People are always concerned about how their hair looks, but they rarely take a moment to wonder how their scalp is doing. A healthy scalp, though, is key to having healthy hair.
To take care beneath the hair, start with your shampoo: Make sure it doesn’t contain something harsh, like sulfites or alcohol, which could irritate your skin and take nourishing oil from your hair. (Too much oil can be a problem, too: “One of the reasons to make sure you’re not letting oil build up is that you could get a yeast overgrowth that can lead to dandruff,” says dermatologist Rajani Katta.) Take the time to massage the shampoo into your scalp — it’ll improve blood flow.
Like everything else on and in your body, good nutrition is important for scalp health. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants like vitamins C and D, which help your skin top to bottom.
Finally, protect your head from sunburn and non-melanoma skin cancer, especially if you have thinning (or no) hair. And even if you have a lustrous mane, still see your dermatologist regularly. “Melanoma [skin cancer] can affect anywhere on the body, even areas that rarely see the sun,” says Katta. “Even if you have a full head of hair, you can sometimes still develop skin cancer on the scalp, so it’s part of the body we check when we’re doing an exam.”
All in all, this might be the summer to finally treat your scalp to its new best friend — a hat.