An unhealthy scalp causes several issues. Initially, these issues lead to clogged/distressed pores.
However, once your pores are clogged/distressed, expect a wide variety of problems such as dandruff, itchiness, flakiness and excessive shedding to follow.
Over time, if these issues aren’t rectified, they will lead to hair loss. So, which scalp conditions can lead to hair loss if left unchecked?
Some of them are common knowledge but some of them are not so obvious. Below are 8 of the most common practices that lead to an unhealthy scalp:-
8 Hair Care Practices That Lead to Unhealthy Scalp Conditions
1. Hair Products With Unhealthy Ingredients
If you’re on this site then you already know relaxers cause health issues including hair loss. Relaxers break down the chemical bonds of curly hair in order to straighten them.
An insane amount of shedding and brekage after relaxing is one of the reasons I went natural myself.
Additionally, other products such as SLS shampoos strip your scalp of natural oils leaving it open to several issues.
Only use a sulphate shampoo if your intention is to clarify your scalp and ensure you replenish the oil and moisture by the time you’re through with your regimen for the day.
Related Content: 22 Clarifying Shampoos That Work Without Damaging Hair
Apart from relaxers and SLS shampoos, other chemical treatments such as BKT treatments and thermal hair straightening promote unhealthy scalp conditions that will lead to hair loss in the long run.
2. Scratching Scalp
Part of the side effect of using chemical products with unhealthy ingredients is a dry and itchy scalp. When you’re shampooing and deep conditioning, the dryness encourages severe scratching with nails which is a big no-no.
Your nails will irritate your scalp especially if you have a sensitive scalp and lead to even more itchiness. Always use only your fingertips when massaging products into your scalp.
You may also want to incorporate a scalp massage brush into your hair care regimen. Read Best Scalp Massage Brush for Healthy & Natural Hair Growth.
Additionally, if you have irritated your scalp via scratching or combing, do not apply any chemical treatments to your hair.
3. Suffocating Your Scalp
Suffocating your scalp involves applying excessive amounts of products to your scalp and layering each application over the last one without clarifying your hair and scalp.
Not every product is meant to touch your scalp. There are also some products that can touch your scalp but are not meant to be left in over a few days.
Suffocating your scalp with products like leave-in conditioners, oils, ointments, etc will suffocate your scalp over time. These products should be applied in moderation and should be removed with a mild shampoo once you start feeling a filmy layer on your scalp.
4. Erratic Diet
A drastic change from the diet your body is used to can lead to an unhealthy scalp. For example, people switching to the keto diet have mentioned they experienced severe hair loss.
Introduce any changes to your diet gradually especially if you plan to eliminate an entire food group due to a lifestyle change.
5. Products with High pH
Using products with overly high pH will make your scalp go berserk. Chemical products like relaxers and BKT treatments contain overly high pH for instance.
Always test the pH of your hair products before applying them especially the last product you use as its important it closes your cuticles. A good balance is between 4.5 – 5.5.
If you use a high pH product because you’re practising a regimen like the Max Hydration Method for instance, always ensure the leave in you close your cuticles with falls between 4.5 – 5.5.
You can easily check the pH balance of your products with test strips like this one.
Related Content: How to Modify the Max Hydration Method
6. Extreme Heat
Extreme heat is another thing that will make your scalp go berserk in addition to giving you a hell of a headache.
Excessive heat will suck out all the moisture on your scalp and dry out your scalp. What kind of heat classifies as excessive?
The kind of heat used with Dominican blowouts for one. Blowing out or flat ironing every day or several times a week would also classify as excessive.
If you must use heat, direct it away from your scalp as much as possible and use it on low settings. Alternatively, you can try the method recommended in How to Achieve a Silky & Smooth Blowout on Natural Hair Without Damage.
7. Over Wetting Scalp
Yes, moisture is good for natural hair and natural hair loves water. However, the scalp doesn’t respond favorably to as much water as your hair especially if you live in a humid area.
The combination of warmth and dampness on your scalp can encourage the growth of fungus. Constantly going to bed with wet hair can also encourage the growth of fungus.
Does this mean you should never let water touch your scalp? No. However, it should not be excessive. The following tips are a good guide:-
- Try not to go to bed with wet hair as much as possible such as leaving deep conditioning treatments in your hair overnight.
- Use a good microfiber towel to avoid agitating your hair’s cuticle unnecessarily.
- If you wear your hair in a style that will be unravelled the next morning, squeeze out the excess water from your hair before styling.
8. Scalp Infections and Disorders
One or more of the hair care practices above encourage a scalp area for the following scalp infections and disorders to thrive:-
- Painful sores and blisters
Left unchecked and untreated, these conditions will eventually lead to hair loss over time.
Pay attention to your scalp especially at the back of your head, which you can’t easily see. Use a selfie stick to get a picture of the back of your head if you must. A healthy and balanced scalp is necessary for healthy and long hair.
Abi delved into the world of hair care after suffering from a bout of severe hair loss. She is the founder of Healthy Natural Hair Products & Natural Oils for Hair and Health, as well as the writer of the Healthy Hair Care Series. She is also the creator of the The Self-Empowerment Network Portal. Read more…