Ahh, scalp issues, none of us are immune from it. Nonetheless, with a healthy hair care regimen, the right information and quality products, flaky and itchy scalps can be a thing of the past. We catch up with Avlon Director of Education Jacqui McIntosh who schools us on the fundamentals of maintaining a clean, healthy and happy scalp.
Dealing with dry, itchy and flaky scalps are common ailments for most, but particularly so if you have Afro textured hair. Our hair is much more prone to dryness because of the coily structure of our strands, which makes it more difficult for oils to penetrate the hair and scalp. During the winter months the condition worsens, with cold temperatures dehydrating our strands even further. The Spring season gives us the opportunity to press the reset button and provide our hair and scalp with treatments and remedies to help you get your hair back to optimum health. We catch up with Jacqui McIntosh, Director of Education for Avlon Industries (Europe), who as a hairstylist, trichologist, educator and platform artist, is more than qualified to provide us with pertinent information and product recommendations to cease the condition.
So what are the common symptoms?
Symptoms of dry and itchy scalps include excessive itchiness, tightness on the scalp, small white flakes when you brush or comb your hair, and slightly reddish, inflamed scalps. Most of us will experience one or all of these symptoms during the course of our lives, but if you find that you are experiencing these ailments on a frequent basis you should take action. Jacqui says, “ The exact causes are not known, however the following conditions are linked to dry, itchy and flaky scalp, and they include geographical and cultural hair shampooing and styling habits, length of hair (long hair with less frequent shampooing habits), water impurities, emotional stress and poorly formulated hair care products to name but a few. Chemical services that come into contact with the scalp, have the opportunity to escalate this condition which is why chemical services should be carried out by professionals only.”
Debunking the myths
While it’s commonly known that some common scalp problems are symptomatic of women who frequently use chemical treatments in the hair, Jacqui says no hair type or texture is immune. “Having natural hair won’t make you escape the condition”, she says. “In fact, with natural hair it can become more complicated due to the required frequency of cleansing, as this is of maximum importance. The longer hair you have the more important it is, as the further away from the scalp the hair is the less natural sebum will travel down the hair shaft, which is is heightened further with curly hair as you have an outer cuticle making the hair ridged, which hinders the natural flow of sebum.” And what about protective styles, surely, that’s a sure fire way to get your hair to flourish? Not necessarily, according to Jacqui. “Protective styles are surrounded by myths, and I know many women will often do back-to-back protective style for up to a year to reach their hair goals. Now, there are plenty of women who have achieved amazing lengths from protective styling, but there are a few women who never yield results from all their efforts. There are various scalp problems caused by an over reliance on protective styling and they include excessive tangling (from hair being untouched for long periods), dryness from hair being uncared for too long, and breakage from over-manipulating hair to create elaborate styles. Just like anything, apply in moderation.”
KeraCare’s Dry And Itchy range is dedicated solely to protecting against dryness, reducing itching and preventing flaking. Jacqui offers the following advice and product recommendations for those suffering from common scalp conditions:
To keep your scalp healthy, you must treat it as you do your facial skin and remove impurities regularly, as in once or twice per week. This could be in the form of a complete deep cleanse using Dry And Itchy Scalp Shampoo to cleanse, which contains gentle agents such as salicylic acid and sulphur to gently exfoliate the scalp. Failure to cleanse your hair regularly leads to product build-up that becomes so dense it blocks the opening of hair follicles, limiting growth.
Just like the skin on the rest of your body, the scalp needs moisture to function efficiently. Hydrating it once or twice a week should suffice. KeraCare Dry And Itchy Conditioner is effective in soothing the scalp while adding hydration to both the hair and scalp. The antifungal properties within the conditioner will add additional protection to the scalp whilst moisturising the hair.
The scalp can be supported with the penetrating emollients and active ingredients of Dry And Itchy Glossifier, which soothes and relieves itching and scalp dryness. This light hairdress is gentle enough for everyday use and prevents the return of dry, itchy scalp conditions.
Jaqui’s top tips for a healthy scalp
- Treat your scalp to regular massages to stimulate scalp
- Eat a protein rich diet – if you’re not eating enough your body will struggle with getting the essential amounts needed.
- Stress is the enemy of thick, healthy hair, try meditation, yoga, walking in nature or gardening to lower your stress levels.
- If you experience any areas of soreness or excessive itching you should ask your GP to refer you to a Trichologist who will have the skill set to determine exactly what your scalp issues are.
For further information on KeraCare Dry And Itchy range visit here