The Hot New Hair Product? Scalp Exfoliators (with Glycolic Acid)!
Whether a scalp exfoliator comes as a creamy scrub, a sudsy shampoo, or an intensive leave-on treatment, all of the many variations of this hot new hair product have one crucial commonality: the Alpha Hydroxy Acid exfoliator extraordinaire, glycolic acid.
The new focus on scalp health
While hair is made up of dead skin cells, the scalp is comprised of living skin cells, just like the skin on the face, feet, or elbows. And while many consumers are aware of the importance of taking care of their facial or body skin, the skin on the scalp is often neglected or bypassed. But, forgetting to treat the scalp can negatively impact hair growth and appearance.
“The scalp is the bedrock for the hair follicle, and if it is not in good condition the chances of you experiencing problems with hair growth and health increase significantly,” said trichologist Anabel Kingsley, in an interview with Get the Gloss. “In fact, research has proven that a flaky, itchy scalp can cause and/or worsen hair loss in certain individuals.”
Healthy scalp, healthy hair
Your scalp’s skin barrier has an essential job. Not only does it help to protect the head against environmental stressors like UV rays, pollutants, allergens, and irritants, the scalp also acts as a thermal regulator for the entire body.
But, just like the skin on the face can become irritated, the scalp skin barrier can also become degraded with age, UV exposure, and exposure to irritants. And for consumers, an irritated, unhealthy scalp not only creates problems like dandruff or oily locks, but also interferes with the growth of hair.
The best scalp help?
Regular exfoliation of the scalp is critical for growing and maintaining shiny, thick, robust hair. Additionally, scalp exfoliation is especially beneficial for treating three extremely common scalp/hair issues:
- Dry skin
- Oily or greasy hair
Exfoliation of the scalp has several key benefits – all of which lead to better, healthier hair.
First, by removing dead skin cells, excess sebum, and sweat, and built-up hair products like gels, mousse, and sprays that clog pores, scalp exfoliating products keep the scalp skin cells clear of buildups.
With functioning, clear, clean skin cells, the hair follicle, which regulates the growth of hair by interacting with hormones, immune cells, and neuropeptides, can then work in the most efficient way possible.
Regular exfoliation also increases cell turnover on the scalp, which means newer healthier skin cells are always on the surface of the epidermis/ These new skin cells are then able to readily absorb hair products like pre-shampoos, leave-in conditioners or oils, and hair masks.
Glycolic acid: gentle exfoliation for the scalp
Scalp exfoliation involves the use of physical or chemical exfoliants to remove excess skin cells, oil, and dandruff. But, for most consumers, physical scalp scrubs can be too harsh, lead to irritation, and eventually create an excess production of oil. Instead, the best scalp exfoliator formulations use the powers of chemical exfoliators like glycolic acid to reduce buildups and maintain skin cell health.
First, glycolic acid based scalp exfoliators are one of the best options for regular, weekly exfoliation, because of their gentleness. Glycolic acid exfoliates by dissolving the “glue” holding skin cells together, and is thus one of the most effective ingredients for quickly shedding off the scalp’s dead skin cells that cause dandruff or oily locks.
Additionally, glycolic acid scalp exfoliator products are critical for long-term scalp health because glycolic acid drives newer skin cells to the surface of the scalp. These new cells will exfoliate themselves naturally and regularly, and be better equipped to absorb nourishing hair products and formulations.
For formulators, tapping into the scalp exfoliator product trend is a great way to help consumers treat a variety of hair care needs and create their shiniest, strongest hair yet.