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More Scalp Care Tips for Men – Healthy Looking Hair Starts with a Healthy Scalp
The key to maintaining a healthily looking head of hair starts where the hair begins — the scalp. If your scalp isn’t healthy, then you can’t expect your hair to look healthy either. Properly caring for your scalp (which has issues that are uniquely different from the skin on other parts of the body) will help you prevent many common scalp problems and give your hair a healthier looking appearance.
Choose the Right Shampoo
Of course, it’s a given that most guys shampoo on a daily basis — I encourage it. Unless you have a completely normal scalp, it’s important to pick a shampoo and conditioner that’s best for your hair type. There are all sorts of specialty shampoos on the market that target problems such as dry hair, oily hair, and dandruff.
If you’ve got a problem, try to address it by using a proper shampoo. I recommend finding an acid based (rather than an alkaline based) shampoo with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5.
Wash and Rinse with Cooler Water
Most of us guys tend to shower in water that is much too hot, which strips the essential oils and moisture from the scalp and hair. This can lead to dry hair and scalp. Shampooing and rinsing with water that is cool or lukewarm is a much better option. It may not feel as good, but your skin will thank you for it.
Lay Off Chemicals and Product
Many guys experiment with chemical processes such as coloring the hair or relaxing the hair. The problem is that the chemicals used to modify the hair’s natural state can be rough on the scalp and excessive chemical treatments can lead to damage. I also recommend using as little styling product as possible — styling product can build up on the scalp and clog pores. Avoid products with alcohol which tend to dry the hair and scalp. Here’s my rule of thumb: work with your barber or stylist to create a hairstyle that works with your hair’s natural state — one that looks great even before you’ve applied any product.
A better haircut will allow you to look good while minimizing the use of a product. If you do decide to color, keep it subtle with some natural highlights done using a technique which keeps the chemicals off of the scalp.
Ditch the Hat
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wearing a hat — especially if it prevents exposing your scalp to the sun. Many guys make the mistake of wearing hats that are too tight and wearing them too often. A hat that is very tight can impede the blood circulation to the scalp and be wearing one too tight and too often (especially a dirty ball cap) can cause breakage and trap dirt and oils on the scalp. Ditching the hat is also the easiest way to prevent the dreaded hat hair.
Recognize and Combat Scalp Problems
There are tons of such as seborrheic dermatitis, scalp acne, dandruff, dry hair and scalp, and scalp psoriasis. Knowing how to spot and treat these problems, if you have any of them, is critical to a healthy scalp. Left untreated, some scalp problems can cause permanent damage.
Maintaining a great looking head of hair not only requires a great haircut and proper styling, but it also requires you to think about your scalp health (and overall health). Think of the scalp as the soil from which hair grows. To get a healthy crop, you’ve got to have good soil. Healthy looking hair starts with a healthy scalp.
Protect Your Scalp from the Sun – Keeping Your Head Healthy While Having Fun Outside
When applying sun protection, one of the most overlooked areas is the scalp — particularly the crown area. Unfortunately, the scalp is especially susceptible to skin cancer. Almost every day, I see guys in our barbershop who have had to have skin cancers cut out of their scalps. With a little consistent planning, it’s relatively easy to protect your scalp from the sun. Here are a few easy ways.
Buy a Cap. A simple ball cap is the single best way to protect your scalp from the sun. Wear one every time you’re going to be in the sun for more than a few minutes. Remember to make sure the cap covers the top of your head! A visor will do absolutely nothing to protect your scalp from the sun. Golfers, are you listening?!
Use Sunscreen. A spray-in sunscreen is handy for hitting those thin spots at the crown (anywhere on the head where you can see scalp). There are several sprays on the market, but my favorite is HeadBlade’s HeadLube SPF 30 — it’s non-greasy and doesn’t smell like a coconut. I just spray a few pumps on the thin spots and rub it in a little. This actually doubles as my styling product when I’m in the sun without a hat.
If you do burn your head, you’ll need to treat your sunburned scalp. Gently shampoo your hair and apply a bit of moisturizer to your scalp. Ibuprofen can help ease the pain (make sure your doctor says it’s okay for your to use Ibuprofen). Avoid blow-drying, hard combs or brushes, and don’t use products that contain alcohol — these will all make the drying and peeling worse. If your scalp does peel (and it likely will), don’t panic — it’s not dandruff. Avoid picking at the scalp to reduce the risk of infection.
Now, go have some safe fun in the sun!
How to Treat Scalp Sunburn
So, you didn’t properly protect your scalp from the sun and spent a bit too much time outdoors. Ouch. Now it’s time to treat that scalp sunburn.
The first thing to remember is to be gentle with your scalp when brushing and washing. Use a soft bristle brush when styling (or style with your fingers) and use only fingertips when gently shampooing your hair. This will help keep you from scratching your scalp which could slow the healing process.
For after sun exposure, I really like Redken Uv Rescue After Sun Shampoo to help add moisture while removing chlorine and minerals from the hair.
It’s also important to avoid styling products which contain alcohol as these will dry the scalp. To replenish moisture, a good moisturizing conditioner and an aloe vera spray (such as Banana Boat Aloe After Sun Spray Gel) will help soothe and moisturize.
I like the spray because you can apply it after you’ve styled your hair — it can also serve as your styling product for a few days until the burn has passed. To treat the pain a few ibuprofen should do the trick (check with your doctor before taking any medications).
Eventually, your sunburned scalp may start to peel. During this stage, don’t scrub or pick at your scalp as this can lead to damage and infection. Just wait it out. Your scalp may look unsightly for a few days, so it may be a good idea to wear a hat to cover it up.
Enjoy your time in the sun. Just be sure to protect your scalp from the sun.