The most common hair & scalp problems and how to treat them

Nobody likes a hair or scalp condition, but the reality is, we’re all likely to experience at least one of them from time to time. They’re not pleasant, but they can often be treated, so it’s important to know what to do if you find yourself in a situation of hair-mare.

If you want to be in the know about some of the most common scalp and hair conditions and how to treat them, give the post below a once-over:

·         Hair loss

Hair loss, otherwise known as alopecia, can affect both women and men, and is caused by stress, illness, or the recent birth of a baby, which leads to a significant drop in oestrogen levels. Many people only associate alopecia with extreme cases of the disorder, when it can cause complete baldness, but actually, it’s far more common than you might think.

While there is currently no cure for alopecia, there are ways that you can treat the disorder and help your hair to grow back more quickly. You can ask your doctor for special anti-inflammatory drugs that work to suppress the immune system, or take a look at the creams and lotions on offer for stimulating hair growth. Be careful if you’re buying online, and be sure to check out reviews beforehand- that way you can determine whether your chosen product is worth your time and money.

·         Dandruff

One of the most common scalp conditions is dandruff, or the little white flakes of skin that you might sometimes notice on your parting. Unlike popular belief, dandruff isn’t down to poor hygiene, and in fact, its exact cause remains unknown. It can be embarrassing and annoying to deal with, and is often accompanied by an itchy scalp.

Treating dandruff is a bit of a difficult one, but it is thought that brushing and washing your hair a lot should at least remove the dandruff and prevent a build-up. Some scientific evidence suggests that dandruff might be caused by a reaction to certain hair products, so if you’ve noticed a link between starting out on a new hair product and your dandruff levels, cut it out and see if it makes a difference. You can also purchase anti-dandruff shampoos and hair masks from a number of popular brands, but how effective they actually are is up for debate.

·         Head lice

It’s probably the most dreaded scalp condition of them all, but head lice are not a cause for panic. As the name suggests, head lice are little insects that infest the scalp, and can cause itching, irritability, and a very uncomfortable “crawling” feeling on your scalp. Head lice can easily spread from head to head, making the condition difficult to fully eliminate.

The easiest way to get rid of head lice is to purchase a shampoo, lotion of spray that, when applied to the hair, kills lice and their eggs. You then need to brush the lice out of the hair with a special lice comb, making sure you’re thorough, and brush the eggs out too. Providing you remove all the lice from every affected person’s heads, that’s the last you should see from them.

·         Greasy hair

In our hair, we all have something called sebaceous glands, which secrete an oily substance called sebum. Sebum is not necessarily the bag guy- it gives your hair its natural shine- but if your sebaceous glands produce an excess of this oil, it can lead up to a build-up of grease that isn’t so appealing on the eye. While hair grease can be affected by your hormone levels, there are many non-natural causes of the issue that can be prevented.

Greasy hair can be caused by over-washing, so if you’re an every-nighter, you need to focus on stretching out the time between your hair wash routine. Over time, you will notice that your hair can last for longer periods without a wash without getting immediately greasy. Another thing to consider is your hairbrush – if it’s old and you never clean it, chances are, it’s contributing to your grease levels. Give it a wash with baby shampoo in the sink every now and then, and your hair will thank you for it.

Laura Shallcross