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How to Improve Scalp Health

Young woman applying hair treatment product

Wondering how to improve your scalp health? You’re not alone. Whether you’re thinking about this for cosmetic reasons or you simply want your body to be healthier overall, there are plenty of reasons to want to improve scalp health.

Here’s what you need to know about to improve scalp health naturally—and with the help of products—plus what a normal scalp looks like, and the top healthy scalp tips to know about.

Why Is It Important to Have a Healthy Scalp?

Having a healthy scalp is important for both hair health, according to Brian Moore, MD, FAAD, and dermatology advisor at Illuminate Labs. “Since the hair exists on a cycle of three phrases, it is important to keep the scalp clean and the follicles nourished,” he says. “Additionally, if the scalp skin is affected by a certain disease, the skin can break, allowing bacteria and fungus to potentially enter the scalp environment.”

How to identify scalp buildup

Scalp buildup typically occurs when there’s too much sebum accumulating along with hair products, dead skin cells, and different hair products. This usually manifests as redness on the scalp, itchiness, or oily or crusty skin.

Symptoms of an Unhealthy Scalp

According to Dr. Moore, an unhealthy scalp can be prevented in a handful of different ways. “Most commonly, an itch or tingling signals a scalp condition,” he says. “Usually that is from a dandruff or yeast condition, or even psoriasis, which presents with the above as well as with a rash. Another complaint can be pimples or open sores on the scalp, which can signal a bacterial condition.”

He adds that if there are bumps or sharp nodules, this can indicate a precancerous or even cancerous condition. “Additionally, the scalp can shed hair for many different reasons, including stress or genetic conditions,” he says.

Symptom 1: Is an unhealthy scalp pink?

Depending on the patient’s skin type or color, a healthy scalp will usually be a bit paler than their normal skin, Dr. Moore says.  “Any increased pinkness or dark color can indicate an issue,” he says.

Symptom 2: You can see your scalp through your hair

If you can see your scalp through your hair easily, it typically means your hair is on the thinner side. If you’re worried about this, you can consult a dermatologist—they can likely help you figure out if stress or another issue is causing thinning hair, or they can make product recommendations.

3 Steps to Improving the Health of Your Scalp

If you’re ready to start improving your scalp health, here’s the step-by-step process to know about.

Step 1: Washing indications

Use a more gentle shampoo

Dr. Moore notes that nourishing shampoos can be very helpful. “Moisturizing shampoos and conditioners are helpful,” he says. “The most important type of shampoo to use is a zinc shampoo, which can help clear the scalp of yeast and also promote healthier hair.”

Wash your hair less often

If buildup is the reason why you’re dealing with scalp issues, washing your hair less often can help your scalp do what it needs to do naturally.

Step 2: Build a better diet

An improved diet can also help improve scalp health. This means making sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet that’s filled with fruit, vegetables, protein, and other healthy options.

Include probiotics

Probiotic supplements—or getting probiotics naturally through yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, or kimchi—can positively benefit the skin microbiome, soothe irritation, on the scalp, and even contribute to healthier hair. If you’re looking for probiotic supplements, consider looking for the lactobacilli bacteria strain.

Include antioxidants in your diet

Antioxidants can be found in foods like berries, spinach, carrots, potatoes and more, and they can help bind the scalp and build a thicker, more protective layer.

Consider omega-3 supplements

Omega-3 supplements can help provide essential proteins for hair and skin, which can greatly benefit scalp health. You should also consider biotin and vitamin C, Dr. Moore says, which are important for both scalp and heathier hair.

Step 3: Use Rodan and Fields Products

Rodan + Fields’ new hair care line is a great place to start when it comes to improving scalp health. R+F’s Smooth+ Regimen, which helps improve scalp health while replenishing and repairing dry, damaged hair. The Smooth+ Regimen includes a conditioner and treatment set designed to hydrate, reduce unwanted frizz, and improve scalp health.

The Volume+ Regimen also helps nourish the scalp to support stronger hair. It also repairs damage and minimizes hair fall due to breakage, for fuller, more voluminous looking hair instantly and over time.