You may have found the shampoos, conditioners and styling products that work for you, but did you know that the secret to a good hair day could lie in the roots? Scalp care is making waves in the beauty industry right now, promising that if you take good care of your scalp, your hair will follow suit. We asked experts from the hair world, Paul Windle, Founder of Windle Lab; Shona Bisset, Windle Lab’s Development Chemist and Dr Mia Jing Gao, Consultant to find out more…

1. Why is scalp health important to hair growth? 

Shona Bisset: Keeping the skin of the scalp well moisturised and free from debris such as excess styling product and dead skin will help to encourage hair growth. Making sure your hair follicles are free from dry skin and dandruff will ensure your hair can grow with no obstructions. As every hair grows from a follicle beneath the scalp surface, ensuring the follicle and skin surrounding is well nourished helps to promote hair growth and reduce the risk of ingrown hairs.

2. How do the scalp hair cells get clogged and why does this impact hair growth?

Shona Bisset: Hair follicles can easily get clogged by a build-up of sebum and dead skin or an overuse of styling products. If a hair follicle gets clogged this acts as an obstacle for the single hair strand trying to protrude from the follicle. It is important to keep your scalp clean and healthy without over washing. It’s important to use mild surfactants/cleansers that are gentle enough for everyday use. Windle Lab shampoos clear the scalp of excess product and build up of ‘grease’ without removing all the natural oils within the scalp.

3. What is the role and limitations of a hairdresser when diagnosing hair and scalp issues and finding solutions?

Paul Windle: Our stylists and hairdressers experience first hand the journey customers go through with their hair and hair struggles. We see different types of clients with all sorts of issues and are thus pushed to always expand our knowledge when it comes to scalp issues. It was exactly for this reason I was inspired to start the Windle Laboratory where the Windle London salon stylists have direct feedback and input with our in-house chemist who looks at the molecular structure of the hair and scalp. For any serious medical issues we also advise clients to contact a medical professional for diagnosis.

4. Can you explain exactly how our physical and mental health affects hair and scalp, and why this is not something that is ‘just in the mind’?

Dr Mia Jing Gao: Physical and mental stress are well-recognised contributing factors in a wide range of skin and hair conditions. The stress hormone Cortisol rises when we are distressed, which drives changes in your skin and hair including increased oil production and inflammation. Women who experience high levels of stress are 11 times more likely to experience hair loss than those who do not report high stress levels. An event such as major stress, illness, pregnancy can shock the system and cause up to 70% of hairs to shift from growth phase to a resting phase, which results in shedding called ‘telogen effluvium’ around 2 months after the precipitating event.

5. Can menopause / hormonal imbalances affect hair and scalp health? 

Shona Bisset: Hormonal imbalances and menopause can have an affect on hair thickness and hair loss. Post-menopausal woman have been shown to have smaller hair diameters and slower growth rates than those of pre-menopausal woman. Women that have gone through menopause commonly see less hair and thinning of hair around the frontal scalp/ hair line. Hormonal imbalances can only be addressed through medications prescribed through a doctor. For those going through menopause, look for hair thickening treatments that help to reduce hair breakage such Windle Lab Fortifying Shampoo & Conditioner to help strengthen and Invisible Day & Night Cream for an additional boost of leave-in moisture.

6. Can damage to the hair and scalp be reversed?

Dr Mia Jing Gao: Hair loss can be grouped into non-scarring (reversible) and scarring (permanent) types. Non-scarring hair loss is common and can be regarded as a normal part of aging. 50% of men have male pattern hair loss over the age of 50. Non-scarring hair loss can be reversed or improved with treatment. Scarring hair loss is much rarer and includes autoimmune conditions such as lupus and lichen planopilaris. The hair loss in these conditions is not reversible so it is important to see a medical professional and start treatment early.

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