Despite the plethora of scalp care products—and the surge of interest and education in the last several years—experts note that people are still mistreating their scalp. There are the people who leave on product, dry shampoo, and buildup for far too long without giving their scalp a proper exfoliation; on the other end of the spectrum, there are those who overdo it with cleansing and strip their delicate skin of its natural oils, throwing sebum production out of sorts (much like you can do with the face).
Only you will know what your particular needs are based on your scalp, hair type, and lifestyle. “It really just comes down to education: Learn about the different factors at play when it comes to your scalp and hair health, then you can adjust your behaviors based on that,” says certified trichologist Shab Reslan about listening to your scalp.
If you need help translating your scalp’s language, there are several signs to look for that can help you figure out what the issue is. If you are experiencing buildup, painful inflammation, and large, waxy flakes, it’s a sign that you need to exfoliate more. On the other end of the spectrum, if the skin is tight and produces small, white flakes, it may be a sign your scalp is too dry and you need to moisturize with scalp oils.