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What does a healthy scalp look like?

What does a healthy scalp look like

A healthy scalp is free of flakes and does not discharge flakes when the hair is brushed.  A healthy scalp is also well-hydrated and clear of redness and inflammation. The scalp should be smooth, supple, and free of itchiness or other irritation.

Don’t neglect your scalp!

The scalp is one of the few parts of the body that doesn’t get frequent care or treatment. Though it’s easy to forget about the scalp and focus on hair only, it should be treated with the same love as the rest of the skin. The skin, including the scalp, is the largest organ on the body.

Like the rest of the organ, our scalps help protect us from the world. A healthy scalp means a healthy barrier between our internal organs and outside dangers. As a bonus, a healthy scalp also usually means healthy hair. But what does a healthy scalp look like?

Scalp Warning Signs

The scalp is adept at sending warning signs when it is unhealthy. These warning signs come in the form of symptoms, including:

  • Dry patches
  • Scalp acne or small bumps
  • Tightness
  • Itchiness
  • Flakes
  • Red patches
  • Inflammation

The hair can also serve as a cue for when the scalp is in trouble. If the hair begins to fall out, changes texture, or gets greasy or limp after less than a day without a wash, it’s likely that the scalp is not healthy.

What Causes an Unhealthy Scalp?

Like other skin, the scalp can be sensitive to everyday things like stress, poor eating habits, pollution, and harsh products such as sprays, shampoos, and oils.  Over-washing and under-washing hair can also damage the scalp. Washing hair too much can dry out the scalp, as can the irritating ingredients in shampoos like sulfates, alcohol, and parabens. Not washing hair enough can lead to a buildup of grease and grime, clogging hair follicles and causing dryness, breakage, and even hair loss.

An unhealthy scalp can also be the sign of common skin conditions like dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis.

Dandruff, characterized by skin flakes on scalp or in hair, eyebrows, or facial hair like beards and mustaches, can affect both adults and children alike. Seborrheic dermatitis, sometimes referred to as “cradle cap,” as it is most common in young children, is a noninflammatory skin condition that causes reddened or swollen skin, yellow or white crusty flakes, and other rash-like symptoms.

Treating Unhealthy Scalps

Treatment for an unhealthy scalp is centered around calming rashes, reducing inflammation, and removing exposure to irritants and triggers, which can be achieved by:

  • Gentle massage to remove flakes
  • Avoiding harsh hair products
  • Brushing hair before washing to loosen flakes and dead skin
  • Washing hair daily with a gentle shampoo

Using a special shampoo for seborrheic dermatitis can also go a long way toward healing the scalp and preventing future flare-ups. Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo & Body Wash is a unique dandruff shampoo for kids made with FDA-approved Pyrithione Zinc 0.95% to help ease the symptoms of dandruff and mild seborrheic dermatitis as well as provitamin B5 to moisturize hair and skin and licorice root extract to soothe redness.

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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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