In this article, you will learn how to remove dry skin, dirt, DHT and sebum from your scalp by exfoliating it with home-made scrubs.
The reason we do this is to clear away anything that can be blocking the pathways for our hair follicles and to keep the scalp clean and nourished, and if you’re doing this consistently, you’ll notice that your hair might start to grow at a faster rate, less hair falls out and so it looks thicker and healthier!
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All of the ingredients in the scrub are natural and stuff you can find in your kitchen cupboards!
These scrubs work really, really well, but the trick to all of them is to be consistent - do them at least once per week - and incorporate them as part of a healthy, balanced diet - I’ll talk a bit more about that at the end,
Before applying the scrub to your scalp, we’re going to do a patch test to make sure we’re not allergic to any of the ingredients and I’ll show you how I do my patch test.
How to do a patch test!
So once once you make the scrub, just dip a cotton bud into the mixture, and put it behind your ear, and then leave it for 24 hours, and if there’s no irritation, then you’re good to go.
So before we get straight into the recipes for the scrub, let’s have a really quick recap on why it’s a really good idea to use a scalp scrub.
We start our, journey, deep, deep down into our hair!
About 4 mm under the scalp our hair follicles start to grow.
If we imagine that our scalp is soil and for beautiful plants or flowers to grow in the soil, it needs to be healthy and nourished.
But if for example if the patch of soil is covered in gravel or is in a really polluted area, then this can damage anything that grows there.
So for our scalp, pollutants, dead skin cells, sebum as well as a hormone called Dihydrotestorone can start building up on the scalp again soon after we’ve washed our hair.
So let’s quickly go through all these one by one and why they’re not great for healthy hair growth!
Whenever we’re outside microscopic particles from car and plane exhausts, soot, dust, grime are settling onto our hair and scalp. This can lead to damage to our hair follicles and scalp irritation, including dandruff! Dandruff is a scalp condition that causes itchy flakes to appear.
Using a good scalp exfoliant ensures that the scalp is clean and the hair follicle is free to grow! The scrubs also get rid of excess sebum on the scalp.
Sebum is the medical term for oils produced in the sebaceous glands found under the skin. Our scalp and face contain the highest concentration of glands and our face, in particular, could have as many as 900 sebaceous glands per square centimetre of skin.
We need sebum to keep our hair and skin healthy and moisturised but when we have too much sebum it can build up causing acne. Sebum can clog up the pores on the scalp, making it much much harder work for hair to grow when its transitioning from the resting phase to the growth phase.
Another great job that a scalp exfoliant is doing, is clearing away DHT from the scalp,
DHT is an altered more active form of testosterone, It’s present in both guys and girls
And it’s produced the testes in guys as well as the skin and liver in women
The enzyme 5-Alpha Reductase is responsible for turning excess testosterone into DHT.
When flowing around your bloodstream DHT binds itself to genetically susceptible hair follicles and shrinks them.
This process is called miniaturisation.
Over time the hair follicle shrinks and eventually dies and new hair can no longer grow there -
Balding Grey Hair:
This is Androgenetic Alopecia - or pattern baldness
Before the whole process of miniaturisation kicks in, it’s a really good idea to get rid of excess DHT from the scalp. A good scalp scrub, sloughs away all the DHT, skin flakes and sebum, and keeps our scalps heathy, clean, clear and the best possible environment for healthy hair growth!
With the exfoliants I’m gonna walk you through, you don’t worry about writing this stuff down - because I’ve written everything down for you in a handy E-book for you: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BLOCKING DHT.
Let’s head over to the kitchen to mix up our first exfoliant.
Just another reminder with all of these exfoliants please please remember to do a patch test, because this is absolutely not the time to find out you’re allergic to any of the ingredients.
Our First Exfoliant is:
Lemon Juice and Charcoal Scalp Scrub
This natural scrub is tough enough to remove DHT, sebum, dead skin cells, hair gels or sprays but it’s also gentle enough to not damage your hair follicles or scalp. We’ll be making enough to last for about two or three weeks. Many trichologists suggest using a scalp exfoliant once per week.
You will need:
A blender or juicer
And here's your shopping list:
One whole lemon
Himalayan Sea salt
Powdered activated charcoal
Take the juice of 1 whole lemon and blending it with an entire cucumber.
Add in around 100g of ginger and half a tablespoon of the Himalyan salt.
And 1 teaspoon of powdered activated charcoal. There's no need to add water, but if the mixture has turned thick or a paste, you can sift the mixture through a sieve or muslin.
Using your plastic funnel, add this mixture to your plastic bottle and give it a vigorous shake until it's well-mixed.
Now you're going to need at least 10 minutes to spare.
Apply the mixture all over the scalp - paying particular attention to areas that are thinning because this may be where DHT has latched onto your hair follicles and has started the minituarsation process..
So the aim is to gently massage the mixture in, don’t scrub roughly, as you don’t want to break or damage your hair or scalp.
