Know much about gardening? No, me neither. From speaking to keen gardeners, however, I do know the importance they place on good soil. It’s the soil, after all, that supplies nutrients, oxygen, moisture and root support to help plants grow. It’s the soil that determines whether plants grow and flourish or wither and die. Just like the plants, our hair depends upon a healthy base for its nutrients, oxygen, moisture and root support. That base is our scalp, yet we pay it much less attention than it deserves or needs.
This article will shine a light on that important but neglected part of our head. We will look at the rise of scalp serum, a product that could be as important to your scalp as fertilizer is to soil.
Okay, no more gardening references, I promise!
Most of us have experienced scalp problems at one time or another. These come in many different forms; dandruff, irritation, dryness, oiliness, itchiness, product build-up, pimples, redness – the list goes on. Most of these afflictions can be dealt with using over-the-counter remedies from the pharmacist or haircare shelves in shops. Only if they’re particularly severe do you need to seek advice from a dermatologist or doctor.
Yet even a mild scalp condition can have implications for your hair. That’s because the symptoms you experience are an indication that something is going on above and below the surface of your scalp. It’s an indication that the scalp’s microbiome is unbalanced.
What is the Scalp’s Microbiome?
A microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that are found grouped in a particular place. The scalp’s microbiome consists of a range of bacteria, fungi and viruses. It extends into the dermis and provides the nutrients necessary to sustain healthy hair growth.
Academic interest in the scalp microbiome is only just surfacing, so proper research on the subject is thin on the ground, but there is some evidence to suggest that the scalp microbiome ecosystem regulates and affects some functions of the scalp. When it’s properly balanced, it protects your hair by preventing breakage and supporting new growth. It determines whether your hair is lacklustre or shining with health and vitality.
Your hair, in short, depends on this microbiome maintaining its equilibrium. Any imbalance is likely to have negative consequences for your hair including hair thinning and hair loss; some forms of alopecia are thought to stem from the scalp microbiome being off-kilter.
What Causes Imbalances in the Microbiome?
Threats to your scalp’s microbiome come from all directions. It can be affected by hormonal changes in your body, your choice of foods, your lifestyle and, not least, the environment in which you live. Research presented to the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Congress in October 2019 demonstrated that scalp cells exposed to air pollutants arising from fossil fuel use lose some of the proteins responsible for hair growth and retention.
Some hair professionals recommend that you combat the effect of air pollution on your tresses by washing your hair more often. The problem with this approach is that most hair products aren’t designed with the scalp microbiome in mind, so their full impact on it remains unknown. It could even be the case that conditions like alopecia are being stimulated or exacerbated by the shampoos and conditioners that you use every day.
It’s for that reason you should think about including scalp serums in your haircare routine. Scalp serums, like their skincare counterparts, can perform a number of different functions. Containing concentrated active ingredients, they tackle specific concerns such as dryness, hair thinning and irritation. If your scalp is dry and itchy, therefore, consider using a serum with a hydrating and moisturizing effect. A serum like this will, typically, contain ingredients like aloe vera, Vitamin E and witch hazel to soothe and hydrate an irritated scalp.
The serums aimed at those experiencing hair loss or thinning work by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha reductase which is known to release dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is DHT that causes hair loss. These serums also provide the scalp with nutrients, improve blood flow and clear the scalp of debris that can inhibit the growth of new hair.
It’s an often-neglected fact, but the health of your scalp is vital to having thick, healthy hair. A chronic scalp infection or condition is not only uncomfortable and unpleasant, but it can also interfere with your hair’s growth cycle and cause hair loss. Hopefully, this article has highlighted the importance of looking after your scalp microbiome and the role of serums in helping with that.
If you have concerns about the condition of your hair, the earlier you address these the better. Vinci Hair Clinic is here if you need advice or treatment. We offer all our new clients a free, no-obligation consultation. It’s a great opportunity to get your questions answered. Get in touch with us and book your appointment today!