TALK­ING HEADS

EX­PERTS TELL KATIE WRIGHT ABOUT THE DOS AND DON’TS OF SCALP HEALTH

The Chronicle - - Beauty Counter -

WITH daily cleans­ing, ton­ing and moisturising, not to men­tion weekly ex­fo­li­a­tion or sheet masks, we pay a lot of at­ten­tion to our faces, but have you ever con­sid­ered how much we ne­glect the skin on the top of our heads?

Fo­cus­ing solely on the con­di­tion of our hair, rather than our scalp, can have dras­tic con­se­quences, even lead­ing to pre­ma­ture hair loss, ex­perts say.

“Scalp health has a huge im­pact on hair,” warns An­abel Kingsley, tri­chol­o­gist at Philip Kingsley.

“Like any skin, the scalp sweats, sheds dead skin cells and pro­duces oil. To help keep your scalp in tip-top shape, give it sim­i­lar care to the skin on your face.”

“It is your scalp that mainly de­ter­mines what your hair is like, whether it’s dry or greasy, dull or shiny, thick or thin,” agrees tri­chol­o­gist Tony Maleedy.

“Your scalp is the start­ing point and its health de­ter­mines the qual­ity of the hair.”

Whether you want to im­prove the look of your locks or are al­ready ex­pe­ri­enc­ing prob­lems like a flaky or itchy scalp, there are lots of things you can do to boost the health of your bonce.

Here, ex­perts share their ad­vice for get­ting ahead in the hair game...

HOW CAN LIFE­STYLE FAC­TORS AF­FECT MY SCALP AND HAIR?

“A GOOD diet is es­sen­tial for fol­lic­u­lar health, so make sure you eat plenty of foods, like eggs, for the bi­otin,” rec­om­mends GP Dr Un­nati De­sai.

“Se­le­nium is an­other must-have – you can get that from oily fish, like mack­erel or sar­dines – and fi­nally zinc. You can find zinc in red and white meat, and spinach.

“Vi­ta­mins B1 and B5 are im­por­tant too. If you’re buy­ing sup­ple­ments, these are the main in­gre­di­ents to look out for.”

Dr Adam Fried­mann of the Har­ley Street Em­po­rium also ad­vises eat­ing a healthy diet as well as “sleep­ing well, keep­ing ad­e­quately hy­drated and try­ing to live a rel­a­tively stress-free life.

“That said, ge­net­ics play a role and some peo­ple will strug­gle more than oth­ers”.

An­abel points out that you could be in­ad­ver­tently caus­ing scalp prob­lems with the way you wash your hair: “A com­mon mis­take is to sim­ply plop sham­poo onto the root area, and quickly move your hands over it. How­ever, be­ing skin, your scalp needs to be cleansed prop­erly.

“Us­ing a sim­i­lar method to how you would cleanse the skin on your face, spend around one minute gen­tly mas­sag­ing your scalp when you sham­poo and rinse well.”

It’s also im­por­tant not to scrub your hair or pile it on top of your scalp.

“It’s not nec­es­sary,” An­abel says. “The suds that run down through your lengths will be enough to re­move daily en­vi­ron­men­tal grime and prod­uct residue, and do­ing ei­ther of these things can tan­gle your hair and dam­age the hair cu­ti­cle.” An­abel adds: “Don’t use metal-pronged brushes. These can scratch the scalp and, as they can get very hot when you blow-dry, they can also burn your hair. In­stead, use a brush with round plas­tic prongs.”

HOW CAN I FIX A FLAKY SCALP?

WHAT should you do if you’re al­ready notic­ing the ef­fects of a less than healthy scalp?

“I’d al­ways ad­vise pa­tients suf­fer­ing with a scaly scalp to wash their hair with med­i­cated dan­druff sham­poos con­tain­ing sal­i­cylic acid – which dis­solves away the skin cells, coal tar – which has a nat­u­ral anti-fun­gal agent, or a tea-tree oil,” says Dr Fried­mann.

Dr De­sai rec­om­mends Ca­pasal Ther­a­peu­tic Sham­poo: “Lather it on and leave it for about three min­utes be­fore rins­ing.”

If the prob­lem per­sists, there may be scalp dis­ease or a fun­gal in­fec­tion present.

“If it is trou­ble­some and can­not be treated with over-the-counter reme­dies, it is worth see­ing a der­ma­tol­o­gist for di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment,” Dr Fried­mann says.

“Signs of in­flam­ma­tion in­clude red­ness, itch­ing, weep­ing or flak­ing. “All of these can be mark­ers of scalp dis­ease.”

WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT HAIR LOSS?

DID you know that hair loss isn’t just ge­netic, you can ac­tu­ally cause it by the way you style your hair?

“When you wear your hair up, tie it back loosely. Tight hair­styles can place a lot of stress on your hair fol­li­cles,” An­abel warns.

“Ini­tially, this can give you a sore scalp. Long term, trac­tion can dam­age hair fol­li­cles and cause a type of hair loss called ‘trac­tion alope­cia’.”

Stress is also a risk fac­tor, Dr Fried­mann says: “Stress-re­lated hair loss is par­tic­u­larly com­mon in peo­ple who sup­press feel­ings of stress and anger – those that im­plode rather than ex­plode.

“We never switch off and it can re­sult in chronic stress.

“Stress hor­mones called neu­ropep­tides push hairs out of the grow­ing phase into the rest­ing phase – slow­ing re­growth to the point thin­ning hair is more ob­vi­ous.”

Ul­ti­mately, you need a proper di­ag­no­sis to dis­cover the un­der­ly­ing cause, he says.

“For­get the wonder creams and sup­posed mir­a­cle sham­poos, visit a der­ma­tol­o­gist to dis­cover the ac­tual cause of your hair loss, and whether it’s treat­able.”

Not so tight: When ty­ing your hair back do it loosely so as not to cause un­nec­es­sary stress on your fol­li­cles Cleanse your scalp us­ing a sim­i­lar method to what you use for your face Choos­ing the right sham­poo can be key. Try Ca­pasal Ther­a­peu­tic Sham­poo, far left (£7.85, Su­per­drug), Tony Maleedy Ju­niper Scalp Ther­apy Sham­poo, left (£17.50, Tony Maleedy, tony­maleedy­hair.com) or Philip Kingsley flaky itchy sham­poo, right, (£24, from Philip Kingsley, philip­kings­ley.co.uk)

Don’t bot­tle up your anger as that could cause stress-re­lated hair loss

Avoid metal-pronged brushes, try one with round plas­tic prongs. Daniel Galvin Jr Or­ganic­head Dou­ble C Brush, above, is £30, from Daniel Galvin Jr (daniel­galv­in­ju­nior.com)

Treat your scalp like your face with Ker­luxe Aqua­vol Hair Mask, £46, Ker­luxe (ker­luxe.com)

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