Scalp care is the key to aiding hair loss, according to an expert

As we get older hair loss and thinning is all too common for many, but this doesn’t make it any less embarrassing and distressing.

(Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In women, it is more common in mid-life due to a number of factors including menopause, family history, general ageing and even stress and diet.

That is why during lockdown you may have noticed more hair in your brush and down the drain than usual. The pandemic has been hugely stressful for everyone and coupled with a lack of access to hair care professionals and treatments, we have all been left with hair that is in need of reviving. The key to healthy hair growth is a healthy scalp.

We spoke to Dr Serkan Aygin about what you can do to best prevent hair loss. With 24 years of experience in scalp dermatology, he is no stranger to helping out those in trouble. So read on to find out what you can do to help.

How should I be washing my hair for a healthy scalp?

A healthy scalp care routine involves regular cleansing to remove bacteria, sweat and excess oil from the skin. Taking steps to prevent over-drying and to boost the skin cell turnover process may also be necessary, depending upon your skin type and the environment in which you live. Really, it is just like the skin on the rest of your body.

To help keep scalp healthy year-round, follow these tips:

Shampoo regularly:Cleansing is one of the most important parts of scalp care, but what you shampoo with is just as important as how often you do it. Rather than shopping for shampoo at random, look for brands that have their basis in natural ingredients or those geared toward your specific scalp problems.

Exfoliate:If you suffer from dry skin or psoriasis, you may need to exfoliate two or three times per week; otherwise, exfoliating once weekly is generally adequate to remove dead skin cells from the surface of your scalp. Look for ingredients in shampoos such as white willow extract and salicylic acid. You can also purchase a gentle facial scrub and use it as a pre-treatment before you shampoo.

Massage:Once per week, spend 5 to 10 minutes massaging your scalp, using gentle circular motions. For the ultimate indulgence, consider getting a professional scalp massage.

Preserve moisture:Many common scalp problems arise from dry skin. When you shower, avoid exposing your scalp to hot water whenever possible. Instead, use warm or cold water for rinsing. Once or twice per week, skip blow-drying and allow your hair to naturally air dry to give the skin on your scalp a break from the drying heat of your hairdryer.

Is there anything else I could be doing?

Try a regular oil massage

Oiling your hair once a week is essential to provide it with nutrients and hydration.Mix essential oil with a carrier oil of your choice, warm it up and then apply to your scalp. Gently massage the oil into your scalp for 5 minutes and leave on for about an hour. Rinse off using shampoo and warm water.

Avoid tying hair up too often

Tying your hair up can cause breakage and even result in hair loss eventually. This happens because the roots are constantly being pulled that eventually causes them to break.

Use a hair mask

Just as a face mask works to nourish and hydrate your skin, a hair mask works in a similar way to boost the condition and health of your hair. The best hair masks for hair growth often contain ingredients, such as argan, jojoba, and other natural oils, that help nourish and strengthen hair follicles. But remember, diet and genetics play an important role in your hair, so a hair mask won't necessarily speed up growth, but it will prevent hair breakage and can improve the length and strength of your hair over time.

So what are the best products for scalp care?

Each scalp type should lookout for a number of specific ingredients. If you use some or all of these you should be well on your way to having a healthy scalp which will aid with hair loss.

For sensitive and irritated scalps:Oat extracts, milk-based ingredients and honey

For dry & flaky scalp:Salicylic acid, panthenol and natural oils

For oily scalps:Zinc-based ingredients such as, salicylic acid.

Rachel is a freelance contributor to woman&home, covering news as well as books, lifestyle and travel. Her byline has also appeared in The Independent, The Financial Times, ELLE Magazine, VICE, Glamour Magazine and others. She loves nothing more than talking with people to share their stories. When she is not writing you will definitely find her nose in a book or magazine, or perhaps training for the next half marathon, practicing yoga or eating in London's best restaurants.