Have you ever wondered what the secret is to a full head of healthy hair? While there are many elements to gaining and maintaining healthy hair, an often overlooked factor is the health of your scalp. 

Scalp cleaning, in particular, plays a starring role in the ongoing journey to beautiful hair. 

Here at Fulham Scalp and Hair Clinic, our wealth of experience revolves around treating a variety of hair and scalp conditions, with scalp cleaning being a cornerstone. Let’s explore this together.

Unearthing the Essence of a Healthy Scalp

Just as you wouldn’t expect your garden to flourish in poor soil choked with weeds, we need to provide the right environment for our hair to thrive. What does that mean for your scalp?

Essentially, we need to consider the cleanliness of the scalp, ensuring that we’re not compromising the hair roots with dirt, oil, or other products. It also means that we should consider the importance of blood circulation and providing a nutrient-rich environment. Thirdly, we must closely examine the products we use – often daily – and how these affect the health of our scalp and hair. 

Keeping a Clean Scalp

A healthy scalp is integral to healthy hair, but various factors can disrupt this balance, leading to scalp buildup. At the core is sebum, an oily secretion our scalps naturally produce. While its primary role is to moisturise the scalp, excessive sebum can combine with sweat, remnants of hair products, and dead skin cells, creating an unwelcome layer on the scalp if left for too long. Conditions like seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis can elevate sebum production, intensifying this buildup. 

Furthermore, the array of hair products we use, from shampoos to styling creams and gels, often contain waxy components. If not diligently rinsed out, these elements can adhere to our hair and scalp, contributing to the buildup. 

To add to the mix, sweat and dead skin cells, which are natural byproducts of our body’s functioning, can amalgamate with sebum and product residue. Especially active individuals or those with higher sweat rates may find themselves more susceptible to this kind of buildup. 

The build-up of this type of scalp debris can contribute to fungal and bacterial infections occurring on the scalp or trigger inflammation around the follicle and can impact healthy hair growth.

Therefore, understanding these factors and practising thorough scalp cleaning is pivotal to maintaining optimal scalp health.

Scalp Exfoliation

Scalp exfoliation has gained huge popularity recently as a way of removing and lifting off stubborn scaling and build-up on the scalp. However, not all exfoliating practices are necessary or healthy.

Eleanore Richardson offers some sound advice. “We recommend avoiding physical exfoliation techniques that include scraping, scrubbing, peeling, or scratching. That includes products with granular exfoliants in them as they can cause micro tears on the scalp surface, which can trigger more inflammation. It’s the last thing you need for an itchy, tender or sore scalp!

“Instead, opt for gentle chemical exfoliants such as products containing salicylic acid, which helps soften and loosen dead skin cells and debris so that they can be easily shampooed away.

Our Soothing Scalp Exfoliator is a perfect pre-treatment for itchy, flaky, inflamed scalps. However, purchases can only be made after a consultation.”

Hair and Scalp Products

As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, there are hundreds of products on the market that are touted as healthy hair care choices. However, when we dig a little deeper, we see that they are responsible for some alarming chemical damage, especially to afro hair. 

What should you be looking out for?

Shampoos, conditioners and other hair products containing chemicals such as:

  • Some sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulphate, can strip the hair and scalp of natural oils too effectively, leading to dryness, flaking, and irritation.
  • Waxy substances, such as gels, sprays, and serums that provide a hold or fix for the hair. These can stick to the hair and scalp if not thoroughly cleansed away when washing hair, leading to product buildup on the scalp and hair.
  • Formaldehyde (formalin) which can cause severe damage to the hair and scalp, leading to dry, brittle, and heavy tresses and who’s fumes can impact the lungs.
  • Polyethylene glycols (PEG), which can cause scalp irritation and allergic reactions.
  • Alkanolamides, sodium lauraminopropionate, ivy agave, and silicone, which can cleanse the hair without removing a lot of sebum and won’t dry it out, leading to scalp buildup.

Best Practice for Scalp Cleaning 

With so much information and much of it difficult for the average person to understand, it can be hard to make the right decisions. Even with a heart full of good intentions, we sometimes stumble in our scalp-care journey. Perhaps in our enthusiasm, we are using products that we think are helping but are actually contributing to an itchy scalp. Overzealous scrubbing might lead to unnecessary abrasions, and products saturated with chemicals can wreak havoc on the scalp’s delicate pH balance and microbiome.

However, when you want to find the best solution to any problem, it’s best to talk to a professional. And in this case, here is what your local Trichologists advise: 

  1. Cleanse your hair and scalp regularly (a minimum of once per week) with a gentle shampoo if not otherwise specified. 
  2. You only need to use the pads of your fingers on your scalp when shampooing. Avoid anything with grit, granules or scalp brushes.
  3. Condition your hair with a quality conditioner or hair mask, such as our  Deep Conditioning Clay Mask. If your hair type needs it, use a water-based leave-in conditioner to keep her moisturised throughout the rest of the week without creating build-up on the scalp. Our favourite is our Leave-In Hair Protector.
  4. If you notice persistent itching, flaking, redness, or tenderness, book a consultation with a Trichologist. They will personally assess your scalp and check if further treatment or routine hair changes are needed.
  5. Remember, your scalp doesn’t need to be oiled to stay moisturised or be stimulated; your natural sebum should be enough. If you are still noticing dryness, flaking and itching, book in to see a Trichologist and get your scalp assessed.
  6. When searching for a Trichologist, make sure they are AIT or MIT qualified with the Institute of Trichologists

Scalp Cleaning Made Simple

Radiant hair begins at the roots, and meticulous scalp cleaning is the path to this glory. Should doubts or concerns arise, the seasoned professionals at Fulham Scalp and Hair Clinic stand ready, guiding you towards your hair’s most vibrant version.

