Sunday, 15 March 2020 22:33

Underneath It All: Taking Scalp Exfoliation Back to Its Roots

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Why do skin care professionals go the extra mile for skin but not for the scalp? The scalp, after all, is an extension of the skin. Skin care professionals are the first ones to educate clients on the importance of exfoliating and removing dead cells and that cleansing the face is not the same as exfoliating – just like shampooing is not the same as exfoliating. So, let’s start applying this concept to the scalp.


Let’s go back to basics and observe the similarity between the scalp and skin and the essential truth that the scalp really is an extension of skin. The difference is made by the thickness of the hair that grows on it. Scalp is skin, so it witnesses the same process of cell renewal and pigmentation and is affected by the same factors that affect the health and beauty of skin.


The number one reason to exfoliate the scalp is the cell renewal process of the scalp – involving that there are dead skin cells present. An imbalance in scalp cell renewal can lead to dandruff or flakes.


Also, the scalp is subject to both internal and external pollution: because a hair follicle is always attached to a sebaceous gland, scalps can be subject to hyperseborrhea. On top of the overproduction of sebum, pollutants (microparticles, dust, and chemicals) accumulate more on the scalp, and pro-inflammatory yeasts may over-proliferate, which can lead to scalp irritation and suffocation, damaging the skin barrier and possibly causing inflammation through the transcutaneous penetration of these pollutants. This accumulation also comes from clogging the pores and preventing optimal penetration of beneficial hair active ingredients into the hair follicle.


It is, therefore, essential to exfoliate the scalp, as to recover a balanced and healthy scalp, as well as allowing further treatments to better penetrate in the hair follicle, where the hair is produced, for a long-term stronger and revitalized hair. Healthy scalp equals healthy hair.


Brands have become very creative at offering a variety of textures and complementary benefits.


A mechanical scrub with natural beads is widely spread, but not the only form of scalp exfoliation. Some clients might prefer to explore an acid-based (salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acid) liquid solution, absorbing powders, foam, or both scrub and foam. Some products are even formulated for both scalp and body. Most scalp exfoliants combine with the exfoliating benefits of either a purifying or soothing action, according to concern. The scalp exfoliation is usually followed by shampoo.


New needs mean new opportunities. Start thinking about how to incorporate this new service in spa services. And, if not in the treatment room, this still opens the door to massive retail potential.

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February 2024

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