Our scalp is an extension of our face which is why it requires special attention, just like the face does. The facial skin and scalp skin have similar properties, so if your skin is sensitive, your scalp will be sensitive too. If your skin is oily, your scalp will be oily too. The scalp skin is more delicate and has a higher number of sebaceous glands, sweat glands, hair follicles and a lower barrier function compared to the skin on the rest of the body. It is, therefore, imperative to have a scalp care regime as good as the skincare regime for our face.
The scalp, just like the skin, needs regular and thorough cleansing, rebalancing and moisturising. Just like you need nutrition to preserve the beauty of the skin, you similarly need supplementing agents to preserve the quality of your scalp. But during winter, with the temperature dropping, the dry air becomes the root cause of hair damage. As the weather becomes colder, the decline in moisture in the air leaves the hair on the dry side. Hence, it becomes extremely difficult to maintain the health of hair and prevent it from looking dull and frizzy.
What should one do to treat dandruff-prone scalp? Some people confuse dryness with dandruff, but those are two very different concerns. In a dry scalp, the skin gets irritated and flakes off. But with dandruff, the cause is too much oil on the scalp and it’s that excess of oil that causes skin cells to build up and eventually, shed. Dandruff flakes are nothing but the accelerated overproduction of scalp cells, triggered by micro-organisms (fungi or bacteria). Dandruff-specific treatments in salons, cures at home and regular use of a dandruff-specific shampoo help in deep cleansing of the scalp, anti-bacterial action, slowing down and regulation of the scalp cell production.
But a dry itchy scalp could be an indication of sensitivity, hence it needs to be properly diagnosed. For starters, you must adjust your shampoo regimen—shampoo less often, and opt for a shampoo meant for dry and itchy scalp and a get a scalp-specific masque. Such shampoos are designed specifically to be applied on the scalp. They soothe and hydrate the dry itchy scalp, restore the oil and moisture balance. Make sure you rinse the shampoo thoroughly out of your hair before applying a masque. One must periodically exfoliate the scalp to get rid of all the dirt buildup and bacteria.
(The author is the head of education, Kerastase India)