Hair problems such as thinning or falling of hair, premature greying or breakage, dandruff and flaking could be symptoms that indicate an unhealthy scalp. As upsetting and embarrassing as these may be, they are also warning signs to start taking care of your scalp.
What's your scalp type?
Much like skin, the scalp too can broadly be divided into three types — normal, oily and dry. To be able to master a scalp care regime, you need to determine which scalp type you are (see table below). We got an expert to suggest beauty routines for each variant.
Says trichologist Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, “Since it has the right balance of sebaceous glands, the normal scalp type is generally not prone to problems like dandruff or excessive oil deposition.”
What to do?
Shampoo and condition your hair twice a week with a herbal shampoo meant for normal hair. Always use a light conditioner after, to avoid frizzy flyaways.
Do a warm oil treatment once a month so that the oil glands are stimulated. Keep the oil on for about an hour and shampoo off. If you don’t want to an oil treatment, simply massage your hair with water.
The physical pressure applied in massaging helps in improving blood circulation.
Home remedy: Treat your hair to an avocado and olive oil mask once a month to render it a luscious shine. Mash one ripe avocado, add half a cup coconut milk and one tablespoon olive oil and whisk well. Apply this mixture to dry hair and leave it on for 30 minutes. Shampoo and condition your hair as you would do usually.
Contrary to popular belief, oily scalp is most prone to dandruff and flaking. The excess oil that the sebaceous glands in the scalp produce, tends to accumulate around the roots, clogging the pores. The hair is usually limp and flat, making it almost impossible for volumising or styling products to hold.
What to do:
Shampoo your hair every day with a deep cleansing shampoo suitable for oily hair. If you suffer from dandruff, opt for an anti-dandruff variety. If you must use conditioner, ensure you leave the conditioner on for under 60 seconds. Avoid using leave-in conditioners.
Do not apply extra oil unless suggested by a trichologist. Avoid brushing your hair too much as that stimulates secretion of oil.
Home remedy: To control secretion of excess oil, make a mixture of lemon and hibiscus flower with two tablespoons of curd. Apply it on your hair like a mask. Leave on for about 20 minutes, then shampoo off.
A dry scalp causes constant itching and flaking, leaving the hair rough, dull and frizzy. “Since the oil secreted by the sebaceous glands is insufficient, apply oil externally for your mane’s natural nourishment,” says Dr Chaturvedi.
What to do?
Oil your hair overnight before you decide to wash your hair. Shampoo only once a week with a product that contains natural oils for moisture. Opt for a thick cream-based conditioner and leave it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing off.
Get a warm oil treatment every week to stimulate the sebaceous glands. Massage your scalp thoroughly to stimulate oil secretion.
Home remedy: To moisturise your scalp and stimulate oil secretion, cut a lemon into half. Rub it in circular motions all over wet hair to exfoliate dry skin off the surface. Let the lemon juice soak for about 30 minutes and rinse with water.
Scalp care tips
Avoid loading the hair with too many products. Make sure your hair is free of products at least once a week to ensure the scalp can “breathe”
Do not blow-dry hair for more than five minutes
Invest in a massaging hairbrush to stimulate the scalp, thereby strengthening your tresses
Never brush your hair in a hurry as friction causes split ends
Avoid brushing when the scalp is wet
Do not tie up wet hair as the moisture accumulates and clogs the pores, subjecting your scalp to bacterial and fungal infections
Always wash your hair in lukewarm water so that it is not too harsh on your scalp
Include soyabeans, broccoli, flaxseeds and radish in your daily diet
Avoid touching and pulling your hair too much as this could lead to richotillomania