How to get rid of dry scalp and itchiness? A Beauty Expert Answers
Hi everyone. If you don’t know me, I’m Sonsoles Gonzalez, the founder of Better Not Younger and I recently went on Facebook LIVE to answer many of the questions I get from you all about how to take care of our scalp after 40, and why it’s so important when it comes to the health of your hair.
If you missed my LIVE, you can still watch it here or just grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. And make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram where you can find out when I’ll be LIVE next in case you have any questions you’d like to chat about. Ok ready? Let’s talk scalp care.
What is the scalp?
Our scalp is the skin and tissue that covers our head.
Why is scalp care important for hair?
The scalp is where our hair follicles live, where the hair strand is still alive and can still benefit from the proper care. There are about 100,000 hair follicles on our scalp, and because we do not grow ‘new’ hair follicles over the course of our lives, it’s important to take care of the follicles we do have as they age alongside us.
What's going on with our scalp while we age?
As we age, our scalps expand as we grow so the density of scalp hair is reduced (it’s why you’ll wonder why you had such a thick mane of hair as a child, but thinner hair as an adult…I know I did). Our skin gets thinner, and as it gets thinner, blood flow to the surface that carries oxygen and nutrients to the skin and follicles is reduced.
Our bodies produce less collagen, causing skin to sag and lose elasticity, similar to what is happening to facial skin. And, our sebaceous glands start to produce less sebum. Sebum is what coats hair strands as they grow out of the scalp, providing strength, elasticity and moisture which helps prevent hair breakage. Many of these changes are contributing factors to the inflammation, dryness and itchiness many of us start to experience later in life. It’s all part of the aging process.
When we hit perimenopause (typically in our 40s), our estrogen levels drop dramatically, raising the level of male hormones in our system, some of which are called DHT (Dihydrotestosterone). DHT is a hormone that attaches to hair follicle receptors, causing them to shrink and become less healthy. Kind of like a weed in your garden that will attach to a shrub or tree and over time damage it, slow it down or just kill it altogether.
How to get rid of dry scalp and itchiness after 40?
As with any physical change, knowing what’s happening to our bodies (and in this case our scalp) is always the right first step towards finding the right solutions. And thanks to scientific advancements, there are a range of solutions out there from hormonal therapy and topical drugs to natural remedies and, of course, clean hair care products like my own line at Better Not Younger, that contain a proprietary blend of sulfate-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and vegan ingredients to help optimize the condition of the scalp. And now that you know what’s happening to your scalp, and how that impacts your hair, I’m going to share five steps you can take to get your best, thickest, healthiest hair at whatever age you are.
Step 1: Deep clean your scalp
Why is this important? Dirt, pollutants, dead skin cells, and product build-up are all things that can either inflame your scalp or clog pores, compromising the health of the follicle as well as hair’s ability to grow. Think about it, if a pore opening is clogged with sebum and dirt, that’s less space for the follicle to grow out of, so the follicle will emerge skinnier and less healthy. So, much like facial skincare, it’s important to keep scalp skin clean and exfoliated and pores open.
This is why I developed our New Dawn Activated Charcoal Scalp Cleanser.
By the way, when you see the product coming out it's actually black because of the activated charcoal. Charcoal is one of the best oil absorbents because activated charcoal molecules have a sponge-like surface with lots of holes that are particularly good at soaking up substances like excess oils and toxins.
Lactic acids (also known as AHAs) work by loosening the bonds between dead skin cells while hydrating the next level of skin underneath for healthier, firmer, thicker skin. We included Menthyl Lactate (or menthol) which adds a nice tingle in the shower but also works to soothe your scalp, especially nice if you are experiencing itchiness and dryness.
We recommend using this or any scalp cleanser in the shower once a week or maybe every other week to help maintain optimal scalp hygiene.
Step 2: Nourish & Stimulate Scalp Skin and Follicles
In facial skincare, removing the top skin barrier of dirt and dead cells helps serums penetrate the skin’s surface more deeply, making the serum more effective. It’s the same with scalp serums, like our Better Not Younger Superpower Fortifying Hair and Scalp Serum.
How does it work? Again, through a thoughtfully blended and proprietary list of ingredients. Let me tell you about a few of them:
- Caffeine and ginger are natural stimulants for your follicles that are going to stimulate blood flow
- Kelp to provide a variety of minerals and vitamins to the scalp
- Centella Asiatica to help strengthen scalp skin and follicles
- Niacinamide will reduce scalp irritation, boost skin’s hydration and help support thicker hair
All these nutrients are highly important to get that scalp balance, to nourish the follicle and to stimulate blood flow into your scalp. In fact, in a recent clinical study, 90% of women said they noticed a visible improvement in their hair in just 8 weeks, and 80% saw less hair fall and said their hair felt stronger after 8 weeks.
A lot of women also talk about itchiness, and even the hair and scalp hurting. Your scalp can be inflamed for many reasons. It could be hormonal or environmental. Maybe you’re stressed, using too many styling products or maybe it’s a change in weather. Serums can help reduce inflammation and add back precious moisture to return the scalp environment to a more optimal balance.
The great thing about this serum is you can apply it day or night (we prefer night so it has more time to sink in). It can be applied to wet or dry hair, it doesn't matter. And it’s so light, fast absorbing and non-greasy, you can apply it daily even between washes without that greasy roots feeling.
Step 3: Don’t ignore your body’s inner health
As we age, our body’s ability to absorb nutrients decreases. As it is, our body considers hair a “non-essential”, so hair is typically the last place to receive vitamins and nutrients from the foods we eat. This is why we recommend ingestible supplements like our Significant Other Hair Fortifying vitamins or Power Within Skin and Scalp vitamins. They’re chewable supplements that you take daily to provide your body with scalp and hair friendly vitamins like Vit A, B, C, D, E, Biotin, Folic Acid and Zinc.
Step 4: Massage your scalp to stimulate blood flow
I know I don’t need to sell any of you on the benefits of massage lol. But daily scalp massage has been shown to increase hair density and thickness by stimulating blood flow to the skin and also stretching the hair follicles. You can easily use your fingers to give yourself 4 minutes of scalp massage daily (or bribe your partner, which is highly recommended). Or, if you love gadgets like I do, try our Superpower Liquid Comb and Massaging Serum Applicator.
This is a great way to both apply our Scalp Serum and massage your head at the same time. Perfect if you’re like me and don’t have hours for complicated hair and skin routines! Just fill the comb with our serum, and then massage your scalp with it. The comb’s smooth, ball tipped dispensers retract with pressure to apply serum evenly over the scalp, while encouraging microcirculation. It’s one of the favorite parts of my day.
Step 5: Use a hair masque on your scalp (yes, really!)
So, this might be surprising for a lot of you who grew up being told to just use conditioners or masques on the ‘mid lengths and ends’ of hair. And this is what we generally recommend as well. But we also know that the scalp needs moisture, and if you’re experiencing a dry, itchy scalp, it will absolutely benefit from a once weekly deep conditioning. Our Hair Redemption Restorative Butter Masque is very good for women experiencing dryness on the hair and scalp. You use it once a week or every other week, leaving it on for 1-2 minutes.
This mask has five plant-based butters including avocado butter, macadamia, murumuru, cupuaçu, and mango which can help ease inflammation related to itchiness and dryness without clogging pores. We’ve recently been getting really into heat steaming with a hair turban, which helps the ingredients in our masques penetrate even deeper, which we’ll be writing about in a future blog.
I hope this has been helpful for you and if you have a question I didn’t answer, please feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com
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