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How to Determine Your Scalp Type

Nov 25, 2021

Do you know your scalp type? This knowledge can help you take the proper steps toward achieving healthier, more beautiful hair. Here’s a look at why scalp types differ and how to care for your scalp based on what type you have.

What Affects Scalp Type?

Just as skin types vary, scalp types can also differ from person to person. The difference lies in pH balance and oil production.

Ideally, your scalp should be between 4.5 and 5.5 on the pH scale. This slightly acidic environment prevents bacteria growth and keeps your skin clean. However, too much acidity can make your hair greasy and tangled, while excessive alkalinity can strip your hair of its natural protection.

Oil production is another factor. Your scalp has extra sebaceous glands and is therefore naturally oilier than other parts of your body. Still, too much or too little oil production could prove problematic.

Caring for Oily Scalp

Does your hair clump together, lie flat on your head, and get noticeably greasy by the end of the day? You most likely have oily scalp caused by overactive sebaceous glands. The good news is the greasiness moisturizes your hair for less breakage and frizz. The bad news is your hair always looks unwashed and is challenging to style. Here’s what you can do:

  • Look for “balancing” or “strengthening” shampoo
  • Massage your scalp with your fingertips while washing it to remove stubborn oil

Caring for Dry Scalp

Do you experience frequent scalp itch and a dusting of dry, powdery flecks on your shoulders? You probably have a dry scalp (not to be confused with dandruff, a chronic scalp condition that can occur no matter what scalp type you have). A dry scalp is often caused by a high pH balance and low oil production. Here’s how to manage it:

  • Treat your hair with prescription shampoo that targets hair growth and oil production.
  • After showering, apply serums with essential oils that encourage natural sebum production and moisturize your hair.
  • Gently comb along the grain of your scalp to help make room for healthier roots to grow.

Caring for Combination Scalp

Do you struggle with greasiness and scalp flakes at the same time? This is a sign of a combination scalp, which is often the result of sensitive skin. Resolving these problems requires a comprehensive solution:

  • First, use a mild shampoo to rebalance your hair.
  • Next, apply serums to restore moisture to your scalp.
  • Finally, apply spot treatments to affected areas.
  • Avoid over-styling your hair. Letting it rest every other day helps prevent your scalp from overcompensating.

If you’re having trouble caring for your scalp on your own, visit Arlington Dermatology for help. We have proudly served the Arlington Heights area for over 40 years, providing advanced treatments for a long list of chronic skin conditions, many of which affect the scalp. So give us a call at 847-392-5440 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced dermatologists today.