My favorite subject! I did promise you a bit of this last time. Just a little bit. It is  important to understand what the structure of your hair and scalp is in addition to all the other hair characteristics. I will try not to make it too science-y or boring.

The scalp is very specialized skin containing a concentrated amount of hair follicles (indentations in the outer layer from which the hair shaft grows, aka the root), a unique evolution of skin. Our scalp contains more than 100 K of them on average! The base of the follicle is also known as the bulb of the hair. The replication of cells here is responsible for the formation of the hair strand; once it leaves the bulb and becomes keratinized – filled with keratin protein filaments, and it is no longer living tissue.

Adjacent to the follicle is the sebaceous gland which produces sebum, the hair’s natural oil.


The shape of your follicle determines what your hair texture is going to look like; kinky curly hair grows out of elliptical or oval shaped follicles; straight hair from round-shaped follicles. The follicle is also the origin of hair color, the bulb contains melanin, the pigment that gives hair its color.

A healthy scalp is essential for healthy hair growth. Makes sense, right? A healthy scalp is free from: itchiness, redness, flakiness, irritation, pain, acne, cysts, sores, bumps, excessive oilyness, sun damage and excessive hair loss.  Excessive stress, a poor diet, hormone shifts, not cleansing your scalp enough, or too much, and using the wrong products are all causes of an itchy, flaky, or irritated scalp. These are the most common causes, and not too difficult to remedy.


The hair products we use combined with the hair’s natural sebum can buildup and clog the follicle, much like clogged pores due to acne, leading to unhealthy, fragile, hair growing from an unhealthy follicle. How often to cleanse? Start with once weekly. Some curly folks may need to shampoo twice weekly. Use the right shampoo, that will cleanse without stripping the hair shaft, like our Invigorating Shampoo that contains powerful natural surfactants and moisturizing agents.  shampoos that contain sulfates strip the hair’s natural sebum completely, leading an overly dry itchy scalp. You can get the same effect by shampooing too often. And watch the water temperature! Cleansing with too hot water can dry the scalp, so go for warm water. Massaging the scalp gently with the fingertips (but not long sharp nails! Too harsh) when you shampoo, or a gentle scalp exfoliating brush.



A healthy diet – not hard to fix. Remember, your hair and scalp is a part of your body, not separate from it, and everything needs to be in harmony for healthy hair. The antioxidants found most generously in fruits, and other nutrients and healthy protein from sources like salmon and eggs are especially helpful for hair growth (spoiler alert – for next time, best diets for healthy hair) Keeping stress under control, exercising regularly and of course lots of water will help keep that scalp healthy.

If you’ve made your hair care routine and overall health as clean and fit as possible, then its time to consider other causes of an unhealthy scalp, from dandruff to skin diseases like psoriasis and systemic diseases like thyroid disease. Time to see a doctor like myself to help figure out what else is going on.



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Until next time, be safe and well.
Dr. Ena


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