Scalp health is vital to hair growth. It’s as simple as that. The reasons, though, are a bit more complex. Here, Dr. Palm breaks down the signs our scalps give us that say they are either healthy or not-so-healthy. And if yours is saying the latter, not to worry – she also offers tips on reviving the often forgotten area.
Our scalps supply the network of blood vessels that nourish the base of the hair bulb, allowing it to grow with the proper nutrition, oxygenation, and removal of toxic byproducts. When one of these necessities is interrupted, hair can be greatly affected. The result can be hair loss, sudden shedding, loss of hair density and even changes in hair architecture such as decreased hair strand width, sudden brittle hair or even a change in color.
Are you having one or more of these symptoms? If so, I’m sure you’re wondering how can you know if your scalp’s health is the reason? Well, according to Dr. Palm, it really depends on the underlying cause of the symptoms. Non-scarring inflammatory conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis (or inflammatory dandruff) can cause redness, flaking, scaling, itching, tenderness, and rashes. In some rare cases, acne-like lesions may result. Or, another reason could be an external exposure to a noxious substance, such as a hair dye someone is allergic to, which can cause redness, swelling, itching, hives, scaling, oozing, bleeding and in very rare cases, a systemic-wide body response called anaphylaxis.
Some extreme unhealthy scalp conditions can lead to scarring alopecia, which is a permanent form of hair loss. In these instances, areas with previous hair can become inflamed, particularly around hair follicles and the hair strand width becomes very small, like peach fuzz. In extreme cases, the affected areas of the scalp can be scarred and completely devoid of hair. Some causes of this condition include forms of lupus and centrifugal cicatricial alopecia. Unfortunately, Dr. Palm says for some of these conditions, effective treatment can be elusive.
Signs of a Healthy Scalp