Healthy Scalps Lead to Healthy Hair

Healthy Scalps Lead to Healthy Hair

Did you know that your scalp ages faster than any other skin on your body? In fact, it ages 12 times faster than the skin on our bodies, and 6 times faster than the skin on our face. Learning this has motivated us to better understand what's behind this rapid aging of the scalp.

The scalp has more responsibilities than the skin on your body and face.

The scalp is a very complex part of our bodies that has many components and functions. It’s responsible for hair growth, but it also has smell receptors and is linked to the lymphatic system. Studies have shown that the lymphatic capillaries which transport immune cells and drain excess fluids and toxins from tissues form an intimate network around the stem cell niche within each hair follicle, allowing intimate communication and influence between the hair follicle and the lymphatic system, meaning the scalp has more responsibilities than the skin on your body and face.


Our scalps age due to environmental and lifestyle choices such as UV exposure, diet, chemicals and smoking.

When we first started to look into why hair goes grey, we found that there are certain parts of the hair that seem to go grey first, and faster than other areas of the head. The front hairline is an area that I have observed on thousands of clients to be the area that goes grey first, but why?

When you look at the amount and overlap of chemicals that this area of the hair is exposed to, it’s easier to understand. For example, the hair line is the intersection point of the hair and the skin on the rest of our body; meaning that when you use shampoo, face wash, soap or sunscreen, the hair line often gets over-exposed to all of these different chemicals. Our hair lines are exposed to UV rays, hair color and other topical styling products as well, all of which can contribute to oxidative stress on the scalp.

We have focused on the health of hair for centuries, typically taking a reactive approach to haircare.

When hair feels dry we add conditioner. If it turns grey, we add color. If it’s thin, we add volumizer. What we have overlooked is that all of these chemicals are short term solutions for mending the issues our hairs present. By focusing on scalp health we can improve these issues by growing better hair from the scalp- hair that has more of the components that are needed to improve texture, density, and preserve hair pigment.
 
“Healthy scalps do lead to healthy hair, since the scalp is the origin point of the hair fiber from the head. However, it’s important not to treat scalp skin the same way you would treat skin on the rest of your body. Overall, the skin on the scalp is thicker than skin on the rest of the body. It also has more blood vessel connections than the rest of the facial skin. It also has more sebaceous glands, which explains why hair gets considerably greasy. Scalp skin - while thicker - is really delicate and is prone to more issues than facial skin and scientists are just beginning to understand why.” -Valerie George, Cosmetic Chemist

At Arey we believe in proactive haircare, and it starts with the scalp.

The scalp is made of many layers, five to be exact, each part serves to either protect, lubricate, circulate blood, potentiate cells and communicate with the rest of the body. The hair strand is located in the dermis and extends into and out of the epidermis where we are then able to see the hair strand emerging from the scalp. The dermis and epidermis make up the outer most layer of the scalp, and this area can be greatly affected by environmental and lifestyle stressors.
 
When the scalp is exposed to environmental and lifestyle stress, the result is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a build up or overproduction of Reactive Oxygen Species, known as ROS or free radicals. Free radicals are a part of how the body functions. Under normal circumstances free radicals assist in metabolism, cell proliferation or apoptosis (cell death or removal). When the body is over exposed to things like UV rays, cigarette smoke, hair color or pollution, the body produces more free radicals to help protect cells from these harmful exposures.

Our bodies regularly produce antioxidants to balance free radicals, but when the body cannot balance all of the free radicals it produces due to overexposure of oxidative stressors, the result is oxidative stress.

What this means is that there is an imbalance in the body between those free radicals and the amount of antioxidants the body can produce to neutralize them. Free radicals can cause damage to parts of cells such as proteins, DNA, and cell membranes by stealing their electrons through a process called oxidation. This damage can limit the body's ability to repair or remove bad cells, which can result in signs of aging, inflammation or cancer.  
 
When formulating our products at Arey, we found that focusing on ingredients that are safe, clean and effective for the skin can help benefit future hair growth. Haircare products for years have been only focused on the hair strands that we can see, creating a cycle of over cleansing, conditioner build up and many additional styling products to achieve the look of “healthy” hair, all the while our scalps are being overexposed to the these chemicals and do not have the strength to withstand the exposure. Hair dye is an example of a solution for grey hair that uses strong chemicals, yet we have overlooked what those chemicals could be doing to our scalps.

38% of people that use hair dye for root coverage experience redness or itching after on-scalp application.

 

"Applying skincare technology to the scalp is definitely a trend right now, but it's a trend that makes a lot of sense. The scalp is skin and therefore it can benefit from ingredients proven to be helpful for skin, plus there is the added benefit that a healthy scalp helps to promote healthy hair." - Dr. Hadley King, Dermatologist

The moral of the story is: treat your scalp with care! Skincare over the years has evolved to use more gentle ingredients that are specific to parts of the face or body. When choosing haircare products, going into the sun or considering dyeing your hair, think less about how the hair you have now will look and think more about how these choices will affect your future hair growth.

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