Woman checking hair in mirror

Signs Your Scalp Needs Extra Care

While hair gets plenty of attention, the scalp is one area of the body that tends to go overlooked—until something is wrong. A healthy, balanced scalp is the foundation for great hair days, so how do you know there’s a problem? There are some obvious clues and some subtle ones. Be on the lookout for these unhealthy scalp signs so you can prevent worsening issues.

How Can You Identify Scalp Health Problems?

1. Itching

Like the rest of your skin, itchiness on the scalp may indicate dryness. You may find that your scalp tends to get dry if you wash your hair too often, since shampoo can strip away sebum and natural oils. Dryness can also occur or worsen during the winter months when there’s less atmospheric moisture.

2. Flakes or Scales

Depending on the severity of your scalp dryness, it may be accompanied by flakes or scales. While it can be related to an existing skin condition, like eczema or psoriasis, a dry scalp can pop up even if you’ve never had it before.

Dandruff is a specific type of dermatitis caused by the Malassezia fungus, which is a normal scalp microbe. In large amounts, it can make skin cells multiply faster than usual, producing flakes. These flakes may be small, but the condition can also produce larger scales.

3. Redness

Woman braiding hair

If you have thick hair, you might not notice a red scalp, but take a peek next time your hair is wet. An angry-looking scalp could point to dryness or even a reaction to a hair product. Known as dermatitis, this sensitivity can occur when the skin is exposed to additives like parabens, fragrances, sulfates, and dyes.

4. Buildup

If your scalp feels gritty or greasy to the touch—or if your hair at the roots is oily even after a fresh wash—take note. This is a notorious sign of buildup, which can accumulate on the scalp and create flakes. Everything from hair products to dead skin, grease, and other particles can gather over time, settling on the scalp and preventing it from getting the nutrients it needs to thrive.

So, with these unhealthy scalp signs in mind, what does a healthy scalp look like? The absence of redness, flakes, and itchiness are all indicators that your scalp health is on track. Beyond that, your scalp should feel smooth, clean, and hydrated, and it shouldn’t be painful or irritating to brush your hair.  

How to Take Care of Your Scalp

Scalp woes can be frustrating, especially since they can affect your hair health, too. But don’t panic if you’re noticing any (or all) of the signs above. With the right care, you can restore your scalp’s wellness.

Use an Exfoliating Brush

If your scalp is on the dry side, you may find that exfoliating helps. Exfoliating scrub brushes can eliminate dead skin cells, reducing buildup and achieving a deep clean. Look for a gentle silicone scrubber to remove dirt, debris, and buildup during washes.  

Assess Your Products

Since many hair care products contain allergens and additives that can irritate the scalp, using gentle formulas can help prevent redness and dryness. Sulfates and parabens are two ingredients you’ll want to avoid, but you can also select nourishing shampoos and oils to boost scalp health. Natural ingredients, like honey, are loaded with vitamins and minerals that protect and soothe aggravated skin.

Cut Back on the Heat

While a curling or flat iron may not come into contact with the skin, blow dryers generate widespread heat that can dry your scalp out. And if you spend a lot of time in the sun, your scalp could be getting dried out (or even sunburned) from UV exposure. Consider air drying your hair and trying heatless styles whenever possible, and protect your scalp with a hat or SPF product before heading out. Finally, dial down the heat in the shower too, as hot water can actually dry out your hair and scalp.

Evaluate Your Water

There’s one major source of scalp irritation that’s often overlooked: poor water quality. If your water is rich in hard minerals or heavily chlorinated, it’s likely drying your scalp out and causing buildup. Hair becomes weaker and more brittle and will lose its luster over time. A filtered showerhead is a simple solution for protecting your scalp, hair, and skin against the damage caused by hard water. The device traps minerals and filters out chlorine for nourishing hydration and a cleaner scalp.

The Canopy filtered showerhead is made with performance and results in mind. Enjoy clean, fresh water that gets your hair and scalp clean with a signature Canopy twist: an aroma kit that turns every shower into a special occasion.

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