For years no one could convince me otherwise that oiling everyday was not really the best option for optimum health of my scalp! Until just recently, oiling my scalp had become as routine as brushing my teeth but like most changes in my hair regimen, I accidentally stumbled across the benefits of not oiling my scalp and immediately noticed the benefits.
I have been oiling my scalp as far as I can remember; in fact oiling my scalp was my remedy to dry scalp…so I thought. Years later I would learn this was not the best way to rectify the problem.
Your body secretes an oily, waxy substance called sebum, through microscopic glands in the skin located predominantly on the scalp and face. As we all know sebum or our natural oils is what lubricates our strands and provides a natural barrier in preventing dryness and breakage. Now when these microscopic glands or sebaceous glands are blocked from an outside factor such as certain hair products, preventing the sebum from secreting properly, this can wreak havoc on our scalp and in some cases causing dandruff.
Not to be confused with dry scalp which are small white flakes of the scalp, stemming from dryness, dandruff is the opposite, identified as yellowish/greyish, waxy, cluster of skin cells stemming from a fungal or bacterial infection of the scalp. There are different types of dandruff and to be properly diagnosed you would have to see a medical professional, but there are certain types of dandruff that breed from dust and pollutants, that unnecessary product buildup attracts, leading us right into another important factor, proper product usage on our scalp.
For some, not oiling our scalp is an unthinkable option but knowing the proper products to use, ensures the health of our scalp, meaning a clean and healthy surface our natural oils can easily secrete while preventing breakage of our strands, which means you should stay clear of mineral oils and heavy butters. Minerals oils do not dissipate but rather sit and clog the area applied too. Stick with lighter oils for the scalp such as coconut oil and rosemary oil which also work double duty as an antimicrobial agent, and antiseptic, not only cleaning our scalp but protecting us from microbes, dust mites and fungus that ultimately can weaken our hair roots and cause unnecessary shedding. Therefore it is imperative we keep our scalp clean and free of heavy buildup.
The curlier the strand the more difficult it is for the sebum to coat the strand due to all the twist and turns the sebum has to travel to reach the ends of our strands, this difficulty usually results in the sebum not completing its journey, this is why it is so important to seal…I know UNFAIR, but knowing this simple factor can help you combat dryness and understand why it is so necessary clear you scalp of product buildup.
Remember to each their own but since I stopped oiling my scalp I have noticed a tremendous difference in the health of my scalp, even leading to less shedding, but always keep in mind, anything topically always correlates to the inside, and disciplining a healthier diet into your regimen can greatly affect your sebum oil production, eliminating dry scalp. Including a diet rich in nutrients like Omega 3 Fatty acids can keep dandruff at bay, and since our bodies naturally cannot produce this fatty acid we need to supplement. Avoiding a diet consumed by saturated fats and trans-fatty oils may reduce, growth of P. ovale, a fungi thought to be responsible for dandruff.
Learning what works for your hair is a process and the start to a healthy hair journey begins with the scalp. When it boils down to the root of it, less is more and like anything in life if you want to see growth you have to let it breath!
Photo: Quazi King
Model: Nika Phoenix