How to Get a Healthy Scalp, According to Experts

Say it with us—healthy scalp equals healthy hair.

Prioritizing your scalp in your hair care routine will do wonders for your hair health. A healthy scalp is the solution for stronger, smoother, and fuller-looking hair. However, considering the scalp can experience a long list of skincare woes that are dependent on a wide range of factors, such as your environment and genetics, achieving a healthy scalp can feel tricky.

Luckily, even if you're someone who suffers from dry scalp, scalp acne, or dandruff, experts say it's possible to give your scalp the reset it needs. But what does a healthy scalp even look like? We turned to hair experts, including a certified trichologist, to find out.

What are the signs of a healthy scalp?

"A healthy scalp is pink in tone, well hydrated, smooth, and free of flakes and any redness," says Abe Ayesh, a hair specialist and CEO of Eternal Hair & Esthetics, a clinic that specializes in hair restoration and aesthetic procedures. "When brushing your hair, there also shouldn't be any pain or flakes."

An unhealthy scalp can show up as skin concerns on the scalp or issues with your hair. "An unhealthy scalp shows hair loss, hair breakage, dandruff, redness, pain, acne, cysts, and itching," says Ayesh. Penny James, a certified trichologist and founder of Penny James Salon, says there are a lot of factors that can contribute to an unhealthy scalp. Hormonal imbalances, poor diet, genetics, stress, and even changes in prescription medication can all impact the look and feel of hair and scalp.

How to get a healthy scalp?

If you're experiencing an unhealthy scalp, James says you can restore it by washing your hair regularly, using a scalp treatment, using heat styling tools in moderation, and even applying SPF. "I tell all my clients to apply a spray SPF onto their scalps if they are going to be out in the sun all day," she says. "UV rays penetrate deep into the dermis, and if you have thinning hair on the crown area, your skin is very susceptible to getting burned, and getting skin cancer in worst-case scenarios."

James and Ayesh also recommend avoiding harsh chemicals in your hair care products. "We also instruct patients to pay attention to the products they're using and switching to sulfate-free, paraben-free, alcohol-free products, which can have a significant impact on your scalp health," says Ayesh.

Ultimately, switching to gentle formulas, avoiding heat styling as much as possible, and giving your scalp TLC in the form of scalp treatments, such as exfoliation and applying SPF, can help give your scalp the reset it needs. However, if you find yourself with a chronic scalp issue, it's best to schedule an appointment with a trichologist or dermatologist to help determine the causes of those concerns and discover the right treatment plan for you.

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