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Caring For Your Scalp

The scalp basically refers to that patch of skin on the top of the head and is bordered by the face at the front and at the back by the neck. The scalp is also the area of the head densely covered by hair, except in individuals where excessive hair loss has occurred. The following mnemonic is usually used to indicate the different parts of the scalp:

S – The Skin on the head which, externally, is seen as the scalp. This is also the surface from which hair growth is visible.

C – The Connective tissue layer is located directly beneath the skin and consists of a layer of fat and tissue.

A – The Aponeurosis is a dense layer of fibrous tissue that binds the superficial layers. Damage to this layer often produces what appears as a gaping wound.

L – The Loose connective tissue separates the upper three layers from the pericranium. This layer is also known as the ‘Danger Zone’ due to the ease with which foreign or toxic elements are transported to the layer below.

P – The Pericranium is a membrane that lines the skull bone and provides the aforementioned bone with the ability to repair as well as nutrition.

Although not always visible beneath the hair, the scalp should be treated with the respect and care that one would associate with normally exposed skin such as that on the face, feet and hands. This means that if any of the following symptoms are encountered, it would be advisable to seek medical attention:

  1. Scalp Irritation – This can be caused by a number of things some of which may include, head lice, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and contact dermatitis.
  2. Dry Scalp – This condition refers to a lack of sebum produced by the sebaceous gland. It is this sebum that gives hair its natural shine.
  3. Swelling – Scalp swelling can be attributed to an allergic reaction due to the use of wrong hair care products or, more seriously, internal complications. If you are experiencing scalp swelling, it would be best to contact your local physician immediately.
  4. Burning – A burning or painful sensation experienced on the scalp could be attributed to trichodynia. Unfortunately not much is known about trichodynia, but theories suggest that it refers to sensitivity within the hair follicles. An additional possible cause for burning sensations or discomfort of the scalp includes abnormal thyroid behaviour.

Although the above represent only a fraction of the possible conditions which the scalp may be subjected to, they do represent some of the more common problems. Since the scalp is so close to the brain, it will always be advised to seek medical attention should any abnormalities be observed. The following tips are there to aid in the general health and condition of the scalp which may in turn be beneficial to hair growth.

  1. Increase blood circulation within the scalp by opting for a scalp massage. This is both relaxing and promotes shiny hair.
  2. Avoid chemicals by always checking what’s in your shampoo and cutting down on coloring and bleaching.
  3. Get enough of the right nutrients to ensure that both your scalp and your hair remain in prime condition.