This week I had the pleasure to attend an event about medical haircare and scalp health. It changed completely how I view my haircare routine and to be honest I was quite shocked. Today I want to share with you what I learned from my quick interview with trichologist Mark Birch and his presentation about scalp health. This post is more about general tips on scalp health, reviews of the products will come later!
About Mark Birch Trichologist
Mark Birch, Trichologist (hair and scalp specialist), is internationally recognized as one of the world’s experts in scalp and haircare. He is based in London, but has worked in the Dubai region over many years. In Dubai, he met his business partner, Tuija Lindstrom, and together they are launching own line of cruelty free, vegan haircare for treating multiple scalp and hair (loss) problems. Soon available in hair and beauty salons (December 2018 in Finland, for more information please contact Rebel Helsinki).
Some Key Points On Healthy Haircare
It’s all about the scalp. While our hair is dead material, our scalp has living pores like our face and skin does. The main hair concern for people is obviously hair loss and basically anything can disturb our scalp internally and externally: antibiotics, medications, stress, product buildup, diet, sleep, menopause, pregnancy, genetics. There’s also several types of hair loss, such as scaring and non-scaring and one fix doesn’t work for all: not only hair types vary, but so does the pH of local water.
People tend seek help when they have hair concerns but the key is to looking after your scalp. According to Mark Birch, preventive care is the best: general health, high emphasis on nutrition, lifestyle and hygiene. You should wash your scalp every day. Every. Day. Blogs and Youtube are full of tips how to extend time between washes when we should be washing our scalp daily: just like we wash our face and body. Our scalp produces new skin cells (just like our skin) and the top layer is dead, there’s sweat, oil, product buildup, etc. that should be washed off.
We should also pay attention to styling products and make sure they don’t touch the scalp: common hairspray is basically glue and alcohol, meant for our hair (dead) and not scalp (living). Obviously you don’t want to touch your scalp with heat styling tools.
Mark recommends using a mild, natural shampoo. “If you can’t wash your face and eyes with it, why should you use it for your scalp?” Massage 1€ coin size of shampoo to your scalp and let it be for 3-4 minutes, meanwhile wash your body/face and then rinse off the shampoo carefully. Conditioner should only be applied to the hair and ends of our hair, let be for a moment and then rinse.
Above: Mark Birch Trichologist showing patient before-and-after photos.
My Hair Background and SUrprising Diagnosis
Before this I hadn’t paid any attention to my scalp. Yes it itches sometimes, but that’s just the weather right? I don’t suffer from any product sensitivities, dandruff, hair loss, oily scalp, problems with hair growth or so forth. Actually my hair is pretty easy to manage: it’s thick and coarse, so only thing I’m lusting after is shine and moisture. My parents’ hair types are completely opposite: fine, thin Finnish hair or baldness. While I’ve been focusing on my hair itself, I’ve completely neglected my scalp. I had no idea about preventative care, I thought you use scalp tonics only when you’re loosing hair?
After my interview and Mark’s presentation, I had a chance for a quick diagnosis. Normally the Trichologist does a complete interview (background on lifestyle, diet, health problems, medications etc) and blood work, but now he just asked some key questions while examining my scalp.
While my hair growth was okay, it didn’t take him even a minute to observe that I have eczema. Eczema?!! When I went home I rushed to the mirror and took a look at my scalp: I could see dryness and tiny flakes. While I’ve suffered from itchiness I would’ve never guessed… nor paid attention. I don’t suffer from eczema anywhere else on my body so I didn’t even consider it’d be possible on my scalp.
Future Scalp Goals
Obviously, I’m trying to get my scalp back to normal. It might not be easy this time of the year when it’s freezing outside and there’s central heating indoors, but I’ll try. I was kindly gifted some press samples of Mark Birch Trichologist products (their packaging will change slightly) and I will try them and perhaps some other very mild shampoos or soaps. I will also start washing my hair every day. There. Now when it’s said out loud, I must try my very best to do it. I’m so glad my hair is short and doesn’t take ages to dry.. Of course, I write a comprehensive review on the products once I’ve used them long enough and update you on my scalp health.
Have you ever suffered about hair or scalp issues? How did you treat them?