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  • Writer's pictureStephanie

What is scalp buildup? Do I have scalp build-up?

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

Feel like you need to wear a hat?

Wanting to cover up your flakes?

Do I have dandruff?

Do I really need to wash and repeat?

About Your Scalp

The scalp, like the rest of your skin, is always shedding cells. The rate of shedding skin cells on the scalp is faster than the rest of your body. These shed cells are getting stuck in the strands of the hair, making them more visible. Therefore, not washing for a week or two may create the appearance of dandruff in some people. If you have dandruff or buildup on the scalp, the symptoms of both are easy to spot: Your head itches and flakes of dead skin are snowing from your scalp into your hair and onto your shoulders. Before you attempt to treat this condition, it's important to figure out if you are suffering from dandruff or scalp buildup. There are differences between the two, from the type of skin cells that are shed to the type of treatment you will need.

The Details of Dandruff

Dandruff occurs when a yeast called Malassezia inflames the skin of the scalp. It causes the whole process of - extra dead skin cells die, then clump together with oil from your hair and scalp. As a result, these oily clumps, which appear yellow in color, are larger and more visible than the skin cells shed from normal turnover, especially on dark hair or clothing. A dandruff scalp may also feel extra itchy.

Controlling Dandruff

Mild cases of dandruff may need nothing more than daily shampooing with a gentle cleanser. However, more stubborn cases of dandruff will heal from a medicated dandruff shampoo. Do not scratch or pick at your scalp. Instead, carefully comb out the loose flakes. It is not uncommon to think you have dandruff when you have scalp buildup. Similarly, itchiness or flakiness that is caused by dry scalp, psoriasis or allergies is also regularly misdiagnosed as dandruff.

What Causes Scalp Buildup?

Scalp buildup is caused by two major factors: overuse of styling products and ineffectively washing your hair. Use of unprofessional products as well as heavy conditioners, particularly those with wax fillers can build up on your scalp, causing itching. If you do not shampoo regularly, or your shampoo does not clean thoroughly, in time, a combination of dead skin cells and oil will cause scalp buildup.

Controlling Scalp Buildup

If you have scalp buildup, shampoo your hair more often and more thoroughly. You may need to shampoo twice, particularly if you use a lot of styling products. The first shampoo loosens the dormant products. Then, the second shampoo cleanses the hair and scalp. You can also use a clarifying or detoxifying shampoo. These typically contain acids, are quite potent and can dry the hair and scalp. If you need a more intensive treatment, ask your stylist about a professional clarifying or detoxification treatment, which we do offer.



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