If you are on a quest for healthy, full, shiny hair you need to have a strong foundation, and that begins with a healthy scalp. If the scalp is unhealthy, then the hair will be unhealthy, or even worse---there will be no hair at all. On the other hand, if you take the right steps to maintaining a healthy scalp, your hair will flourish.
To maintain a healthy scalp we must understand the basic function of the scalp. The scalp consists of skin cells. These cells are constantly replicating and shedding to produce new cells on the scalp. Like the skin on the rest of our body, this process happens so synchronously and microscopically, it is invisible to the naked eye. It is only when something disrupts this process that scalp problems arise. These problems manifest in the forms of flaking, pimples or bumps on the scalp and severe itching. Any of these symptoms can be a sign that there is a need to change your diet, hair regimen or there is a medical issue.
Dandruff is the typical sign of an unhealthy scalp. Dandruff can be a result of stress, extreme weather conditions, nutritional deficiencies or other scalp conditions. The most common cause of dandruff is the overgrowth of a fungus on the scalp. When dirt and product residue accumulate on the scalp and is not cleansed regularly, it becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi that leads to a lot of scalp discomfort. The introduction of cleansing conditioners into the hair care market has generated a lot of confusion, misinformation and resulted in a lot of people discontinuing the use of regular shampoos. This is not a healthy practice to maintain a healthy scalp. Although cleansing conditioners contain mild cleansing agents, they are not effective for a deep clean of the scalp. It’s like taking a shower with lotion… get the picture? Cleansing conditioners are perfect to use in between regular shampoo days to remove sweat, chlorine or product build up, but should not completely replace the use of shampoo in your hair care regimen.
What About Sulfates…
Cleansing conditioners are not the only things preventing a lot of women from using shampoo. As more information on the negative impact sulfates can have on the health of the hair surfaces, more people are getting rid of the products they have been using for years. The primary culprits are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS/SLES) and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS). These ingredients are the harshest sulfates and found to cause skin irritation and dryness. Sulfates are surfactants, which means they remove dirt and oil. The reality is, not all sulfates are bad and some shampoos still contain sulfates. Cosmetic chemists combine them with gentler surfactants to create a mild but effective product. Some of these gentle surfactants are:
- Coco Glucoside
- Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate
- Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
Additionally, it is the REPEATED exposure to sulfates that will have the most impact on the health of your hair and scalp.
Alternative Scalp Cleansing Methods
A popular alternative method used to cleanse the scalp is the ACV Rinse, or Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse. The property of apple cider vinegar that make it effective in removing build up from the scalp is the acetic acid that is formed during the fermenting process. The acetic acid is a potent antimicrobial that can kill some types of bacteria. This is a homeopathic way of removing build up and dead skin cells from the scalp. The acidic properties in ACV make it great for balancing out the pH of the hair, but the rinse alone lacks the moisturizers and proteins that are among the ingredients in a great pH balanced shampoo and can cause dryness. Therefore, you should try deep conditioning regularly to maintain moisture balance in the hair.
Add AnnCarol's Dry Hair and Scalp Kit to your hair care collection to amplify your hair routine and keep a healthy scalp. If you have an itchy or flaky scalp add on AnnCarol's Clarifying Shampoo and Peppermint Chamomile Oil for a deeper clean and to soothe scalp discomfort.