Don’t Neglect Your Scalp When It Comes To Taking Care Of Your Skin
Written by Lynn Power
Skincare is having a “moment”. There are loads of new products on the market – many with targeted treatment areas (eyes, hands, even vagina), targeted demographics (menopause, teen, women of colour, men, etc) or specific benefits (hydrating, wrinkle-reducing, acne, spot correcting). And most of these new products are considered to be clean beauty – free of sulfates, parabens or phthalates – with interesting, efficacious ingredients. The benefit to the consumer is that you can tackle any skin issue with relative ease, although you have to wade through a potential paralysis of choice as you navigate your options. And of course, not every product works for everyone, so you may need to experiment to find what your skin likes.
As you think about your skincare needs, don’t forget about your scalp. There’s the perception that because your shampoo and conditioner are topical, your hair care products don’t absorb the same way that skincare does – and so you don’t need to be as concerned with what you’re putting on your body. But did you know that your scalp is actually one of the most absorbent parts of your body? Per Follain, the skin of the scalp and forehead is four times more absorbent than the skin on our forearms. Despite this, many of the haircare products sold in the US still contain sulfates, parabens or phthalates, which can irritate your skin and scalp, not to mention wreak havoc on your endocrine system or worse. And some hair treatment, smoothing and straightening products contain formaldehyde. You may love your Brazilian Keratin treatment, but chances are, it might be one of those. The EU is a bit better off as there are 1328 cosmetic ingredients that are banned (vs. just 11 in the US).
When we launched MASAMI, clean premium, salon-quality hair care, we took care to ensure our ingredients are nourishing and good for your hair AND your skin. It helps that we have a Japanese ocean botanical that’s natural and all about hydration because everyone needs hydration (especially as we age). Here are some tips to get your scalp (and your hair) in its best shape:
- Take time to look at the ingredient list on your hair care products (and all of your beauty products) and look for natural ingredients like aloe, almond oil and seaweed. Many of these natural ingredients have hydrating properties that will keep your skin and hair healthy.
- Avoid products with sulfates, which have been shown to irritate and dry out the skin. You don’t need parabens or phthalates either so educate yourself about the “bad” ingredients to avoid. When in doubt, look at Whole Foods' clean beauty standards.
- Use a scalp scrub every week or two to eliminate dead skin and unclog pores. A plus is if you can find one that smells amazing, like Ceremonia’s Papaya Scalp Scrub.
- Consider taking a supplement like Collagen (we recommend Elaine Wellness) to help you keep your scalp (and hair) healthy from the inside out.
- You don’t need to shampoo every day. Shampooing can actually strip your hair of its natural oils. For most people, 2-3 times a week is enough. And you’ll find that over time, your hair will adjust to less frequent shampooing, especially if you are using products with natural ingredients.
- Try a hair mask that will add extra nourishment and hydration to your scalp and hair. Most hair masks work well just 2-4 times a month and you should be able to feel the difference right away.
- If your hair is thinning (like an estimated 30 million women in the US), enhancing blood circulation to your scalp is an effective way to prompt hair regrowth. You can try a scalp massager which feels amazing and has the added benefit of also providing relaxation and reducing stress.
- Speaking of hair loss, indulge in a silk pillowcase that keeps hair from tangling and pulling out while you sleep. It’s gentler on your scalp and helps keep hair healthy – a win-win.
- Also, ditch your ponytail holder. It also pulls hair and stresses the scalp. Use kanzashi sticks instead. Easy and stylish!
- Get rid of old products that have been sitting in your cabinet for years. Ingredients can change over time and lose their efficacy so if you haven’t used them by now, you don’t need to start. Many skin care and cosmetic products have expiration dates, whereas haircare doesn’t. But use your judgment. If it’s more than 3 years old (unopened), ditch it. And if it’s been opened, the shelf life might be half of that.
So start thinking about your scalp as needing the same skincare love you give the rest of your skin. When your scalp is healthy, your hair will look and feel healthier too. The best part is that it doesn’t take much work. It’s really about a few small changes in your routine and then finding the right products that are clean and work for you.