From The Straits Times    |

Photo: 123rf

When we talk about the signs of ageing, we typically talk about skin. We talk about the dark spots and wrinkles that creep up as we get older.

But do you know that our scalp ages too? Yes it does and at an astonishing rate; our scalp ages six times faster than facial skin, according to the L’Oreal Professionnel Academy.

As we age, our skin cells become sluggish and cell turnover slows down, but how does this affect our scalp? How can we combat these effects of ageing? Read on to find out.


Dry scalp in women

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A study published in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Application found a reduction of sebum secretion in women as they age due to hormonal changes and changes in estrogen levels.  

The same study found a significant reduction of scalp sebum secretion of women in the 40s compared to 20s. If left untreated, a dry scalp can lead to itchiness and dandruff.

What to do: Try giving yourself a gentle scalp massage while shampooing. Scalp massages can help to stimulate the production of natural oils and help increase blood flow towards the hair follicles. This in turn helps your follicles to receive more nutrients and promote hair growth.


Scalp sensitivity

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Sensitivity of the scalp is also found to increase with age according to the authors of “Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology.” The most common symptoms of scalp sensitivity include an itchy sensation and granules being stuck between your nails when you scratch your head in response.

What to do: Steer clear of shampoos with Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). This chemical can cause the skin’s natural protective barrier to be impaired, increase trans-epidermal water loss and cause potential irritants to penetrate further into skin.

Always opt for a mild shampoo that doesn’t strip the skin of moisture and disrupt the skin’s healthy balance. Also, it’s important to thoroughly wash away shampoo on the hair as even slight traces left on skin will cause irritation, especially if the scalp is already sensitive.


Thinning hair

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When your scalp ages, your hair follicles are more likely to get clogged and this may affect the absorption of protein. Since the hair on our head is largely made up of a protein called keratin, if your hair follicles aren’t getting enough protein, you might start to see changes to your crowning glory.

What to do: Exfoliating your scalp can help to unclog your hair follicles and help any hair loss or scalp treatment tonic you may use to better penetrate the scalp. Every month, try to go for a scalp exfoliating treatment to stimulate healthy cell turnover on the surface and prevent further hair loss.


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