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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Beyond The Hair: Showing Some Love to Your Scalp




Sometimes we are so concerned about the skin that people see every day that we forget about the skin they might not see. The upkeep of the skin on your scalp is just as important as the skin on your face, arms and legs. Below are some topics of concern when it comes to scalp heath:

Sun Exposure/Heat
Over exposure to UV rays is dangerous for any area of skin, and your scalp is no exception. Because most scalps are covered with hair, the skin often lacks the protective resistance built up by skin in other areas. Hair does act as a barrier in some capacity, but it does not protect the skin from all harmful UV rays. The best way to protect your scalp from the sun is by wearing a hat. People who are balding or who have thinning hair should be especially conscious of the sun’s effect on their exposed scalp. Protect exposed skin on your scalp with sunscreen if possible.

Along the same line as sun exposure, excessive heat can negatively affect the skin on your scalp. Avoid holding styling tools that use heat, like hairdryers, curling irons and straighteners, too close to your scalp. Excessive heat deprives your scalp of moisture and strips it of natural lipids. Without moisture and natural lipids, your scalp can become dry and itchy.

Hair Products
Dyes, relaxers and washes can help your hair look the way you want it to, but they can also damage the skin underneath. Whether you are using these products at home or seeking out a professional’s skills, you should always test the product you are using on a small patch of skin first to see how your will skin react. A burning, itchy reaction is a clear sign to not use the product.

You may not have a reaction to harsh hair products at first, but be aware of the effects on your scalp after repeated use. Continuous use of harsh hair products can result in long-term effects like dry or raw skin, along with redness and hair loss.

Diet
Although diet doesn’t play a large factor in scalp health, it can still affect it. Niacin, biotin, zinc and vitamins A, B6 and C all are nutrients that have been shown to positively impact scalp health. Incorporating fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains and dark leafy greens into your diet will help ensure a healthy intake of all of these nutrients.

Dandruff
All of the above topics play into the most common scalp health concern: dandruff. Dandruff is not contagious and in most cases is easy to treat. For mild cases, try shampooing with a gentle cleanser daily in addition to taking all the preventive measures discussed above. If the dandruff still persists, consider consulting a dermatologist about the issue. You may need a medicated shampoo.

It may seem daunting to remember the upkeep for skin care, but key topics repeat themselves. Sun protection, product usage and diet are factors that affect the health of your skin no matter where it is on your body.

Next time you have a concern about your scalp health, consider what measures you are taking to ensure the health of the skin on your face, arms and legs. Are you giving your scalp the same attention?

Have any questions not addressed in this post? Leave it in the comments and I’ll try to help!

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