Scalp Problems

Dandruff is an extremely common problem that can affect anyone from the very dry scalped to those with much oilier hair, and is often an irritation that just won’t go away. It mostly occurs when a foreign body irritates the scalp and makes it shed skin cells much faster than it normally would. Another major cause is dry skin, a scalp condition that can be caused by any number of factors, from cold weather to an oil stripping shampoo. It is a completely natural process of skin shedding that cannot be stopped completely, but knowing the cause and methods of lessening its impact will greatly improve the appearance of your scalp.

Sometimes the cause of dandruff is out of your hands completely, and could be an unfortunate side effect if you suffer from dermatitis, psoriasis or eczema. Skin is sapped of moisture and forms flaky scales on the skin and the scalp that are itchy and uncomfortable.

Keeping healthy and de-stressed is a key way to both decrease instances of dandruff and make you feel great generally. Cutting back on styling products will ease the burden of the scalp, especially for those people with oilier hair whose scalp is already overloaded with sebum.

Treatment of dandruff is relatively simple and straightforward, and most cases will decease with the use of a specialist shampoo. Washing your hair every day with this shampoo should start to make a difference. If this doesn’t work, try another anti-dandruff shampoo that contains different active ingredients to see if that shifts the flakes. If all else fails, visit your local GP to determine the cause and the best course of action.

There are so many causes of scalp sensitivity, and they can range from the topical to the internal. If your scalp is sore and painful to touch, then it is always best to visit your local dermatologist or your GP. However, there are some at-home solutions you can try that may just ease your suffering.

It is useful to take note of the daily causes of sensitivity to the scalp before seeking professional advice, and see if they can be resolved through a simple process of elimination. They include the use of moisture-stripping shampoos, exposure to the harsh chemicals of hair dye, perming lotion and the chlorine in a swimming pool, pulling at hair when brushing and styling, damage caused from heated appliances or the sun, and tightness caused by wearing caps, helmets and hats for a prolonged length of time. Internal factors can include an imbalanced diet and vitamin deficiencies, while sensitivity can even be a symptom of certain diseases.

To alleviate your sore scalp, using very gentle shampoos without suspected abrasive ingredients such as SLS may help. There are also very many care lines that focus specifically on soothing sensitive scalps and ensuring that the equilibrium of the scalp is maintained. Sensitivity may be an early indicator of traction alopecia, whereby hair is under so much physical stress that it comes away from the scalp. Therefore it is also advised that you do not pull your hair back tightly, limit the extent to which you wear heavy extensions, and do not pull at your hair when styling. Massage your scalp frequently to get the blood circulation going to promote a vital and healthy hair and scalp.

Chemical burn
These normally occur from chemical hair treatments such as hair dye and chemical relaxers. For future reference, as soon as you start to feel any discomfort, wash the solution off immediately. Make sure that the chemicals do not touch your face when washing them off, as chances are you may be allergic to one or more of the ingredients. Important: seek medical advice immediately!

Treating an already chemically burned area is a careful procedure, and it may take a long time for the burns to heal. Blisters, sores, peeling and itching can plague you for weeks afterwards, and – as irritating as they are – they must not be scratched, pulled at or rubbed. After seeking the relevant medical advice, you may be advised to apply a gentle and soothing cream. Any formulation with added aloe vera will be brilliant for this, as it soothes the skin and cools the area naturally and gently. Take care not to apply overly heavy or fragranced creams, as these can irritate the area further.

Sun burn
Just as your body can burn from the sun, so too can your scalp. The parts of your scalp not covered by your hair are very sensitive and can burn very easily, and as it’s so much trickier to protect this skin, burns are common. Prevention is of the optimum importance, but we know that mistakes can happen. If you have a sunburned scalp, there are plenty of things you can do to soothe the ache.

Use a gentle shampoo that won’t further irritate the area, and don’t rub it into the scalp. Instead, work it into a lather and smooth onto hair from root to tip. Very gently massage your scalp with your fingertips when rinsing the shampoo out to make sure that there is no residue left over. If excess product is left on, there runs a heightened risk of peeling and dandruff-like flaking. There is no way to speed up the healing process; all you can do is to change your parting and let the sunburn heal itself.

Heated appliance burn
The use of heated appliances is prevalent; there are very many women who use straighteners, hairdryers and curlers on a daily basis. Short of causing your hair irreparable damage by effectively boiling the cuticle, these appliances can also burn the scalp if not used properly. Most stylists generally agree that avoid burns, you should straighten the hair from at least 1 inch away from the scalp.

If you have already sustained burns to the scalp, the first thing to remember is not to pick at any scabs. As itchy and uncomfortable they are, scabs are part of the healing process and are best left well alone. Likewise, do not prod at any blisters that appear. Treat the area with lots of cool water, and try to keep shampoo and conditioner well away from the burn when caring for your hair unless they contain very soothing ingredients.