Noticed flakes on your scalp and decided it was dandruff? Well, it may not always be the case.
If you're someone who skips hair wash due to busy schedules or indulges in excessive heat styling, it could mean you have a scalp buildup.
Though far less frightening than dandruff, it is important to address scalp buildup for a healthier scalp and hair. We tell you why and how!
What Is Scalp Buildup?
Scalp buildup is a condition causing flakes on your scalp due to hair care products, sweat, oil or dead skin cells. Scalp buildup, if left untreated, can clog hair follicles and cause hair loss. It may also lead to inflammation (folliculitis) and infection.
Why Should You Clean Your Scalp?
Cleaning your scalp is crucial, no matter what hair care routine you follow. If you have normal to oily hair, consider washing your hair every 1-2 days. If you have dry hair, wash your hair 3-4 times a week.
The dead skin cells on your scalp shed to maintain the health of hair follicles. Improper washing can lead to a build of dead skin cells, dirt, oils and product buildup.
How To Clean Your Scalp?
The first step to clearing scalp build up relies on figuring out the shampoos and conditioners suited to your hair type. The formulations for dry hair are different from those for oily hair. The wrong ingredients can sometimes accumulate on your scalp and cause the buildup.
Here are some ways that can help address scalp buildup:
1. Use Clarifying Shampoo
While your regular shampoos help in removing the dirt and excess oils from your scalp, clarifying or anti-residue shampoos goes the extra mile. They help in removing the scalp buildup by eliminating all the residue on your scalp.
Clarifying shampoos can't replace your regular shampoo as they are extremely drying on your hair. Use them once a month.
Serums are used to prevent frizz, tangles and roughness of the hair. Since you already have a scalp build, avoid serums that may add up to this condition.
If you have an oily scalp, look for serums containing apple cider vinegar that helps in clarifying.
If you have a dry scalp, you need something that not only removes buildup but also provides hydration. Ingredients like tea tree oil are your best bet.
3. Deep Conditioner
Deep conditioners can not only add moisture to your hair but also help in clearing residue on the hair. Ingredients like activated charcoal in your conditioners act as clarifying agents.
Lactic acid is another ingredient found in most clarifying deep conditioners. It is an excellent exfoliant that removes dead skin cells.
4. Natural Methods
A. Apple Cider Vinegar
While apple cider vinegar may not reduce scalp buildup entirely, it is a good antibacterial. It can prevent the infection of hair follicles on the scalp. Add 2 tablespoons in a mug of water and pour this solution over your head. Let your hair soak in this for 2-3 minutes and then rinse with cold water.
B. Baking Soda
Reach out to baking soda in your kitchen shelf as a remedy for scalp buildup. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda to your regular shampoo and wash your hair. Baking soda has excellent cleansing properties and removes buildup on the scalp effectively.
5. Homemade Scrubs
Exfoliation is a process of removing dead skin cells from your scalp. Gently exfoliating once a week eliminates the buildup of dead skin cells on the scalp.
A. Brown Sugar And Oatmeal Scrub
Mix two parts brown sugar, 2 parts oatmeal and 2 parts hair conditioner. After shampooing, apply this scrub on your scalp and massage gently in circular motion. Rinse thoroughly.
B. Aspirin Scrub
Mix about 6 aspirins in 4 tablespoons of warm water. Aspirin contains salicylic acid, an excellent exfoliant. Rub gently on the scalp to remove the dead skin cells.
Word of caution:
Scalp exfoliation is not recommended for anyone with scalp infections like ringworm, lice or any open sores.
Shampooing And Conditioning Tips
- Rinse your hair thoroughly before applying shampoo - This ensures that the shampoo spreads evenly on all hair strands. Also, less product is required when the hair is wet.
- Dilute your shampoo - Dilute your shampoo with water first so that you don't end up building up the product on your scalp. Too much shampoo on the scalp can also cause skin irritations.
- Use lukewarm water for the first rinse - Lukewarm water opens up the cuticle to allow the shampoo to penetrate for effective cleaning. You can rinse with a stream of cold water towards the end.
- Use shampoo only on the scalp - Scalp is the part that needs cleaning with a shampoo. It will run down the hair ends while washing hair. Do not apply shampoo to your hair ends as they tend to get drier.
- Rub gently - Harsh rubbing of shampoo into hair can cause hair breakage. Also you may end up hurting your scalp with your nails.
- Save the conditioner for the hair - Avoid using conditioner on your scalp as it can weigh down your hair and also cause product build up. Apply conditioner only to your hair, especially the ends.
How To Prevent Scalp Buildup?
1. Avoid Excessive Usage Of Hair Care Products
Too many hair care products like shampoos, conditioners, gels, creams and serums can cause scalp buildup.
2. Limit Heat Styling And Hair Dyes
Heat styling with straighteners, blow dryers and curlers can dry out the scalp and stimulate excess oil production causing buildup. Chemical dyes can block your hair follicles causing infection or hair fall.
3. Stick To A Hair Care Routine
Shampooing and conditioning your hair regularly ensures healthy hair. While shampoo removes the dead skin cells, excess oils and dirt from your scalp and hair, conditioning ensures that your hair cuticles are protected. If you are someone who loves sweating it out at the gym, consider frequent hair washing.
4. Don't Skip Brushing Your Hair Everyday
Gently brushing with a wide-toothed comb can keep the tangles away and spread the oils evenly. Divide your hair into sections and gently brush your hair without breaking or damaging.
Scalp buildup is a result of dead skin cells, hair care products, excess oils, dirt or a combination of these. Having a good hair care routine with gentle products prevents scalp buildup. Clarifying shampoos, homemade scrubs and natural remedies come handy while dealing with a scalp buildup.
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