The ‘skinification’ of hair care is going to be one of the biggest wellness trends in 2024. Scalp health is having a moment and as a result scalp clinics are popping up to meet the demand.  Just like facials, scalp treatments need to be carried out by knowledgeable professionals, using efficacious products and techniques. Unlike some trends, this one is here to stay as a healthy scalp is instrumental in hair growth and condition.  House of Coco caught up with Anabel Kingsley, Consultant Trichologist, and Brand President of the Philip Kingsley Clinics to find why we should be getting onboard when it comes to scalp health.

Why is it important to treat the scalp as diligently as we do our skin?

Your scalp is skin – it’s simply an extension of the skin on your forehead. As such, it’s exposed to similar environmental aggressors as the skin on your face, and also sweats, produces oils and sheds skin cells, so it should be given similar care. In terms of hair growth, your scalp is your hair’s support system and is the bedrock of your hair follicles. A flaky scalp can increase daily hair fall and can also weaken hairs as they emerge from their follicle.

How does a scalp consultation differ from a traditional visit to the hairdressers?

Trichology and hairdressing are two different specialisms. Trichologists are scientists of the hair and scalp and we are trained to recognise and treat various disorders and problems that can impact the hair and scalp. A hairdresser has expertise in styling, cutting, colouring and chemical processing. 

What are the biggest scalp issues you are seeing in clinic?

The most common scalp condition is dandruff, followed by seborrhoeic dermatitis (an oilier, inflamed version of dandruff) and then psoriasis. Dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis usually occur when you have an overgrowth of certain yeasts, called the Malassezia yeasts, on your scalp – this causes skin cells to turnover too rapidly leading to tell-tale, loose and often greasy flakes. Malassezia yeasts thrive in an oily environment, so having an oily scalp can cause and exacerbate dandruff and seb derm. In fact, dandruff is sometimes solely caused by not cleansing your scalp often enough and/or not shampooing correctly. Psoriasis is completely different – it’s an auto-immune skin condition which causes skin cells to divide much too fast (within days rather than weeks) and results in thick, tight, white plaques with bleeding points underneath. Psoriasis and seborrhoeic dermatitis can also occur together.

We treat each of these conditions on a daily basis at our clinics in London and New York. We use bespoke scalp masks, shampoo and toner (which vary depending on the condition), as well as massage, steam and red light to help clear scalp conditions. We also look into dietary and lifestyle factors that may be aggravating the scalp.

What benefits can individuals expect from incorporating scalp treatments into their skincare routines?

If you have a scalp condition, clearing it will make you much more comfortable physically, but it will also benefit your self-esteem and how your hair looks and behaves. Longer term, caring for your scalp will help with hair growth. We take a very holistic approach to scalp health, looking into general health, diet and lifestyle factors.

What are the innovative techniques or technologies your clinic uses to improve scalp health?

What is currently seen as innovative and ‘trendy’ is old news to us! We’ve been shouting about scalp health and treating scalp like skin for decades – my father, Philip Kingsley, was the first person to link scalp health to hair growth and came out with his first scalp mask, tonic and shampoo in the 1940s. In terms of what we are doing differently from what we used to do, our formulas have changed and been updated. However, we don’t jump on new fads or technologies for the sake of it – we only adopt new methods if there is real clinical data, studies and evidence that proves it can benefit. We use ingredients and techniques that we know work.

What are the top misconceptions about scalp health that you often encounter?

Shampooing frequency. Many people believe that shampooing daily will increase the scalp’s oil production. This simply isn’t true. Just like washing your face every day doesn’t make it greasier, washing your scalp won’t make it oilier.

Massage brushes. I don’t recommend these. They can be abrasive and damage both the scalp and hair. Your fingertips are your best tool when it comes to massage.

Rubbing oils into the scalp. As most scalp conditions are due to have an excess of oil, rubbing oils into your scalp is likely to make the flakes worse.

Does health and lifestyle factors impact scalp health?

Stress can worsen existing scalp conditions and trigger new ones. Stress causes inflammation and it can also increase your scalp’s oil production, disrupting its delicate balance of microbes. Eating certain foods, like too many full fat dairy products, can also aggravate the scalp. Hormonal fluctuations, like menstruation, pregnancy and menopause can also impact the condition of the scalp.

What advice would you give to individuals looking to maintain optimal scalp health between clinic visits?

Like your skin, you should cleanse your scalp frequently. Try to shampoo daily if you have fine hair or a scalp condition. However, if your hair is very coiled or long, try not to leave more than three days between shampoos as it will negatively impact the condition of your scalp. You should also use a daily toner to combat flakes or itchiness and mask weekly to exfoliate dead skin cells. Everyone, even if you don’t have a problem with your scalp, should use an overnight scalp serum to help keep it in optimal condition – just like you use products to help keep your face healthy, even if you don’t have problematic skin.

To book into the clinic for an appointment please follow the link here, and if you would like to browse the products on offer, visit the Philip Kingsley website here.

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