Most of us can’t imagine a life without air conditioning or central heating, and most of us spend quite a bit of time in climate-controlled conditions. And those conditions tend to be dry; central heating, in particular, lets us move from the dry, cold outdoors to a dry, warm indoor climate. But our bodies aren’t designed to maintain optimal scalp health in artificial weather: we’re still built for real-world weather. Climate control can rob your skin of its natural oils, particularly your scalp. Moisturizing conditioners and hair masks can help, but they can also lead to other problems. For example….
The same chemicals that make your shampoo, conditioner, and styling products so effective can also irritate your scalp or even cause allergic reactions. People with strong allergic reactions to a given product tend to learn quickly what they need to avoid, but not every allergic reaction is so pronounced. Some are subtle enough to be mistaken for other causes. And when those irritants build up over time, their effects can be magnified. Product buildup can even interrupt our bodies’ natural schedule of hair loss and regrowth, which leaves drier, more brittle hair in place for longer than our bodies intended. The straightforward solution to this problem is to simplify your hair-care regimen, starting with a close look at any silicone-based styling products you might be using.
Lice have been with us forever, but most of us tend to think of them as something passed among children at school. That’s less true than it used to be. Increased urbanization across the globe means that more people are living closer together than they once did, and that’s about all lice need to move from one scalp to another. The same applies for Demodex mites, which can also cause itchiness and rashes on the scalp. While it’s unlikely that you’ll ever run into someone wearing a hat that reads “Stay Away: I’ve Got Lice”, you should know that a wide range of over-the-counter medical remedies are available, along with therapeutic oils and, yes, the old-fashioned lice comb. If you have Demodex mites (which are often cause itchiness and rashes on the scalp), don’t feel left out as there are also very effective treatments for Demodex hair mite control.
Some people are naturally prone to dandruff, for reasons that can only be treated after the fact. But the factors listed above can also cause dandruff to develop, or to worsen cases that had been kept in check. Start by making sure that your hair is completely dry before going to sleep. Take a close look at your shampoo’s list of ingredients and avoid shampoos that contain sulphates. Anti-dandruff shampoos containing zinc are still effective and might be smart additions to your rotation if you’ve put yourself at risk.
No conclusive research has proven that modern conveniences contribute to complications like eczema and psoriasis. These are autoimmune issues and aren’t communicable, so climate control and urbanization don’t seem to be contributing factors. But science is starting to catch up. Along with topical treatment like those available for dandruff, medical doctors specializing in hair-related issues (or trichologists) have developed a growing range of treatments specifically for eczema and psoriasis. Seek relief from over-the-counter remedies, but consider seeing a doctor or a hair specialist for a real diagnosis of any potential condition your scalp might be having as well. Often what starts as slightly irritating itchiness can lead to more severe issues and even hair loss.
Modern conveniences can involve sneaky trade-offs. Your scalp certainly knows this, and now you know a bit more about it, too.
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