Want longer, thicker, shinier, more amazing hair? (Um, of course.) That’s why you’ve ditched your big bathroom towel, swapped out that cotton pillowcase, and stopped messing with your strands when wet. But how much effort have you focused on improving the condition of your scalp? While it’s not surprising that great hair stems from a healthy scalp, the scalp is still overlooked in most beauty routines. We talked to dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum, who assured us that caring for your scalp can make a huge difference. Keep reading to find out what you can do to turn your scalp into the healthy hair-growing machine it’s meant to be!
Since Dr. Nussbaum cites shampooing your hair too often as a major healthy scalp inhibitor, try to keep your shampoo days to a minimum. “The drier your hair, the less you should wash, but I do recommend shampooing once or twice a week to cleanse the scalp and alleviate product buildup,” she says. Also, while you’re in the shower, give yourself a gentle scalp massage for about 10 minutes. Dr. Nussbaum says this will loosen skin flakes, product residue, and natural oils, and increase blood flow to the scalp to help promote new hair growth.
We hate to state the obvious, but you can never drink too much water. Yes, it actually impacts your scalp too. “Water hydrates the body and helps to regulate the circulatory system, which feeds the hair follicle, which then stimulates hair growth,” Dr. Nussbaum says. “If your hair roots are deficient in adequate water levels, your tresses will eventually become dry, brittle, and may even stop growing.” So drink up!
If you’re doing everything right and your scalp is still telling you something’s off, talk to your doctor. You may be dealing with scalp psoriasis or eczema. If that’s the case, your doctor can prescribe medicated shampoos with salicylic acid to help decrease flaking, or topical corticosteroids to calm inflammation and resolve thick plaque. If the issue is causing hair loss, Dr. Nussbaum says there are other options to consider. “If there are patches of hair loss, intralesional corticosteroids may be injected monthly to decrease inflammation and help regrowth.”
And finally, a gentle reminder to be nice to your scalp: “Avoid heavy styling, tight hairstyles, harsh chemical treatments, and rough detangling.” The little things you do to your scalp every day add up and affect your hair. So be gentle, and try adding a scalp rejuvenating and soothing treatment to your beauty regimen. Keep scrolling for six of our favorite oils, serums, and elixirs!