To give us a clearer picture, let’s look at our hair and scalp separately.
First, our scalp has a skin-like structure, the cell layers are subject to constant rejuvenation and renewal. New cells replaces old cells. It is normal for us to lose up to 100 strands of hair a day. Our hair is held at its root to the scalp by hair follicle. Sebaceous glands secrets oil or sebum. Oil and moisture strengthen the hair follicles.
Like our skin, our scalp requires regular cleansing to remove excess oil and grime accumulated from exposure to atmospheric dust and dirt. Dead skin cells are removed at the same time to make way for cell renewal.
What can go wrong?
Whilst regular shampooing is essential for maintaining good scalp hygiene, shampooing with “harsh” shampoos, can lead to scalp dryness and itchiness. It can further result in accumulation of dead cell layers manifested as flaky scalp or dandruff. Such “harsh” shampoos not only remove dirt and grime from our scalp, but also both our natural protective lipids together with our natural moisture protection layers during cleansing. This leads to dry and itchy scalp.
Shampooing with excessively conditioning shampoo can lead to conditioning agents accumulating on the scalp resulting in clogged pores, weakened hair follicles and hair loss. In some cases, clogged pores may lead to formation of acne.
Sensitivity to allergens in shampoos can lead to contact dermatitis that is manifested as itchy scalp and scalp rashes.
Not shampooing often enough can lead to accumulation of oily skin layers rich in germs and fungus. These can be in the form of itchy scalp, bumps, acne, dandruff, oily scalp that could lead to weaken hair follicles causing hair loss.
In situations where we are under emotional stress, suffer from lack of sleep or are under-going hormonal changes, we may experience high levels of oil secretion from our scalp. In some instances, acne may develop. Regular cleansing with the right shampoo will prevent possible hair loss arising from weaken follicles caused by excessive oil on the scalp.
Best Practices for Scalp Care
Therefore, regular shampooing is key to maintaining good scalp health. An ideal shampoo is one that cleanses thoroughly but does not cause scalp dryness, does not contain conditioning agents that would clog pores, provides hydration, removes dry dead skin layers and oily skin layers and preferably does not contain allergens. For oily scalp or scalp with acne, the use of oil control shampoo would regulate oil secretion level.