Scalp Build Up: Causes & Prevention
Nobody wants to have an unhealthy scalp, but we end up having one, nonetheless. It’s not like you voluntarily said to yourself that ‘Today I shall have an unhealthy scalp!’. You probably just woke up and felt some discomfort on your scalp. And you were left wondering, what could be the reason for this distress.
The usual culprit is scalp build up, which can be due to a host of reasons but is generally a direct consequence of poor scalp care. When there is a lack of scalp cleaning and scalp treatment, it is inevitable for you to have build-up on your scalp.
What does scalp build up mean?
The name should explain what scalp build up is – It is when you have a bunch of things that get trapped on your scalp with nowhere to go. This is usually the natural oils or sebum that is produced by the sebaceous glands found on your scalp. Sebum is produced to create a protective layer on your scalp, that prevents your scalp from drying out. It also coats your hair strands and keeps them lubricated. But if this oil starts to accumulate on your scalp, it can end up causing problems instead of solving them.
Another way to scalp build up is when you use external products for any form of scalp treatment, and these get left behind after your scalp cleaning. This can be styling creams, conditioners, shampoos, gels, oils, and ointments. But it does not need to stop there. You can add in dirt, grime, pollution, and even bacteria into this mix. Even when you think about oily skin, you need to understand that it’s a combination of sebum, sweat, dust and dead skins cells.
What causes build up?
There can be various reasons for scalp build up and an unhealthy scalp:
- Hormones regulate the production of sebum on your scalp and body. Any fluctuations in this can lead to a sharp rise in sebum levels, which can lead to a build-up of excess oil on your scalp.
- Poor hair and scalp care is probably one of the main reasons for build-up. If you wash your head infrequently with the wrong products, it does not work as a scalp cleaning method and can leave behind different products.
- Using too much hair product is an obvious reason for product being left behind in your scalp. If you constantly apply gels and creams, while forgetting to remove those products through shampoos, you develop a layer of products on your scalp that keeps trapping more substances. It becomes a reverse scalp treatment.
- Knotted and tangled hair can be a reason why your oils and products don’t leave your head. When your hair is a mess, it prevents the natural flow of oils to the tips. This leads to an accumulation on your scalp and if you combine it with the trapped heat, it can cause severe problems.
Signs of an unhealthy scalp
When these natural or external products get left behind, they trigger your body to respond in various ways:
- Itchy scalp
- Sensitivity and pain
- Cracked and damaged skin
- Hair loss
- Change in hair texture
If you have a build-up on your scalp, it does not necessarily mean that you will suffer all these symptoms. It depends on how your individual body reacts. Sometimes it can be an extreme reaction which might require a visit to the Dermatologist.
The most common responses are a breakout of dandruff or inflamed hair follicles. The cause of dandruff is a fungus called Malassezia Globosa that feeds on the excess sebum present on your scalp. It creates oleic acid which almost half the world is sensitive towards. This leads to an itchy scalp, redness, and white-yellow flakes of dead skin cells.
Excess product can lead to clogged hair follicles that eventually leads to inflammation. This is detrimental to the strength of your hair strand and can lead to excessive hair loss. If the inflammation isn’t taken care of, it can prevent new hair from growing out and also lead to scarring.
What do you need for a healthier scalp?
Scalp care is the first tactic in getting rid of your scalp problems. There are various things you can do:
- Use a scalp shampoo and conditioner that suits your hair type. Washing regularly with quality products can open up your hair and keep it clean. Use products like the Head and Shoulders 2 in 1 Smooth and Silky for the combined effect of a shampoo and conditioner.
- Clarifying shampoos can reset the health of your scalp. These contain heavy surfactants that lift all the oil, grime and products from your hair, and wash them away. But be careful, as overusing this can cause severe damage.
- Avoid excessive hair products and scalp treatments, as this is literally the cause of your problem. Once your issues have subsided you can reintroduce gentler hair products that give you a healthier scalp.
- Improve your diet by adding zinc, vitamin A, protein, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. These can have a marked effect on the overall health of your scalp. Reducing stress and improving your lifestyle can also control the hormones that affect your sebum production.
- Brush your hair regularly as this can breakdown the build-up and untangle your hair. This allows for the natural flow of oils from the scalp to the tip of your hair and prevents them from accumulating on the scalp. Using a good conditioner like the Head and Shoulders Scalp Rejuvenation Shampoo can open the hair strands for easier brushing.
You can also use products like the Head and Shoulders 2 in1 Active Protect shampoo that removes dandruff causing germs and leaves you with dandruff free hair. An unhealthy scalp is lurking right around the corner for all of us. But if we have the tools to protect ourselves, we can turn the other corner on scalp care.