We have all dealt with a tough season that left our scalps flaking and our hair dull. While the environment has an effect on this, it is also just another change brought by the joy of aging. Your scalp is softened by the oils produced by sebaceous glands, which become most active during puberty, over-producing oil and often triggering the onset of teenage acne and dandruff. However, as we age these glands tend to produce less, which cause itchy dry sections.
From OpenStax College
Why does this happen?
Oil protects the scalp and prevents water loss (dehydration) from the scalp. With age, oil production will decrease and the layers of skin will become dehydrated and flakey. There tends to be a lack of proper sebum distribution around your 40’s due to fluctuating hormones. Dry scalp will also cause hair to grow slowly, with the follicle lacking the moisture to help disperse nutrients and lubricate the hair to go through the skin.
Sebum is also responsible for shiny hair and is typically dispensed mechanically, like when you brush your hair, have contact with pillows during sleep, or when the hair clumps together. Because there is not enough sebum produced in the 40’s, the hair will begin to appear duller and will need assistance from other hair products. Washing your hair too frequently or using stronger detergents in shampoos will make the lack of sebum worse. If you are using a shampoo with a strong cleansers like sodium lauryl sulfate, you can dilute the shampoo with water before use.
TIP: Diluting the product can disrupt the anti-microbial environment so only dilute a small portion at a time in a travel size bottle.
The effectiveness of oil distribution depends on the type of hair. Fine and thin hair tends to clump together but will absorb more sebum for the most efficient disbursement throughout the hair. Curly and coarse hair is more likely to inhibit oil distribution, and may need moisturizing products to help keep hair shiny and bouncy.
Tips and recommendations
The best ways to prevent dry scalp is to use scalp massagers and styling products that contain oils. Scalp massage can help remove flakes and build up, freeing the sebaceous glands to disperse sebum effectively, while added oil products help supplement the natural decrease in production. As tempting as it may be, adding oil products directly to the scalp and roots can actually cause more dry symptoms, typically it will act as an immediate fix that causes problems later on. It is best to add the styling products to the ends of hair, which will have the least amount of natural dispersion. Here are some recommended products available in the Virtual Product Aisle.
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