You probably don’t think too much about your scalp. Why would you? It’s hidden 100% of the time (if you still have hair) and women don’t go around saying “you have such a great scalp.”
You should, however, care a lot about your scalp. It’s the root cause of all your hair greatness and failures. Let’s discuss how your scalp affects your hair.
First off, it's important to understand what your hair is and how it grows. Your hair grows out of little holes in your head called follicles.
The part of the hair inside the follicle (below the skin's surface) is known as the hair root. The part of your hair you see protruding from the head is called the hair shaft.
At the base of the hair root, there is a little hair bulb where nutrients are received from the blood stream and stored. This is where new hair cells are generated.
At the base of the hair follicle is a cone shaped area called the dermal papilla that sends blood and nutrients to the hair bulb. There's also the sebaceous gland (or sebum oil gland) which sends lubrication throughout the hair strand to keep it healthy and shiny.
Taking nutrients from the dermal papilla, the hair bulb generates new hair cells. As these cells move up through the hair root, they mature through a process called keratinization, filling with fibrous protein and losing their nucleus.
When the cell loses its nucleus, it is no longer alive. By the time the hair emerges from the skin it is merely fiber made of keratinized proteins. In other words, your hair is basically just a bunch of dead cells made of protein. In fact, your hair is approximately 91 percent protein.
So if we all have basic hair follicles, then why are there so many different hair types? The reason is because a follicle’s shape and size determines our hair’s texture and type.
It's not about the overall thickness of your hair, which is the result of the size of our follicles and how many of them we have on our head. Large follicles create thick hair, while small follicles create thin hair. On average, we have about 100,000 hair follicles on our head.
Note: There's no way to create more follicles. It’s simply genetics, so don't believe any product that promises to produce thicker hair.
Hair texture, on the other hand, depends on follicle shape, which determines whether someone has curly hair, straight hair, or anything in between.
Follicles that are round create straight hair, while oval follicles create curly hair. The more oval a hair follicle is, the curlier it becomes. Those of Anglo descent have more circular follicles, while those of African descent have much more flat follicles.
So, depending on how many hair follicles you have on your head and the shape of those follicles, you get your hair density and texture.
Got it? Okay, let's move on to the scalp.
Now that we understand follicles and the hair, we can talk about the scalp more specifically. Remember this equation: a healthy scalp = healthy hair.
The scalp is responsible for maintaining the health of your hair follicles and the hair that grows out of them. Keeping follicles as healthy as possible ensures strong hair growth and strands. Follow these steps for a healthy scalp and hair:
I rarely see guys who eat like crap, smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day, and drink like a fish have great hair. The condition of your hair is often a reflection of your overall health. Eat well, exercise, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and reduce stress in your life. Living well and staying healthy will result in a healthier scalp and thus, better hair.
Keep it Cool
Nothing feels better than a steaming hot shower. However, hot showers strip your hair and scalp of the essential oils it needs to be healthy and promote hair growth. Lower the temperature of your showers for better hair.
Scalp massage helps promote blood flow to the scalp, promoting hair growth. They also feel amazing.
Don’t Be a Tool
Don't use a brush on wet hair, when the hair is most vulnerable to breaking. When combing through wet hair, use a wide-toothed comb. Also, avoid blow dryers as they quickly dry out the hair, causing damage.
Become a Silver Fox
Repeatedly coloring your hair will cause permanent damage to your follicles. If you do color your hair, do it as infrequently as possible and try more natural solutions.
Use Products With These Ingredients:
- Aloe – The ultimate moisturizer that not only plumps up hair, it moisturizes and provides nutrients to the scalp which creates the perfect environment for hair growth.
- Tea Tree – In addition to its amazing anti-septic properties that stimulates the scalp, helps dissolve dandruff flakes naturally.
What Causes Dandruff
Some guys don’t have it, while others think it’s a curse. About 50% of men in their twenties have dandruff, while 2/3 of all people “suffer” from dandruff at one point in their lives. Dandruff typically shows up as white, flakes that scatter on the skin and sometimes your neck and shirts. These flakes are dead skin cells that have been shed from your scalp.
This fungus is naturally occurring; in fact every human being has this little fungus on their skin. The problem starts when the fungus grows too quickly, and our natural cell regeneration is disturbed.
This rapid growth causes skin cells to regenerate too fast. Fast growing skin cells have the nasty habit of bonding with oil on the surface of your scalp, resulting in these unfriendly white flakes.
How do you stop this fungus from growing so quickly? To answer that, let’s look at the leading reason it happens. Your scalp and hair have a natural oil balance that is disturbed every time you take a shower.
See also: Men's Hair Care Basics
Most shampoos completely strip your hair and scalp of its natural oils and destroy this balance. This causes a need for conditioners and styling products, which act as substitutes for the oils that were stripped from your hair while shampooing.
After washing your hair, your body goes in to overdrive producing sebum oil rapidly to restore its natural balance. As your hair becomes too oily, too fast, the malassezia globosa fungus starts to create dandruff.
This is the reason using a natural shampoo for men is imperative, as it won’t strip these away these oils because they don’t contain many of the harsh chemicals used to “cleanse” the hair.
Here's the bottom line: limit how often you wash your hair, and when you do, use natural shampoos and conditioners that don’t contain harsh cleansers.