If you get your hair cut at an upscale salon, chances are there’s something you look forward to just as much as freshly styled locks: the scalp massage.
A scalp massage (like any massage) can be incredibly relaxing and indulgent. And like a body massage, it can have great benefits for your health. Even better, you don’t need to wait for that salon appointment. If you have one simple tool, you can perform your own relaxing, at-home scalp massage session, and boost your scalp health while you’re at it.
Meet the scalp brush.
If you’ve never used a scalp brush before, you’re likely a bit skeptical. We get it. You’ll probably need to try it yourself to believe how amazing it feels. But what about scalp health and dandruff? How exactly can a humble brush play such an important role?
We’ll explain in a bit. But first, let’s talk about those little white flakes and where they come from.
Why do I have dandruff in the first place?
That’s a fair question and it deserves a simple answer. But the truth is, it’s complicated.
Dandruff, the itching and flaking that happens when your scalp gets irritated, can occur for a number of reasons.
It’s sometimes hard to pin down what the root causes are of one person’s dandruff, but they might include genetic skin sensitivities, underlying skin conditions like eczema and seborrheic dermatitis, and hormone levels that change with age (puberty is often when dandruff starts and it can lessen as people get older).
Diet is also thought to play a role. Food allergies can contribute to inflammation in the body, which can exacerbate dandruff. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are also believed to be risk factors, especially low zinc levels.
Environmental factors like dry air or humidity, pollution, and cold weather can also make dandruff symptoms worse. And stress can definitely result in increased itchiness and flaking, too. (Just what you need when you’re under pressure.)
If you have dandruff, it’s possible any of these factors, or several of them, are contributing to your irritated, itchy, and flaky scalp.
What's causing your dandruff? It doesn't matter
All that complexity behind dandruff may seem a little daunting. But here’s the good news: even if you can’t pin down the underlying cause of your flaky, itchy scalp, you can treat it quickly and effectively.
In fact, the treatment for dandruff is almost always the same. You need a regular regimen of a professionally formulated, evidence-based anti-dandruff product that includes Zinc Pyrithione. Add a scalp brush into your hair care routine and you can help improve your scalp conditions even faster.
What about those other lifestyle-related factors we mentioned? In the long run, it might make sense to rethink your diet or how you manage stress - and it’s possible that will help your dandruff symptoms improve. But many of the possible causes of dandruff are beyond your control. (You can’t change your genes. And moving across the country to a better climate might be too much to ask - no matter how annoying those flakes are.)
Ultimately, when your scalp is irritated, itching, and flaky, you want effective relief ASAP, without a lot of wondering or waiting. For real, immediate results, the treatment is always the same.
Root problems: it's all about the buildup
Scalp irritation and the itching and flaking that result are due to problems in the living ecosystem of your scalp, or your scalp microbiome. When this ecosystem becomes dysfunctional, it’s like a garden overgrown with weeds. It causes buildup of several different kinds.
First, there’s excess sebum, an oily secretion from your sebaceous glands that help to keep your hair follicles and skin moisturized. Then there’s excess dead skin cells that remain stuck together in your hair rather than shedding invisibly the way they do in a healthy scalp. Finally, there’s extra Malassezia, a fungus that’s a natural part of your skin’s microbiome but gets out of control in people with dandruff.
Malassezia feed on sebum, so too much of one often coincides with too much of the other. Malassezia leave behind waste products that some people are sensitive to. And of course, if there’s an overgrowth of this microbe, that means an excess of waste products as well. The outcome of this runaway process is more irritation, more natural oils, more Malassezia, and more itching and flaking.
So how do scalp brushes (and dandruff shampoo, for that matter) actually improve your scalp?
Scalp irritation and the itching and flaking that result are due to problems in the living ecosystem of your scalp, or your scalp microbiome.
How scalp brushes help break the dandruff cycle
The scalp brush is a simple tool that actually goes by several names, including scalp massager, scalp massage brush, scalp cleansing brush, and more.
Scalp brushes are coming into the spotlight lately as a general health and beauty aid for good reason. They can work wonders for hair and scalp health, even if you don’t have dandruff. A scalp brush could help to stimulate blood flow to the scalp and can provide deep scalp cleansing and exfoliation.
Here are three ways scalp brushes help break the cycle of irritation on your scalp:
1. Scalp brushes break up and remove scalp buildup
As we outlined above, dandruff is a problem of buildup. By helping to loosen natural scalp buildup, including the layers of sebum and old skin cells that provide food and shelter to Malassezia, scalp brushes could help your scalp get healthy again. They can also help brush away hairstyling products that clog follicles and contribute to irritation.
Breaking up this buildup, AKA exfoliating, with a scalp brush helps wash away this debris when you shampoo. The result is fewer irritation-causing substances on your skin and less food for Malassezia to feast on, too. In other words, a brush provides the path to truly thorough scalp cleansing that may be a big help for those experiencing dandruff.
2. Scalp brushes may make your dandruff shampoo more effective
With the buildup in your scalp cleared and your skin nicely exfoliated, your shampoo can penetrate more deeply to where it needs to go. This likely allows it to be much more effective, providing a deeper, more thorough clean than you could get otherwise.
To get the biggest bang for your buck, use a scalp brush to work the shampoo into your scalp before lathering throughout your locks. It’s just like that delicious head massage at the fancy salon.
You can rest assured knowing your scalp brush is helping to deliver your dandruff treatment exactly where it needs to go: evenly across your scalp and more deeply into the skin, so the active ingredients can get to work where they’re most needed.
3. Scalp brushes may stimulate skin & hair growth
That invigorating feeling you get when you massage your scalp with a scalp brush is believed to be the result of stimulating blood flow to the area. Increasing blood circulation can help promote growth of both skin and hair. It may also help strengthen and thicken the hair shaft as new healthy hair grows.
Regular scalp massaging using your scalp brush may also promote skin healing and regeneration because you are stimulating the skin. The key though to getting the most out of your scalp brush is proper usage. We recommend gently massaging with the scalp brush 3-4 times a week. Pressing too hard and using too often can leave the scalp tender rather than invigorated and cleansed. And of course, never use the scalp brush on broken skin.
How do you choose the right scalp brush?
So now you know how scalp brushes can be helpful in promoting scalp health. But with so many options on the market, how will you find one you love?
We’re biased, but we think you should trust the dandruff and scalp care experts at Jupiter. Jupiter’s scalp brush is designed like everything else we make: to be effective, beautiful, and a delight to use. Take a look.
Of course, to fight dandruff you need a science-based professional dandruff treatment made with effective, proven ingredients.
Sound about right? Good. Learn how Jupiter is making elevated scalp and hair care a reality.
Our exfoliating scalp brush helps remove build-up from flaking, styling products, or other impurities. Gently dry brush the scalp in circular motions before washing, or in the shower while you lather your shampoo with gentle front-to-back strokes. Added bonus: a cleaner scalp means thicker and healthier looking hair. It just so happens to feel really really good, too.
The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about the information contained herein, as well as the risks or benefits of any treatment.