By Shammi Mondal
You might be on top of your skincare game, but still neglecting your scalp. It is, after all, an extension of your skin, and deserves equal amounts of love and care. So, while cleansing and conditioning might be essentials in your hair care routine, you should consider exfoliation.
Your hair follicles lie a few millimetres below the surface of your scalp, and a healthy scalp equals healthy hair. Exfoliating the scalp will remove dead skin cells, reduce sebum production (thus preventing excessive oiliness), and reduces dry, flaky skin.
We spoke to celebrity dermatologist Dr Rashmi Shetty to share her top tips for exfoliating for healthy hair.
What is scalp exfoliation?
“Our scalp has sebaceous glands that secrete oil to lubricate hair follicles. Often, dust or environmental pollution, even remnants of your shampoo and hair styling product clings onto your scalp and increases its greasiness, which chokes your hair roots. Exfoliation actively helps in clearing this build-up,” explains Dr Rashmi.
What are the different kinds of scalp exfoliators?
“Chemical exfoliants have active ingredients like salicylic acid, AHA or BHA, and ketoconazole that gently wash away oil build-up and eliminate dandruff,” says Dr Rashmi.
On the other hand, a mechanical scalp exfoliator has grainy particles that physically exfoliates the scalp, removing dead skin cells and dry, flaky skin. It also enhances blood circulation, which strengthens your hair follicles.
Who will benefit from scalp exfoliation?
“People with an extremely oily scalp, dandruff or with a lot of build-up. Also, people with hair fall, seborrheic dermatitis and an itchy scalp can effectively practise hair exfoliation,” says Dr Rashmi.
How should you begin scalp exfoliation?
Choose a scalp exfoliator according to your hair concern and use it as a pre-shampoo treatment. “A beginner should exfoliate once a week, depending on your scalp’s needs. If it's a very oily, dandruff-laden scalp, you might need to exfoliate twice a week,” says Dr Rashmi. It is advisable to visit a dermatologist and seek professional advice before using strong exfoliators.
So, the next time your favourite hair oil fails to work its magic, try exfoliating your scalp before oiling your hair.