Not all scalps are made the same. That much is true, and if you’ve ever had oily hair or a dry itchy scalp, this reality is starkly more apparent to you. Scalp types differ from person to person, maybe even so from day to day, so knowing yours can provide insight into the best ways to managing your locks.
Essentially two things determine the health and type of your scalp, its pH balance and the amount of oil it produces. Simple, right? The pH Balance is a general scale that determines the acidity or alkalinity of an environment, and for your scalp, the ideal should fall within 4.5-5.5 on the scale. Simply put, your scalp should have a mildly acidic environment to help with keeping bacteria out and your skin clean. But too much acidity can make hair greasy and tangled, while too little can strip the hair of its natural protection, causing fungus and bacteria to proliferate.
Aside from pH balance, the right amount of natural oils also determines the health of your scalp. Throughout that head of hair are sebaceous glands that produce natural oils. These play an vital role in giving strength and luster to your hair. Between those two intrinsically related factors we can determine your scalp type and what you can do about it moving forward.
If your hair clumps together, is flat against your head, or gets noticeably greasy within the day, then you most likely have overactive sebaceous glands. Excess production of oil often creates an environment that’s too slick to be styled or worse off, it may have some flakey dandruff. The good news is your oily hair is actually moisturizing your locks, which can help lessen frizz, breakage and hair fall.
So how do you manage it? Start by reading the fine print on your shampoos and look for words like "balancing" or "strengthening" which can help effectively get rid of excess grease (check out our top picks below). It also helps to massage your the product well into your scalp to remove stubborn oil. In the long run, its best to rebalance your hair with a long term shampoo treatment, as stripping to much grease can in fact have the opposite effect, and encourage your hair to produce even more oil, leaving you exactly where you started.
Dry and Itchy
If you experience frequently itchy scalp with a regular dusting of dry powdery flecks (not to be mistaken with dandruff, which are flakey and are caused more by oily hair), then dry scalp might be the culprit. Two factors may be contributing to the state of your scalp, high pH Balance and an insufficient amount of natural oils. Less acidic hair with a high pH Balance means your hair is not able to get rid of bacteria effectively, which could lead to skin conditions and hairfall.
So how do you manage it? Dry and itchy scalp needs to be treated in several ways. First address the lack of moisture, by looking for serums with essential oils that are good for your hair but still encourage the production of natural oils. Then you can address the dry skin. Good news is your scalp is shedding of old skin so it can making room for new, healthier roots for your hair to grow out. To help it along, shampooing regularly and gently combing along the grain of your scalp. You can also use treatment shampoos that target hair growth and oil production specifically, making it more of a long term solution.
Just like the skin on your face, your scalp can have a combination of oil and dry areas. From dry top layers on your scalp that have deep build of oil underneath to flat greasy patches with dry tips, a combination scalp type is obvious from its lifeless wiry texture. Resolving this combination of problems involves responding with a comprehensive solution.
So how do you manage it? A combination scalp type could be the result of sensitive skin. Consider using mild shampoos to rebalance hair and serums to bring back moisture to your scalp. Also make use of spot treatments, that you can apply to affected areas. Also observe how you treat your hair everyday. Too much styling without rest days could be adding strain to your scalp causing it to overcompensate.
Finally there is the normal hair type, which on occasion may get a bouts of dry skin and some times some oily patches, depending on the weather and activity of the day. Does this mean you can leave it to its own devices, we say it’s still best to keep a watchful eye on your scalp, even with your perfect hair.
So how do you manage it? Aside from regular hair treatments and trips to the salon, consider adding scalp sunscreen and moisturizer to your hair. Making your scalp resilient to possible changes will ensure you have normal no frills hair for longer.
Other Scalp Conditions
One of the more prevalent and (also likely the most cause of secret embarrassment for a lot of men and women) is this chronic scalp condition that causes flaking of the skin. While there are many product that claim to control dandruff, only a few superior ones are able to treat it at the root of the problem. Solving dandruff requires cleansing of impurities while also protecting against oxidative stress, preventing the cycle of flake-production. Choose a professional solution that keeps dandruff from coming back, just like our top picks below.
Thinning Hair - Hairloss
While it's true we all shed hair, it's important that you keep a lookout for signs early on to spot hair thinning before you lose most of it. Remember - there's a big difference between the hereditary condition of baldness and the plaguing effects of different thinning symptoms. Men and women who mostly experience hairloss are usually those prone to chronic stress, depression, or your diet among others.
While there are many potential causes for it, you can ease your worries because there's a way to remedy it. To battle hairloss, use an intensive treatment that inhibits the loss off hair while acting to improve the quality of new hair - a superior product should deliver visible results, making your locks fuller and thicker-looking with greater volume and overall health. Experts recommend the top picks below:
Thinning Hair - Hair density
Hair density actually tells us how much hair or how many strands of hair you have on your scalp (remember, this is different from hair texture that refers to the diameter/thickness of each strand, whether it is fine, medium, or coarse!). In determining hair density, you estimate the count of the number of strands found in a square inch of your scalp so it can be either thin, medium, or thick.
The good news is that among the many treatments available, we have the creme of the crop line-up of professional hair care solutions recommended by experts. Check them out below:
For more on the scalp see our article “Some Love For the Scalp.”
You can also check out this article to know more about "The Best Products For Every Thinning Hair Problem."