading to a thick, scaly-looking layer of skin that can become infected. If any of this sounds familiar, always take your GP or healthcare provider’s advice.” – Founder of Hello Klean Haircare Karlee Oz

It Needs Weekly Hydration

“By taking good care of your hair and scalp health, you can reduce porosity and seal the outer hair cuticle, which helps to strengthen the individual strands. This will also increase the shine of your hair. Try to use a weekly pre-shampoo conditioning treatment – like our Elasticiser. Treatments like this boost glossiness, but also add flexibility and bounce as they deeply hydrate the scalp. Certain ingredients also help to nourish the scalp. That includes products and supplements with iron, vitamin C – which helps your body absorb iron – and L-lysine, as well as vitamin D and B12.” – Anabel

Hard Water Can Cause Problems

“Because of the porosity of your hair and the physical barrier it creates on the scalp, minerals and soap scum from hard water are likelier to get ‘trapped’. Mineral residue can block the hair follicles, affecting your hair’s growth and overall health. Additionally, calcium and magnesium from hard water sap away moisture, leading to itchiness and flakes. Add that to the fact hard water raises your scalp’s naturally acidic pH and you can see why irritation is so common. If you find it’s a problem where you live, try installing a shower filter. These can reduce chlorine, rust, odour and heavy metals, meaning fewer impurities come into contact with your scalp, skin and hair.” – Karlee

You should TREAT YOUR SCALP AS YOU WOULD YOUR FACIAL SKIN. Scalps need consistent treatment and care.

Apple Cider Vinegar Is Worth It

“Apple cider vinegar is a naturally acidic ingredient, containing AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) which has natural antibacterial, exfoliating and anti-dandruff properties. This therefore makes it a great ingredient to clean up your scalp health. Moreover, apple cider vinegar is an anti-inflammatory, so it can be used to calm a sensitive scalp while also being gentle enough not to strip your hair of its natural nutrients. Either use it in a product that incorporates it as an ingredient, or if you’re using it neat, dilute it with water first. Leave it on for a few minutes to fully absorb and break down dirt.” –Munir

Scratching Your Scalp Is A No-No

“Your scalp may be itchy because of stress or excess product build-up. However, you should treat your scalp as you would your facial skin. Scalps need consistent treatment and care to bring any inflammatory conditions under control. Just as you would stop yourself from scratching and itching your face (which may exacerbate the issue) you should attempt to do the same with your scalp. To placate it, shampoo daily with a targeted treatment containing antimicrobial agents, such as piroctone olamine. Using a soothing scalp toner daily is also very beneficial. Purchase a handbag-sized toner that can be applied whenever necessary when itching strikes. Effective anti-itch ingredients to look for in a toner are sodium salicylic, witch hazel and camphor.” – Anabel

The Right Shampoo Can Work Wonders

“A pH-balanced shampoo can keep your hair looking cleaner for extended periods of time. An improperly balanced shampoo (often too alkaline-rich) will strip your hair and scalp of their natural oils. Your scalp will then overproduce oil to compensate and this can cause irritation and flakes. Avoiding your roots while conditioning is essential. Start from the ends and work towards the mid-lengths of your hair to hydrate it only where it needs the most moisture. This also helps avoid build-up and excess sebum production. A healthy scalp has a natural layer of sebum, so you don’t want to overdo it.” – Karlee

The Sun Is Damaging – So Stay Out Of It

“Another thing to note is the effect of the sun. Your scalp can burn, just like the skin on your face, leading to discomfort, flaking and peeling, but it can also result in serious changes on a cellular level, such as skin cancer. UV rays also have a similar effect on your hair as bleach. They oxidize and degrade its protein structure and damage the disulphide bonds holding it together. As a result, this reduces your hair’s elasticity and thus lessens its ability to hold a style. It also increases the porosity (i.e. how readily it absorbs water) causing your strands to become dry, brittle and less manageable. Your hair will likely drop and frizz faster than it would normally.” – Anabel 

Don’t Forget About Follicles

“The health of our hair follicles is vital to ensure a full and healthy head of hair. Hair follicles are supplied with blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to the rest of our hair. One way you can proactively take care of them is with diet and vitamins. Do this by eating foods that are rich in Vitamin A, B (biotin), C, D, E, iron, protein, and zinc. Also, don’t underestimate a gentle massage to stimulate blood flow into the follicles. It works and positively impacts their ability to function properly.” – Dr Munir

A Weekly Exfoliator Could Make A Difference

“It’s important to understand that, like the skin on your face, your scalp will benefit from a bit of gentle, weekly exfoliation. An exfoliating mask will remove dead skin cells and flakes and it can improve the overall health of your scalp. For a flaky or itchy scalp, my suggestion is to use a targeted anti-microbial scalp mask twice a week. Philip Kingsley’s Flaky/Itchy Scalp Anti-Dandruff Mask is formulated with anti-fungal piroctone olamine, exfoliating salicylic and lactic acid, soothing celery seed extract, and antioxidant-rich green tea extract. It helps to re-balance your scalp microflora. If your scalp is sore and/or dry, a soothing hydrating scalp mask containing calming aloe vera and olive oil can be really helpful.” – Anabel 

Finally, Know Your Options

“Diet, products and lifestyle aside, there are also professional options available to ensure optimum scalp health and nourished hair. One treatment I am particularly fond of is HydraFacial Keravive. It consists of three treatments and works to deeply cleanse, stimulate scalp circulation and deliver a blend of five growth factors, as well as two skin proteins. Small enough to penetrate tiny hair follicles, the formulation is also combined in a home use complex to be applied daily, to continue nourishing the scalp between treatments and up to 90 days after your final clinic treatment. It’s a great option for those who wish to target every aspect of scalp and follicle health.” – Dr Munir

Try Keravive At Dr MediSpa. Visit & follow @Anabel_Kingsley & @HelloKlean on Instagram for more hair health information & tips.

Shop The Expert’s Scalp Essentials Here…

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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