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Home » Dermatology » Why you shouldn’t take an ‘out of sight’ approach to your scalp health

Dr Sharon Wong

Consultant Dermatologist

Don’t neglect the health of your scalp, says Consultant Dermatologist Dr Sharon Wong. You should treat it with the seriousness that you treat the rest of your skincare routine.

More of us realise the importance of skin health these days. Yet, it’s easy to neglect the skin on our scalp. “There’s been an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach to scalp health,” insists Dr Sharon Wong, Consultant Dermatologist. “But I think that’s changing, and it should because — just like the rest of our skin — the scalp can be affected by skin ageing, sun damage and skin cancer. Plus, scalp health governs hair health.”

Factors causing scalp health disruption

‘External aggressors’ — including extreme heat and cold, environmental pollution and oily and waxy hair styling products — can disrupt the harmony of the scalp microbiome (ecosystem of microorganisms that naturally live on the scalp). Skin can become dry, itchy and flaky. “Internal aggressors, such as hormonal changes and stress, can also affect scalp health,” says Dr Wong.

The most common scalp condition that Dr Wong sees in her clinic is seborrheic dermatitis, a form of scalp eczema which, at the mild end of the spectrum, presents as visible flakes of dandruff. “Patients tend to have the moderate and severe form where the skin is inflamed and uncomfortable,” she says. “Symptoms include itching, burning or disconcerting crawling sensations. It can disturb sleep and focus. In extreme cases, patients can feel extremely self-conscious and experience a level of social withdrawal.”

If you’re concerned that you have
a scalp health issue, your first port
of call should be your GP.

Making scalp health part of regular skincare routine

Alongside medical treatments, Dr Wong may suggest cosmetic products, such as Dercos Anti-Dandruff Shampoo by Vichy, which is recommended by dermatologists. “The ingredient selenium disulfide can reduce the amount of yeast on the scalp while salicylic acid has a descaling property,” she says. “What a lot of people don’t realise is that common conditions like dandruff come and go. So, even when you’re flake-free, you should continue with maintenance to try and prevent relapsing.”

“If you’re concerned that you have a scalp health issue, your first port of call should be your GP,” says Dr Wong. “If your condition worsens or you still experience symptoms, see a dermatologist.”

Holistic hair skinification approach

Plus, take a tip from health-aware consumers who are switched on to an emerging trend known as the ‘skinification’ of hair. “Essentially, this means they want to learn more about the steps they can take and the products they should be using to achieve ultimate scalp health,” says Dr Wong. “Just as they do for the rest of their skincare routine.”

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