The lowdown on what the scalp microbiome is and how to support it for healthy roots to tip.
Just like the gut is often referred to as a ‘second brain,’ your scalp is just as smart and plays host to its own ecosystem of bacteria that works to support healthy hair growth.
Known as the ‘scalp microbiome,’ much like the skin microbiome, the scalp has its own microbes (healthy bacteria) that work together as a friendly community to protect the scalp from pathogens and environmental toxins while strengthening the skin barrier.
When happy and balanced, the ecosystem works to provide a fertile ground to support healthy hair follicle growth (and with it lush strong and shiny hair strands).
However when the microbes aren’t playing well together and skin becomes too dry, your sebaceous glands go into overdrive to replenish the natural oils, leading to skin and hair imbalances from oily roots, psoriasis, dandruff and eczema to thinning hair and sometimes even hair loss.
Scalp stress is definitely a thing, so learning how to be nurturing towards it in the same way you would the skin on your face is the only way to ensure scalp harmony exists and your hair can remain glossy.
Let’s talk about why you need a scalp care routine and how to get one.
Why is scalp care important?
The scalp microbiome is an extension of the skin microbiome. Both work in similar ways and thrive off the same environments, the only difference is that the scalp microbiome features an added layer of intelligence, with each hair follicle said to have its own microbiome as well. Which brings us to the burning question: how has the scalp not yet got the mainstream recognition it deserves given its vital role?
With the rise of clean beauty trends and self care, the ‘skinification’ of hair care is officially in. Which means we’re becoming much more savvy with tending to all parts of our mind and body wellbeing, including the scalp.
Since the pandemic, scalp care has been . When salons were no longer a thing, we began hunting out the ‘root’ cause of hair and scalp issues ourselves, turning to natural remedies and scalp care rituals to remedy ailments and get our feel good benefits too.
Which brings us to now: the chrysalis stage, we’re emerging out of our cocoons and re-entering the world ready to explore, yet we’re also exposed to more environmental toxins than ever.
Like any harsh climate change, our scalp (just like our skin), is prone to reacting to or needing to adjust to different temperatures or toxins, so balancing our scalp’s microbiome is now more important than ever.
As Well + Good puts it, “like the skin microbiome, the scalp's microbiome is [in the] first line of defence against the outside world, which means that keeping it in check is critical to your overall hair health.”
While environmental factors play a large influence on our microbiome, other factors such as product build up (such as too many dry shampoo days), changes to diet or hormones (due to stress), can all influence whether our scalp stays happy or not.
So it’s a delicate balancing act of needing to preserve the microbes to help them fight off toxins and harmful microbes (that impact skin imbalances) while also ensuring they simultaneously work together to maintain positive microbes (that lead to strong skin barrier and hair follicles).
What does a healthy scalp care routine look like?
To cultivate a healthy scalp care routine and ensure it’s self managing its ecosystem effectively we have to start with a mindset shift, seeing our scalp the same way we do our facial skin.
The scalp’s surface is really just an extension of the face afterall. It hosts the same live bacteria and ecosystem (with added hair follicle complexity) so it really should receive the same love that our skin does. We’re talking a cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise at least.
While our hair hides our scalp, it’s just as important to tend to the scalp skin by applying the same rinse and scrub regime to your morning or evening shower the way you would your face.
By incorporating a regular scalp treatment or two in each week you’ll also be less likely to end up in a dash to the pharmacy in a panic with flakes and resorting to that anti-dandruff shampoo.
We recommend following our full-proof scalp care routine.
The right scalp recipe should be a mix of prebiotics, exfoliation, hydration and nourishment… aka prebiotic shampoo, scalp scrub, conditioner and scalp serum.
How our products support your scalp microbiome
We offer our very own prebiotic shampoo, featuring two plant derived ingredients that balance the biome.
DEFENSCALP™ works to rebalance and preserve the ecology of the scalp (regulating the Malassezia proliferation), while also acting as a defence system and hair tonic to maintain healthy non-oily hair.
When partnered together in our scalp range, these two powerhouse ingredients nurture the microbes and bring the hair’s habitat back into homeostasis organically, minus any chemical nasties and toxins.
To care for your scalp shop our range of scalp treatments.