Use of chemicals such as hair dye and permanent solutions, hot styling tools, exposure to sun, heat and cold can all damage your scalp, stripping it of oils and causing the outer layer of skin cells to flake. Because the protective barrier is damaged, the scalp loses moisture and is more susceptible to irritation and infection. Symptoms such as redness, itching and greasy or flaky dandruff are also possible indicators of dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis of the scalp.
The stratum corneum is the outer layer of skin cells on the scalp, with lipid molecules called natural ceramides between the cells. Together they form a barrier that prevents moisture loss and prevents disease-causing organisms form penetrating the skin. On the surface is a natural oil, sebum, secreted from hair follicles, that also protects your scalp. Both of these natural emollients are necessary for healthy hair and scalp and restoring them will begin to heal your scalp.
Hydrate Your Scalp
Because the scalp has been stripped of natural oils, moisture is lost. Steep 1 tsp. or 1 teabag of chamomile, sage or green tea in 1 cup of boiling water. Allow the tea to steep for 15 minutes and strain out the herbs. When the tea cools, put it in a plastic bottle with a flip-top lid and add 1 tbsp. of aloe vera. Keep the bottle of tea in your shower. After shampooing and rinsing your hair with warm -- not hot -- water, drizzle the tea over your scalp and massage lightly. Towel dry as usual.
Replace Natural Ceramides
Natural ceramides are the lipid cells that hold together layers of skin cells. They are found in many natural products, such as wheat germ oil. Once or twice a week, massage 1 tbsp. of aloe vera gel into your scalp. Then massage 1 tsp. of wheat germ oil into your scalp. Wrap your hair with plastic wrap or a scarf, and leave in overnight. In the morning, shampoo and rinse as usual.
Jojoba oil is a natural oil that so closely resembles human sebum it is used in medical research as a substitute for sebum. Warm 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil with 4 drops of rosemary, rose, lavender, geranium, myrrh or tea tree oil essential oil. for 10 seconds in the microwave. Repeat until the oil is warm, not hot, to the touch. Massage it into your scalp and wait for 20 minutes. Work it through the length of your hair and shampoo as usual.
Tomato Soup for Your Hair
Put 4 oz. of tomato juice, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp. diced cucumber and 1 tbsp. olive oil in a blender. Puree and pour into a plastic bottle with a flip-top lid. Use a comb to part your hair and apply the mixture to your scalp. Wait 10 minutes, work the juice through to the ends of your hair and shampoo as usual. If you aren't sure whether you are allergic to any of the ingredients, put a dab on your inner elbow and cover with a bandage. Wait 24 hours to see if there is a negative reaction. Store the mixture in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.