Scalp Exfoliation Simplified: Everything You Need to Know

The skin is the largest organ of the body. Just like the skin on your arms, legs, and face–the skin on your scalp needs to be cared for.

the process of a smooth & bouncy flexi rod set

Shampoo can remove the majority of dirt and oil that accumulate on the scalp. And your body constantly sheds to replace old scalp skin cells with new scalp skin cells.

However, sometimes your scalp can use a little extra help. That’s where exfoliation comes in. In this article I will share everything you need to know about exfoliating your scalp. 

What is Scalp Exfoliation?

Scalp exfoliation describes the process of removing dead skin cells from the scalp. It can be done using a chemical substance that dissolves dirt and oil, or manually with a scrub or exfoliating brush. 

Why Should You Exfoliate Your Scalp?

You might be wondering if scalp exfoliation is necessary. There are a number of benefits of exfoliating your scalp:

  • eliminates product buildup
  • promotes hair growth
  • improves dandruff
  • helps regulate sebum production
  • improves the overall health of your hair
  • soothes and relieves an itchy scalp
the process of a smooth & bouncy flexi rod set

Types of Exfoliants 

There are two main types of exfoliants–physical and chemical. Both are effective at removing dead skin cells from the scalp. However, the application process of physical versus chemical exfoliants varies slightly. You may find one type of exfoliant more beneficial than the other.

Chemical exfoliants usually contain retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids that gently remove the upper layer of skin. With the help of substances like salicylic, glycolic, or lactic acid, chemical exfoliants dissolve the protein bonds that hold dead skin cells together to reveal a fresh new layer of skin underneath.

Physical exfoliants require manual pressure and scrubbing with either an exfoliation tool or a scrub containing coarse salt, sugar, or beads that will slough away dead skin.

woman with a smooth and bouncy flexi rod set natural hairstyle holding products to moisturize natural hair

How to Exfoliate Your Scalp

There are various ways to exfoliate your scalp. The easiest way to remove buildup, calm irritation, and reduce dry & flaky scalp is to use a scalp system like our VoiceOfHair Pure Relief Scalp System.

  • Step 1: Part your hair into 4-6 sections
  • Step 2: Spray a Scalp Mist to break up heavy buildup & stubborn flakes.
  • Step 3: Apply a Detoxifying Pre-Shampoo Treatment to dry scalp and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Rub the treatment into your scalp and lightly exfoliate with a comb to loosen flakes and debris.
  • Step 4Shampoo and condition your hair.

What You Shouldn’t Do

Scalp exfoliation can be extremely beneficial to your hair and scalp health. However, you should be cautious when exfoliating to be sure that you do not cause damage. Here is what you shouldn’t do when exfoliating your scalp:

1.) Don’t be too rough: The scalp is very sensitive. If you scrub too harshly, you can irritate and even cut the skin. This can lead to an infection or hair loss. Exfoliating too abrasively can also cause the hair to break near the root.
2) Don’t over exfoliate: It is not necessary to exfoliate more than once a week. If you exfoliate too often, you can irritate and dry out the scalp.
3) Don’t use products that cause a reaction or irritate your scalp: Chemical exfoliants may contain ingredients that your scalp is sensitive to. If your scalp becomes red, painful, inflamed, or itchy after exfoliation, you should discontinue the use of that product and find another alternative.  

woman with a smooth and bouncy flexi rod set natural hairstyle holding a leave in moisturizing cream for natural hair

The Key Takeaway 

Exfoliating the scalp provides a number of benefits. It removes buildup and allows moisture to reach the scalp. It increases blood circulation and stimulates hair growth. Scalp exfoliation can even help lessen the symptoms of scalp conditions like dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.

You can make your own homemade scalp scrubs, or purchase a scalp system that will make it simple and easy for you to exfoliate and revive your scalp. 

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Brandelyn Green is the Founder of VoiceOfHair, a platform to help women of color find the best hair care products, regimens and hairstyles! Since starting VoiceOfHair in 2014 she has grown the social media platform to over 1MM+ on Instagram and Facebook. As a natural who is also a salon goer, she wanted to create a platform where people could find the best products, hairstylists, advice and trends.
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