To enjoy healthy, vibrant hair, it’s vital that you take good care of your scalp. The scalp’s microbiome is sensitive and can easily be thrown out of balance by the environment, hormones, or the products you use. Many products are designed to make hair look good but often contain ingredients that should not be in contact with the scalp or hair. They can alter the scalp’s ideal biological environment, and an unbalanced, unhealthy scalp is one of the leading causes of hair thinning. This is why, at Harklinikken, we always focus on the scalp and prioritize it when helping you achieve your hair goals.
So, let’s look at all the different scalp types — from healthy to oily or dry — and see how each type can affect hair growth. We’ll also explore ways to treat and optimize all scalp types for fuller, thicker, healthier hair.
What is a healthy scalp?
A healthy scalp has balanced oil production in the sebaceous glands, clean, and well-hydrated. It is free of flakes, dry patches, or redness and has no harmful product residue. It does not itch or feel irritated in any way.
What causes an oily scalp?
Your sebaceous glands are vital for maintaining moisture on your scalp and hair. However, when these glands begin to overproduce oil, your hair can feel greasy and heavy. It may even have a ‘wet-look’ long after washing. This oiliness may be less noticeable with some hair textures, such as curly hair, but you may experience small pimples on your scalp or extreme itchiness. An oily scalp can be caused by inadequate scalp care, body chemistry, diet, hormones, or stress — which can lead to excessive hair shedding or loss.
What causes dry scalp?
When the sebaceous glands underperform in oil production, a dry scalp will occur due to the skin no longer being moisturized. Itching and irritation are also shared with a dry scalp, but one might notice small white flakes on the scalp or sores. Individuals already prone to dry skin on the face/body will likely experience this on their scalp. This issue can be further exacerbated by washing/using products that contain harsh ingredients, using high heat on styling tools, or in colder climates with little humidity.
How to care for an oily or dry scalp
You can care for an oily scalp with Harklinikken’s naturally-derived Stabilizing Shampoo. It is uniquely formulated to deeply and gently cleanse your hair follicles with burdock root extracts, an amazing anti-inflammatory agent. The Stabilizing Shampoo effectively balances sebum to help prevent an oily scalp and hair thinning.
Take care of a dry scalp with Harklinikken’s highly-effective Balancing Shampoo. It will help balance your scalp’s PH levels and gently cleanse and nourish your hair with fortifying mustard seed oil. As a result, you will experience a healthier scalp and stronger hair with less breakage. Dermatologists often recommend the Balancing Shampoo to alleviate dandruff and mild Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Regular washing is essential
In essence, you can think about scalp care in the same way you think about skincare. If you don’t wash your face for a few days, your skin will seem dull, and you could develop irritation or acne. Cleansing becomes a treatment for the scalp and hair by optimizing your scalp health for maximum hair growth.
What is Scalp Psoriasis and Seborrheic Dermatitis?
An unhealthy scalp can also be caused by medical conditions such as Scalp Psoriasis or Seborrheic Dermatitis. These conditions cause similar symptoms, including inflamed, flaky skin. Therefore, we always advise our clients to consult a professional Dermatologist or Doctor before starting any treatment regimens with Harklinikken.
Scalp Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes thick, dry scales on the scalp. These scales are silvery-white and surrounded by reddish patches (or purple on darker skin tones). Symptoms often worsen in dry winter weather, on certain medications, under high stress, or during periods of hormonal change. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for Scalp Psoriasis, but a dermatologist or doctor can recommend various treatments to help control symptoms. These include steroid creams, vitamin D3 cream, ultraviolet light, and immune system-suppressing medications. Men and women are equally affected. Scalp Psoriasis may begin at any age but typically starts in adulthood.
Seborrheic Dermatitis is caused by an imbalance of bacterial and fungal levels on the scalp that leads to yellow flakes on the skin. These flakes feel oily between your fingertips. Flakes may become thick and persistent if left untreated, and secondary bacterial infections can occur. Scraping the scaling off can lead to infection and scarring. Seborrheic Dermatitis can affect people of any age or gender. Many experience alternating periods of inflammation due to varied stress levels, weather conditions, lifestyle habits, and sleeping patterns. A dermatologist may recommend an anti-fungal cream/shampoo and anti-inflammatory agents. Topical steroids can also be an effective short-term treatment.
Scalp health and thicker, fuller hair are achievable.
The key to optimal hair growth is correctly identifying your scalp type and the cause of any issues. Harklinikken’s naturally-derived Hair Gain Extract and supporting product collection are designed to optimize your hair and scalp health with a customized, holistic, and synergistic approach.
Scalp Q&A — All your scalp questions answered
How is my scalp different from the skin on my face?
Your scalp has a lower barrier function, which means it’s more prone to skin problems as it does not have the same level of protection from unwanted environmental influences. Your scalp also has more hair follicles and sebaceous glands than your face, which is why washing daily or every other day is important to prevent hair thinning.
Is dry shampoo safe for my scalp?
Dry shampoo is one of the most harmful products you can use on your scalp — it’s not even shampoo! It gives the illusion of recently washed hair thanks to chemical ingredients and powders that can clog your hair follicles and throw off your scalp’s microbiome. Dry shampoos often cause contact reactions, dermatitis, and scalp infections. With continued use, they can lead to hair loss and hair thinning. In general, most of the chemicals used in dry shampoos and other styling products undermine your hair and scalp health. These harmful chemicals create styling effects, smell, or texture and are not meant to come into contact with the skin. Instead, these products often leave build-up on your scalp causing dull, limp, and lifeless hair.
Should I use scalp scrubs?
No. Scrubs work on skin with minimal to no hair but can be very abrasive and disrupt the scalp's microbiome. Most scrubs contain ingredients that are not suitable for contact with scalp skin, such as:
- Butylphenyl methyl propanol — a synthetic scent ingredient; associated with allergies and contact dermatitis.
- Limonene — a scent ingredient and solvent naturally occurring in the rind of citrus fruit. Limonene degrades to various oxidation products upon storage and exposure to sunlight and air, which act as skin and respiratory irritants and sensitizers.
- Citronellol — a naturally occurring scent ingredient derived from plants such as rose, geranium, and lemongrass.
- Hexyl cinnamal — a naturally occurring and synthetic scent ingredient associated with allergic reactions.
What is a scalp microbiome?
Your scalp microbiome is a system of diverse bacteria that work together to contribute to your overall scalp health.
Why do some people have an oily scalp but dry ends?
Hormonal shifts and low-quality haircare products can produce excess oil on the scalp and hair thinning. When hair starts to thin, the follicles gradually shrink as they undergo a miniaturization process. During this process, the hair's life cycle shortens, and each strand's thickness is reduced. As a result, it can’t grow or live as long and cannot retain the same moisture it once did. Luckily, the award-winning Harklinikken Balancing Shampoo can help restore your scalp’s microbiome. Dry ends can be restored with our Daily Conditioner and Leave-in Hair Hydrating Crème. This combo will infuse each strand with moisture (not cover them with silicone or wax) and repair your hair from within, giving it increased strength, elasticity, and shine.
For more scalp tips, read part 2: The link between scalp health and hair health