By Emma North
If you’ve ever experienced a scalp massage, you’ll know it does a great job of releasing tension and feels sublime—but is there any truth behind scalp massage promoting hair growth? We asked the experts to weigh in and show us the science behind this beauty rumor.
There’s plenty of hype out there behind scalp massage as a hair growth treatment.
Hair thinning is an incredibly common problem, with over 40% of women experiencing hair loss or slowing growth. It can be caused by a number of factors such as pregnancy, medical treatment, stress, or just plain old genetics. It can also be triggered by heat styling habits—even when using the best hair dryer or best hair straighteners.
Countless remedies promise to thicken and fortify thin locks, and it’s been said that by massaging your scalp, you will stimulate blood flow to the area and promote quicker and healthier hair growth. But could the solution really be as simple as a regular scalp massage to sort our fine hair woes?
Does scalp massage for hair growth work?
We put this question to Trichologist Dr. Nick Fisherman of Wyndham Private Specialist Clinic. “Certainly. A scalp massage using the right technique can help hair growth by stimulating and improving the blood circulation within the hair follicles,” explains Dr. Fisherman.
Every hair starts in the hair follicle, where the bulb of the hair sits, and a good blood supply is essential for healthy hair growth. According to research, scalp massage causes blood vessels under the skin to dilate, generating more blood to the area. The stimulation stretches out the cells of hair follicles which causes these follicles to produce thicker hair strands.
We asked Zoe Irwin, hair expert and woman&home Hair Awards judge who helped us pick the best hair products of 2021, her thoughts on scalp massage. “It’s really about creating a healthy environment for hair to grow. If you can just manipulate your scalp every day, all through the crown, I promise you will see much better quality hair come through.”
Scalp massage step-by-step
1. Use your fingertips
“Boost blood and circulation to the follicles by gently massaging and moving your scalp with your finger pads or for a more in-depth massage, use a brush to help increase hair health and shine,” says Zoe. Do it before bed to induce relaxation or throughout the day for a quick pick-me-up.
2. Try a brush
For an effective scalp massage that won’t damage your hair, a flexible brush like a Manta works wonders. Apply the flexible brush so it sits flat on the scalp, start to scrape from the base of your skull, and work in an upwards motion towards the crown of your head.
3. A gentle press
Zoe suggests that by ‘pressing’ your scalp brush into the hair, an acupuncture-like effect is produced. “When you go to India, you lie on something called Shakti (acupressure) mats which stimulate your body. I use my brush in the same way.” Move the brush through the hair and pause to press into the scalp.
4. Make small circles
If you’re using your fingers or a brush, gently move around the head using small circular motions to release tension and really manipulate the skin. The goal is to bring blood to the area, and small circles will focus your energies.
The best products for scalp health
Scalp massage is certainly an effective hair hack for boosting growth and encouraging healthy, thicker hair to grow. You can take your scalp massage to the next level however by incorporating a few scalp health products as well.
How to prevent hair loss
If you want fuller, thicker hair, there are some do’s and don'ts when it comes to lifestyle. Obvious factors like partaking in regular exercise, eating a healthy, balanced diet, and quitting smoking will contribute to the normal functioning of the cells in your body.
Dr. Nick also suggests that constantly wearing hats may cause hair loss. “Avoid wearing caps all the time and avoid tight banding of hair if you have long hair to avoid traction alopecia,” he says.
Traction alopecia is a hair loss condition where if the hair is repeatedly pulled at, whether that’s through hair ties, clips or braids, you are left with bald patches. It can be reversed with care and attention, but in severe cases, it can be permanent.
Sometimes there is no physical reason as to why you might be experiencing hair loss. Your hair follicles might be perfectly functional, but intense feelings of stress and inward emotions can trigger this outward symptom too.
It is easier said than done but try to remove or avoid highly stressful situations in your life. There are many different ways of coping with stress, but meditation techniques, regular exercise, and seeking professional help are all options that you can explore to help you cope during stressful times.
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