Massage is also a really good way to stimulate the scalp, it’s helping to wake up the blood vessels under the skin, so it’s improving circulation
Massaging the scalp is also good for reducing stress, it’s helping to lower your levels of Cortisol, the stress hormone, and a study, which I’ve put a link to in the description below, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27538002
It’s called Cortisol-induced Hair Growth Disruption and the study actually found that stress can shift hair from the growing phase, into the shedding phase, so it’s important to reduce stress in your life, if you’re fighting hair loss.
Once you’ve gently massaged it in - leave the mixture to work its magic on the scalp for ten to fifteen minutes.
Rinse the mixture out with warm (but not hot) water.
So after at least a month of doing this, you’re going to start noticing a real difference in the health of your scalp.
Also, don’t forget to keep it in the fridge.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse:
If your hair is dry, frizzy or brittle, then it’s likely that your hair and scalp have high Alkaline levels. Because of the high levels of Acetic Acid in Apple Cider Vinegar this helps lower the PH of your hair and scalp. So it’s great for restoring shine and balance.
It’s great if you’ve got curly hair, as curls can often be a bit more brittle and lose moisture faster than straight hair.
Apple Cider Vinegar is also rich in Vitamin C, B and alpha-hydroxy acid which helps exfoliate scalp skin, and that it’s anti-inflammatory, which helps to soothe dandruff.
Dandruff builds up when there’s too much yeast on the scalp and one of the reasons there’s too much yeast - is because of excess sebum.
Now what you don’t wanna do is just pour it into your hair straight from the bottle. Add three cups Apple Cider to one cup water, then using my funnel pour I’ll it into my empty shampoo bottle now it’s ready for my rinse.
So if your hair’s dry, use this rinse once per week, just before you shampoo. Leave it in for 15 minutes, then use your shampoo and conditioner.
I normally use this Palmers shampoo and conditioner - this isn’t sponsored by the way, I really like these, they’re free of parabens and allergens and my hair is always in really good condition after I’ve used them
DHT exfoliant: Caffeine Oil Scrub
And now there’s another great reason to love coffee, there is A LOT of scientific evidence about the benefits of caffeine on your scalp.
I’ve put a link to a study below, in which scientists found that caffeine can help to suppress male pattern baldness.
Caffeine has also been found to actually help stimulate hair growth. Based on this study.
Researchers found that caffeine increased the length of time that hair follicles were in the Anagen phase or the growth phase (rather than resting or shedding) so caffeine actually reversed any negative effect of DHT - which slows down hair growth.
Coffee oil increases blood circulation in the scalp and stimulates the roots of the hair.
The phytosterols in the oil helps to promotes moisture retention and absorption.
Now the effects of coffee on hair are only seen if applied directly to the scalp - rather than drinking it, as you’d actually need to drink dozens of cups of coffee per day for it to have any kind of noticeable effect on your hair, and you’d become really ill - you’d get anxiety and heart attacks which is the last thing you need.
I’ve got two tablespoons of ground coffee and I’m adding in coconut oil and argan oil.
Argan oil comes from the kernels of the fruit of the argan tree and it’s native to Morocco.
There are so many benefits of Argan oil for your hair, it’s an extremely rich source of vitamin E, which is required for healthy skin, hair and eyes.
And Vitamin E also has lots of powerful antioxidant properties.
The oleic and linoleic acids that make up the majority of argan oil’s fat content are vital nutrients for maintaining healthy skin and hair.
Coconut Oil is something I definitely recommend for you to keep in your kitchen cupboards, as well as using it a couple of times a month as a deep conditioning treatment, I also use it in all my cooking,
Research shows that Coconut oil is high in rich in antioxidants and fatty acids which penetrate into the hair cuticles and cortex.
Supporting hair growth
Adding volume and shine
Improving scalp health
Moisturising the hair
Protecting hair from protein loss
Protecting hair from UV exposure
Fighting infections and fungus
I’m mixing Argan Oil, Coconut Oil and Coffee together: the ratios are totally up to you. I’ll pour the mixture into this little applicator bottle. In circular motions, I’m applying the oil directly to my scalp.
What this is doing is stimulating blood vessels just under the scalp and enhancing circulation. I’ll do my whole scalp and leave for an hour.
It is important to remember with genetic hair loss - the bit that’s being influenced is right down at the bottom of the hair follicle, it’s called the hair bulb so anything applied at the surface, has to be able to get down to the hair bulb and it has to sit there.
It’s not a case of breaking through the skin and being carried around in the blood, as that will just transport the caffeine away.
And so in the lab environment, hair is put in a dish and caffeine is next to the hair bulb for a number of days.
There are no studies to confirm that outside of the lab environment, caffeine can get to the hair bulb.
But anecdotally, lots of people, including myself, have found that scalp scrubs and caffeine oils can help to stimulate hair growth.
But the key with all hair loss treatments is to be consistent and to throw everything at it!
On its own just doing the exfoliant scrub occasionally might not be effective in regrowing hair - but it is the regular act of exfoliating the scalp once a week as well as massaging your scalp 2 or three times per week,
That really help to stimulate the blood vessels. Healthy balanced diet. As well as getting your 5 a day, and avoiding drink, drugs and smoking, it’s always a good idea to supplement your diet with the best vitamins for hair growth.
For more information about hair vitamins, head on to this website.