We often hear of body detoxes that cleanse our internal system. But about the external buildup on our hair and scalp? How do cleanse your scalp buildup?
One type of external buildup that occurs in our bodies is on the scalp, often called ‘scalp buildup’ or ‘scalp slate’.
Scalp buildup occurs normally due to various reasons like excessive sweating on the scalp, dirt, and pollution, hair products, dead skin cells, etc, that form a layer on the scalp over time.
If this scalp buildup isn’t cleansed, it will thicken and can lead to scalp infections and clogged hair follicles.
Therefore, scalp cleansing from time to time is very essential to maintain scalp and hair health and this article will tell you all about scalp buildup and ways to get rid of it.
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What does ‘scalp buildup’ refer to?
Scalp buildup, also known as scalp slate is a condition that occurs due to the buildup of a combination of various things like dead skin cells, oil or sebum (naturally secreted by our sebaceous glands).
The dirt and grime from the environment, hair product residue etc, can also mix together and form a layer on the scalp over time.
How To Cleanse Your Scalp Buildup 2021
Exfoliate Using A Scalp Scrub
Exfoliation! One simple word with multiple benefits. What’s the importance of exfoliation when it comes to the scalp, you may ask?
Well, exfoliation of our facial skin is something many of us may already be doing.
Similarly, scalp exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells in order to make way for the new cells to come to the top, also known as skin regeneration.
Along with loosening up the scalp buildup and when the hair is washed, the loosened up residual particles will fall off.
It is important to note that scalp exfoliation should be done very gently as it can otherwise cause damage to the scalp skin and hair follicles.
Try A Scalp Clarifier
Two well-known scalp clarifier products are clarifying shampoos and micellar water. Here’s the difference between the two.
Clarifying shampoos are harsh by nature as they are strong enough to cut through the layers of product buildup and cleanse the scalp completely.
It strips the scalp and hair of all its nutrients and therefore, using a good hair moisturizer or conditioner is recommended after using a clarifying shampoo.
Micellar water is milder by nature and is used to clean the scalp at a deep level but can also nourish the scalp and hair at the same time.
These micellar are molecules that help break up the scalp buildup and cleanse the scalp, by combining the molecules with the dirt particles that get washed off when we shower.
It is important to note that clarifying shampoos are harsher as compared to micellar water and should be used just once a month only if it is absolutely required.
On the other hand, micellar water can be used once a week or one time every alternate week just how you would use your regular shampoo.
Give Your Hair An Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Using an apple cider vinegar scalp rinse is very beneficial to help reduce product buildup as it is acidic in nature and acts as a natural exfoliant.
It is milder than a clarifying shampoo but more acidic compared to other regular shampoos.
Use A Baking Soda Scrub
Baking soda is mildly abrasive in nature and has antibacterial properties.
Therefore, when this ingredient is used on the scalp as a scrub, it acts as a natural clarifier and helps get rid of scalp buildup more easily.
Use A Bentonite Clay Scalp Mask:
Bentonite clay helps draw out all the excess sebum on the scalp while it also helps reduce and prevent dandruff formation.
As bentonite clay is negatively charged by nature, it can draw out impurities like product buildup whenever it is used.
How do you avoid scalp buildup formation?
Washing your hair the right way:
Washing your hair at least two to three times a week is a must, especially if you sweat excessively, workout often or live in humid climates.
Washing your hair may seem like a simple task, but doing it right is very important. Here are some tips you could consider.
Firstly, making sure your hair is completely wet before adding any shampoo is a must, because shampoo poured on dry hair can make it easier for it to settle on the scalp.
Secondly, dilute your shampoo with water so that it is runny and spreads easily all over your hair.
Here’s a tip, pour this diluted shampoo on your head and let it flow down to the length of your hair.
Thirdly, use your fingertips to scrub your scalp using circular motions in order to exfoliate your scalp and get rid of the product buildup more easily.
Next, wash off all the shampoo and make sure there is no residue left.
Lastly, conditioning. Use your conditioner only on your hair and not on your scalp, as the scalp already has naturally secreted oil (sebum) moisturizing it.
Avoiding excessive use of products and hair styling tools:
These products can leave certain amounts of residue on the scalp and hair especially if it isn’t washed off properly.
Reduce leaving your hair tangled:
Brushing your hair at least once or twice a day is very important because any kind of tangles in the hair will make it easier for products to settle and not come off when washed.
Avoid using only cold water while washing your hair:
A lot of people say that cold water is the best for the hair, but what if I told you that using only cold water will make it easier for scalp buildup to form?
Cold water will make it easier for the products to harden on the scalp and settle, in turn making it tougher to come off.
While this happens, the pores on the scalp will close trapping the buildup within it.
Therefore, using warm water to wash your hair is advisable.
It can not only help loosen up the scalp buildup, but it will also help open up the hair follicles on the scalp making it easier for them to get unclogged.
Here’s a quick tip: Wash your hair with warm water and once you are done washing the conditioner off, finish it off by pouring a little cold water on your head. This will help close the opened pores and make it difficult for any dirt, products, oil or dead skin to get trapped within thereafter.
How does scalp buildup occur?
Most of us wash our hair with liquid shampoos, and condition it later and while we do so there is a possibility that this shampoo may not completely wash off the oil.
The sebum, dirt, grime, product buildup and dead skin cells remain on the scalp, while there is a chance that the shampoo and conditioner itself can leave its residue.
This residual buildup collects over time and thickens on the scalp making it harder to remove.
Is scalp buildup harmful for the hair and scalp?
Well, the answer to this question is downright yes! And here’s how. Just like the other parts of skin, our scalp too has pores which lead to hair follicles.
Therefore, when we sweat, the dirt and pollution along with the products we use on our hair, all get combined and settle like a layer on the scalp.
While some of this residue settles on the scalp, some of it enters into these hair follicles and clogs them.
Each hair follicle grows one strand of hair out of it and therefore, when the hair follicle is clogged, the growth of that strand gets inhibited.
This can hamper proper hair growth as it will not allow proper blood flow and sufficient nutrients to reach the root.
These scalp conditions can often lead to hair fall and hair damage because it causes itchiness in the scalp.
When we itch our scalp, it can cause temporary or permanent damage to the hair follicle, as well as lead to hair breakage.
Therefore, unclogging of the pores and removing scalp buildup from time to time is very essential to maintain good scalp and hair health in the long run.
How often should we cleanse our scalp?
There is no specific answer as to when exactly your scalp requires to cleansed, as it varies from person to person.
All this depends on how oily or itchy your scalp feels, how often you use hair care or hair styling products, how often you wash your hair and whether you are prone to sweating excessively.
For those who use hair products very often, workout or exercise on a regular basis (causing sweat to collect on the scalp).
Those prone to or have dandruff formation, will require to cleanse their scalp more often (around once every fifteen days).
At the other end of the spectrum are people dry, coily 4c hair who require to cleanse their scalps probably once every month or once every forty-five days.
The final takeaway
In order to maintain good hair health, scalp hygiene is very important.
Maintaining scalp hygiene by detoxifying your scalp from buildup should be a regular practice and should be considered as a part of your hair care routine.
Scalp buildup can also be due to flaking from dandruff or scalp conditions like psoriasis or scalp eczema and can often be confused.
Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor if you see any such unusual symptoms.