Despite being a relatively unfamiliar concept, scalp exfoliation is just as important as exfoliating your face is. As we move along the day, we often forget that it is not just our face but also our scalp that has gone through a lot. That affects our hair and its growth. Every day as we sweat and hustle, our scalp accumulates sweat, pollution particles, dead skin along with the natural oils present on it, which clogs our pores and suffocates our hair follicles. This is why we need to exfoliate our scalp. Scalp exfoliation, however, is not the same as face and body exfoliation since the scalp environment is different from that of our face and body. Here we will take you through all the notes that you must keep in mind to headstart with scalp exfoliation.
What is scalp exfoliation?
Just like how your body skin needs exfoliation to get rid of dead skin cells and other gunk, your skin on the scalp needs this too. The catch is, the skin on your scalp cannot be exfoliated in the same way that your skin on the face can be. It is because the scalp skin has a different environment and needs to be worked with gently rather than our usual exfoliating methods. Scalp exfoliation is a process that helps you get rid of the gunk from your scalp and lets your hair follicles breathe to give you stronger and healthier hair. A lot of what your hair looks like depends on how healthy your scalp is. So the key to a good hair day is a healthy scalp. India hasn’t seen a scalp exfoliator until now when Flawsome launched its promising Mean Clean Pre Shampoo Exfoliating Treatment that has 2% Salicylic Acid and plants extracts like Tulsi, Bhringraj, Brahmi, Fenugreek, Ginger, and Menthol to give you that healthy scalp environment.
Why must you exfoliate your scalp?
Let’s look at some benefits that scalp exfoliation offers:
1. Remove product buildup
Our hair goes through shampooing, conditioning, hair masks, hairdryer, dry shampoo, coloring, setting spray and so much more. We tend to believe that just washing our hair will take away all the products building up on our scalp. That’s not true. After washing your hair, you may soon experience that the itchiness on the scalp is back. Our scalp needs to be exfoliated so that all the dirt and grim is off our hair follicles. If your hair goes through heavy duty almost every day then we’d suggest you pick Flawsome Dense Intense Exfoliating & Deep Cleansing Hair Mask that has Kaolin Extract, Acai Seed Powder & Activated Charcoal to cleanse and lightly condition your hair. This is a great physical exfoliator that does wonders for your hair.
2. Balances scalp pH
Our face has a protective barrier that helps us fight free radicals to delay ageing and maintain the pH of the skin to avoid infection. In the same way, our scalp has a protective barrier that fights free radicals and maintains the pH of the scalp to avoid infection. Oftentimes, when the gunk starts to build up on our scalp, it leads to a compromised protective barrier and an imbalance in pH. This allows the bacterial growth to flourish and gives us an itchy and greasy scalp. To avoid this, we must exfoliate the scalp that helps us maintain the pH of our scalp.
3. Encourage hair growth
Exfoliation also means you’re lowering the enzyme population that is present in dead skin and contributes to the natural hair shedding rate. Exfoliating also leads to increased cell turnover which gives you a healthy scalp. A healthy scalp environment is key to bouncy and upbeat hair growth.
4. Erase dandruff and rashes
Dandruff pretty much happens when your scalp is dry and then sweat and oil is accumulated which makes it itchy. If you end up scratching it then it will be easily bruised or rashed since the scalp is already irritated. Your scalp can be rashed also by harsh hair products that can irritate scalp skin. When this happens your scalp needs to be exfoliated to take off all the gunk and let your hair follicles do their job.
5. Promote shiny hair
When you exfoliate your scalp, it unclogs your hair follicles. This allows your scalp to breathe and lets the hair grow healthier. Healthy hair always equals shiny hair. Exfoliation also helps you eliminate the hard water buildup from your scalp. So if your hair has suffered after a vacation or after swimming, scalp exfoliation comes in handy to rescue them.
How can you exfoliate your scalp?
The way to exfoliate is right before your shampoo. One of the important pointers to remember while using a scalp exfoliator like Flawsome Mean Clean Pre Shampoo Exfoliating Treatment is to be ultra-gentle. However, if you’re not sure if scalp exfoliation is meant for you, it is safe to patch test before using it. Here are some simple steps to guide you through this process:
1. Apply the scalp exfoliator, section by section on your scalp
2. Use your fingertips (never your nails) to massage it in circular motions to lift the dead skin off your scalp.
3. Let it rest for 7-10 minutes before rinsing it off and follow it with your gentle shampoo. Since your scalp is just exfoliated, make it a point to not use any harsh products that day. A gentle shampoo that we’d recommend is Faith In Nature Rosemary Shampoo that has Rosemary Oil to promote hair growth.
How often can you exfoliate your scalp?
It all depends on what your hair goes through on most days. If you’re constantly out and you use dry shampoo, setting spray, and heat too often then it is safe to exfoliate your scalp after every two hair washes which is once to twice a week. But if your scalp is healthy on most days and you barely find your scalp to be greasy and itchy then it is safe to exfoliate after every three to four washes which is about once in a week.
Which scalp type must exfoliate?
If you’re someone who faces dandruff very often and your scalp turns greasy after two days of hair wash, this is for you. In fact, all scalp types must exfoliate to keep our hair healthy. Having said that, those with dry or normal scalp type can limit the frequency of exfoliating their scalp to just once a month as per our in-house expert Sreeja Shrestha to prevent clogging and overall product buildup. Exfoliation widely helps those with an irritated and greasy scalp that is prone to dandruff. If your scalp is sensitive then you must check with your dermatologist before introducing a new hair product to your scalp. You should seek a dermatologist before trying a scalp exfoliator if you’re on medication for Psoriasis, Seborrheic dermatitis, or any other skin condition.
What could happen if you don’t exfoliate it rightly?
If you end up over-exfoliating then it will lead to hair loss and hair thinning. The skin of your scalp is very sensitive and hence needs to be dealt with gently. If you use harsh products after exfoliating then that might rash your scalp and lead to additional scalp conditions like Seborrheic dermatitis. Rashes can also occur when you scratch an itchy and irritated scalp repetitively. This only makes the already present bacterial infection even worse. To prevent this, it is necessary to exfoliate the scalp gently.
The bottom line
Scalp Exfoliation is a relatively new term for a few of us but it is just as important as face and body exfoliation. It helps you unclog your hair follicles and promote shiny and bouncy hair growth. To maintain good hair, we must focus on maintaining a healthy scalp and scalp exfoliation definitely helps us reach there if used rightly!
- Divya Salvi