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How to Exfoliate Your Scalp and Why You Should Start

Scalp exfoliation may help encourage hair growth and may help add a healthy sheen to your locks. If you want to learn how to properly exfoliate your scalp and find out why you should start doing it, keep scrolling.

Read on

So you’ve been around the skincare block and you know that skin exfoliation is the foundation for gorgeous, healthy skin.

Not surprisingly, the skin on your scalp requires some TLC too. While scalp exfoliating is not a one-size-fits-all situation, it can be adopted by most people. Scalp exfoliation may help encourage hair growth and may help add a healthy sheen to your locks.

If you want to learn how to properly exfoliate your scalp and find out why you should start doing it, keep scrolling.

What is scalp exfoliation?

You can think of scalp exfoliation as part skincare treatment part scalp massage.

Exfoliation is the process of removing old skin cells, dirt, oil, and product build-up. Exfoliation of the face gently sloughs off the old skin cells. This is true when you exfoliate the scalp as well.

Scalp exfoliation is often done by physical exfoliation or chemical exfoliation.

It’s important to note that this exfoliation should be gentle because your scalp is sensitive and doesn’t require rough scrubbing (same with your face).

Why should you exfoliate your scalp?

As with facial skin, the scalp secretes a waxy oil called sebum. While this oil is perfectly healthy and serves an important purpose, a build-up or overproduction of oil can cause some issues (enter scalp exfoliation).

Besides sebum, you can also have a build-up of dead skin cells, dirt, and hair product build-up. By giving your scalp some direct TLC you’re removing this build-up allowing your scalp to be the healthiest it can be.

Having a build-up on your scalp can actually lead to scalp irritation or inflammation. So, just like with all the skin on our body, it should be exfoliated every once in a while to keep it in tip-top shape. Scalp exfoliation may be especially good for those with:

  • Dandruff
  • Oily hair
  • Dry skin

Scalp exfoliation is also very similar to a scalp massage which has been shown to encourage hair growth.

So if thickening up your locks is one of your hair goals -- a scalp exfoliation routine is a hole in one.

Is scalp exfoliation good for everyone?

It’s important to note that while scalp exfoliation is a generally good practice for most, it is not recommended for those with skin conditions of the scalp.

Those with the following conditions should skip scalp exfoliation or check with your doctor before trying:

  • Psoriasis
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Those with open scalp wounds
  • An active infection
  • A generally irritated scalp  

Scrubbing the scalp with these scalp conditions could potentially aggravate current scalp conditions. While those with dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) can find some relief via scalp exfoliation, it’s best to consult with a dermatologist about the root issue rather than only treating symptoms.

Dandruff is generally caused by an internal imbalance or something your scalp is reacting to, so scalp exfoliation is not a dandruff treatment.

4 tips on how to exfoliate your scalp

Here’s the rub: exfoliating your scalp is very similar to exfoliating other parts of your body.

#1 Products can be store-bought or homemade

You can exfoliate your scalp by using specifically formulated scalp scrubs, or chemical exfoliant scalp products. For all you DIY folks, you can also try out simple DIY scalp scrubs that you can whip up in your kitchen.  

#2 Start with a longer shampoo and focus on your scalp only

If you just want to start small, when you’re shampooing your scalp, just spend a little bit longer than usual massaging your scalp with the pads of your fingertips. For some, this is will be all that is necessary.

#3 Always be gentle

No matter if you use a store-bought or homemade scrub always remember to be gentle with your scalp. Your scalp is comprised of sensitive skin and doesn’t require a rough and tumble approach.

#4 Exfoliate no more than twice a month

It is not recommended to exfoliate your scalp too often as constant scalp stripping can be damaging and cause issues. (Same goes for facial exfoliation.)

How to apply a scalp scrub

  • Start by combing out your hair and section off some parts to reveal your scalp in various areas.
  • Apply the scrub to your scalp with your fingertips and gently rub in circular motions.
  • For those of you who have an itchy scalp, resist the urge to use your fingernails or rub for too long in one area. Being gentle is the key.
  • Wash out your hair as normal.

If you’re interested in scalp exfoliation for the hair growth

Scalp exfoliation and massage are both great for stimulating hair growth.

We go into depth about this in our scalp massage for hair growth article. If you’re experiencing hair loss and want to find solutions, is here to help.

We treat hair loss online with validated ingredients like Minoxidil and Finasteride.

To see if our unique treatments can help aid your hair growth efforts, start by completing a free online questionnaire-based doctor’s consultation.  

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