For more information on caring for afro hair, watch this video from Glamour UK. The Black Hair Conversation: Facts & Follicles.

Ifẹ A
Ifẹ A
2024-05-04
This place has genuinely changed my life! I went from relying on the daily use of wigs to finally being able to understand and appreciate my natural coils. I would never have been able to wear my natural hair out a year ago (mostly due to the fact that I had so many bald spots and basically no hairline!) so I am shocked daily at how far I’ve come in such a short space of time. If you decide to visit, please do listen to the advice of these wonderful experts, it really does work! I’ve also realised how much we over complicate black hair, healthy black hair is actually super simple to achieve. Thank you everyone at Fulham Scalp & Hair Clinic! Each day I wear my hair out, I’m appreciative of the day I discovered this wonderful place!
Beth L
Beth L
2024-04-08
I’ve been getting desperate with my 4C hair situation, so I’m so glad I found this clinic. Eleanore and Ashley were so accommodating and nice! I learned a lot of new things. Now, my hair has improved a LOT after following Eleanore's advice. Highly recommend.
Judith Worrell
Judith Worrell
2024-04-03
I feel and look confident after my treatment and trim from Fulham Scalp and Hair Clinic and recommend anyone struggling with traction alopecia to confront the issue and contact the clinic as I did I have no regrets just new hair growth and a great look.
Courteney
Courteney
2024-01-12
Booked a consultation and the information I received was life changing. Didn't realise how badly I was maintaining my hair. Since getting my hair treated and trimmed, I have been given a healthy hair routine that has given me confidence and happiness. For anyone thinking about it definitely do it. Your not just paying for the treatment but also the knowledge. Customer service and attention to detail was 5*
Cabir TOPO
Cabir TOPO
2024-01-09
Sonia
Sonia
2024-01-02
My hair was damaged from keratin treatments. After doing some research I found this place online. I was nervous about contacting them for fear of judgement and blame. In May 2022 I got in touch. Even before I arrived the receptionist really reassured me and was very kind. Eleanor did my consultation. Her and Teresa are professional, empathetic, warm, supportive and knowledgeable. I didn't really know how to look after natural hair. However this has revolutionised things for me. My hairs unrecognisable to before. Its grown a lot and is the healthiest it's ever been. I'm so glad I found this place. I attend regularly for treatments. I can't recommend this place enough!!
Nadine McKenzie
Nadine McKenzie
2023-12-29
I became a patient of the Fulham Scalp & Hair Clinic two years ago on the advice of my dermatologist who suggested that I find a trichologist. One of the reasons for choosing this clinic was due to their extensive knowledge of differing medical conditions that cause issues with scalps and hair. I was made to feel so welcome and after an examination of my scalp, hair and lifestyle a proper treatment plan was started. I am so pleased about the progress I have made, how my scalp inflammation has decreased and how I have been taught to take care of my scalp and hair. I still regularly have my scalp examined and receive treatment in order to ensure that no flare ups on my scalp recur. I am thrilled that my dermatologist recommended that I see a trichologist and I am glad that I chose Teresa and Eleanor due to their expertise, care and genuine interest and pride in seeing their patients' progression.
A B
A B
2023-12-09
I had my initial consultation with Eleanor. from the moment I met her she was professional, empathic, extremely knowledgeable and warm in rapport. For context I have thick 4C hair, and I was in good hands. Eleanor knew exactly what she doing, saw the beauty in my hair and did not feel anyway swayed by hair in its natural state. I would highly recommend bringing any blood test results to your consultation. I was as at loss as to why my hair was shedding, thinning in places and not retaining length when I appeared to be doing all the right things to prevent this. Eleanor was able to read my blood test results and examine my hair throughly to make a diagnosis. We discovered that my hair shedding/loss was due to my extremely low iron and vitamin D levels. I travelled from the West Midlands for this appointment and will be happy to travel again for treatments. Do try to be open to the advice and insight given, as a lot of it is new to us a community. Thank you to the team for your work and professional approach in helping black women learn about maintaining healthy flourishing hair.
Juliana Gracia
Juliana Gracia
2023-12-01
N B
N B
2023-11-24
I had my initial consultation today and was very anxious about it due to historical hair trauma. Eleanor was kind, knowledgeable and informative. I did not feel judged for the condition of my hair and was given realistic expectations and simple steps to manage my hair issues. Would highly recommend! Will be back for a treatment
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