During the long and dark winter months it is very common for our scalps to get dry, flaky and itchy. Central-heating is one of the worst culprits for drying out the scalp and causing irritation, which is further not helped by thick woolly hats. Many will turn to the use of anti-dandruff shampoos to remedy the problem; yet in some cases this can exacerbate the problem and will not do much for the condition of the hair, especially if it is chemically treated.
We should treat the scalp like we do our skin, but it is often overlooked and simply treated as an extension of our hair and not given much in the way of TLC. When we nourish our scalp we also nourish the follicles, which in turn benefits the condition of our hair.
Following these simple steps can help keep your scalp and hair in tip-top condition:
- Shampoo hair regularly: Using a quality, moisturizing shampoo, wash your hair at least every other day. With the central heating on and wearing thick, winter hats your scalp tends to sweat more and produce more sebum (grease). If left, this combination of sweat and sebum can lead to irritation or even to a condition known as seborrhoea. This condition means the scalp is both greasy and flaky and there can be mounds of itchy dry skin, that when scratched cause open sores. By shampooing regularly, it will keep the scalp fresh, clean and free from bacteria build-up.
- Use tea tree oil: By adding a few drops of the essential oil, tea tree, to your shampoo bottle it will keep your scalp dandruff-free and feeling tingly fresh. Tea tree oil is concentrated and a little goes a long way. It is antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic, to name but a few benefits, and helps ward off the conditions that lead to a dry scalp. It is also great to use if your scalp is already itchy, dry and irritated.
- Use the cool shot: After drying, use the cool shot setting on the hair-dryer and blow over your scalp and hair. This not only serves in closing the cuticle of the hair, preventing moisture from getting in, but also soothes the scalp after the hot air has overheated it.
- Massage the scalp: If your scalp is excessively dry, give yourself a daily scalp massage to stimulate the sebaceous glands. The sebaceous gland produces the sebum which lubricates the scalp and hair (an overproduction leads to greasy hair). By this stimulation, it will automatically activate your scalp’s inbuilt moisturizing system and help reduce the dryness.
- Exfoliate: Just like on our body, we can get a build-up of dead and dry skin cells on our scalp which leads to a dry scalp and dull hair. Before shampooing, sprinkle some finely granulated sea-salt into the hair and massage into the scalp. This will help to scrape off the dead skin , which will then be rinsed, along with the salt, out of the hair during the shampoo. Sea-salt is incredibly healing to the skin and will also help clear up any minor irritations on the scalp.
- Use an organic scalp oil treatment once a week: Not only will this benefit the condition of the scalp, it will also create beautifully shiny and healthy hair. The best thing you can use for this treatment is raw coconut oil, olive oil or rapeseed. Do this treatment prior to shampooing the hair. Using 2 to 3 tbsp of your chosen oil, apply in small amounts to the scalp and massage in, further work the oil out to the tips, ensuring hair and scalp is evenly covered. Leave for anything from 10 minutes to overnight before shampooing. Important Note: oil and water don’t mix, so put your shampoo directly onto your hair before you rinse the oil out. To do this dilute your shampoo with water, mix it well then pour over your hair and lather up (the oil then attaches to the shampoo and allows it to be rinsed away), rinse and repeat with undiluted shampoo, then condition.