Most Common Scalp Issues
|Scalp Condition||What does it look like?||What causes the condition? What are the treatment options?|
|Seborrheic Dermatitis||Greasy, scaly, flaky itchiness of the skin i.e. dandruff||The most common scalp condition. It is not contagious but can be embarrassing. There is no conclusive reason for seborrheic dermatitis. It is suggested that oily skin facilitates abundant growth of skin yeast and skin irritation is an immune response to the abnormal growth of fungi
|Psoriasis||Buildup of the cells create scaly patches that can itch, hurt, crust up and bleed||Scalp psoriasis treatments are mostly about relieving of the symptoms|
|Smelly Scalp||Distinct unpleasant odor that ranges in intensity||Overproduction of sebum can cause distinctive odor since excessive oil gives bacteria the food they need to thrive and proliferate, causing the odor.
Changes in hormone levels, stress and skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis can all cause you to have oily scalp with the potential for unpleasant odor.
|Cysts||Marble or grape sized fluid – filled sacs on your head
|Scalp cysts are most genetic, benign and cause no concern. That said, in some cases they can get infected and irritated causing pain and drainage. You could leave them alone or have them surgically removed
|Folliculitis||Inflammation of the hair follicle that appears as little pus bumps scattered throughout the scalp that mimic acne, and can be sore||It can be caused by bacteria (most commonly staph infection) or irritation from shaving, heavy conditioners, potent hair dyes and excessive sweating. Doctor can do a culture test to check for the bacteria. You should also analyze hair products used and monitor your scalp’s reaction
|Hair Loss / Alopecia||Generally accepted norm for daily hair loss is 60 – 120 hair strands|| Hair loss can be due to genetics, stress, medication as well as lack of protein ingestion, hormonal abnormalities and hair fragility among other factors.
If you are experiencing severe hair breakage / shedding or bold spots, you should immediately have your blood work done in order to check for anemia, vitamin deficiency, thyroid abnormalities, hormone levels and autoimmune markers. At the same time consider how your present life situation and lifestyle choices could be contributing to the hair loss condition
|Allergic Contact Dermatitis||Scalp itching and discomfort upon contact with the irritant|| Allergic reaction might be caused by chemicals / fragrances included in shampoos, conditioners, hair dyes, etc. Paraphenylenediamine is a chemical widely used in hair dyes is particularly notorious for causing allergic reactions in people. You are the only person who can identify and choose to eliminate the irritants from your personal care regimen
Aloe Vera for Healthy Scalp
In many of the listed above cases, you could sooth your scalp by using Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is a perennial plant which is made of roughly 99% water and substances such as glycoproteins which promote skin healing. The enzymes in Aloe Vera gel work to exfoliate dead skin cells, lignin causes deep absorption of the gel by the scalp while amino acids facilitate healthy tissue growth. Aloe Vera plant also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties just in case you needed few more reasons to make it a healthy accompaniment to your hair care regimen.
For many of the above mentioned scalp conditions there are Aloe Vera based remedies that you could easily look up. Following are just few simple ways of incorporating Aloe Vera into your hair care:
– Pre – Poo (scalp and hair treatment performed before the shampoo):
Section your hair so that you can easily apply Aloe Vera gel to the straight parts. Once you apply gel to your scalp throughout the section, gently massage it into your skin to facilitate the absorption. You can also follow up with application of a mix of coconut, castor and rosemary oils for additional nutrition of scalp and hair. Once you apply Aloe Vera (and optional oils) to your whole scalp, you can cover your hair with a shower cap as well as heat head cap and let is sit for about 30 minutes. Once that is done, you can proceed with washing the hair.
– During the hair wash:
After you wash off all the dust, oil and dirt from your hair, you can massage Aloe Vera gel into your scalp. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before rinsing it off and styling the hair.
– Post wash maintenance:
You can massage Aloe Vera gel into your scalp and leave it in without rinsing it off so that it acts as a natural hair gel. As a word of caution I want to mention that Aloe Vera is a humectant so you should be considerate of the surrounding environment when using it as a leave – in product.
pH Balancing for Healthy Scalp
Human skin, hair and nails are slightly acidic in nature (pH balance of around 4 – 5.5); however, most of the products we use especially if combined with water tend to be alkaline which causes distress to the affected areas. If you want to maintain healthy hair and scalp, you should consider pH balanced hair care regimen. Part of the reason Aloe Vera is so beneficial for treating scalp issues is due to its acidic properties. If you would like to know more about pH balancing, you could follow the link: pH Balanced Hair Care
Thanks for reading,