Do you struggle with dull, lifeless hair? Maybe you’re dealing with hair build up which may worsen if you don’t work on it. But what is hair build up? This blog post answers this question while explaining how to get rid of build up in hair to restore smoothness and shine to your strands.
What is Hair Buildup?
Hair buildup, also known as scalp buildup, is the accumulation of dead skin cells, sweat, hair products, and natural oil or sebum, on the scalp, leading to dull, dry, flaky hair. Hair products like sprays, gels, shampoos, and conditioners can also leave residue on the user’s hair. This residue’s accumulation can create a layer that makes hair appear greasy, dull, and heavy. Also, you may experience symptoms like those of eczema, scalp psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis after developing scalp build up. These include crusty or oily skin, itchiness, and skin redness.
What Causes Hair Buildup?
Sebum and product build up in hair happens when skincare products and natural oil that moisturizes hair get stuck on the scalp or hair over time. While sebum moisturizes hair, its excessive production can build up on scalp, making your hair greasy and heavy. Other causes of hair buildup include environmental pollutants, chlorine, and silicones. Styling gels, creams, shampoos, ointments, foams, oils, and conditions can also accumulate into your scalp and hair making it dull, greasy, dry, and itchy. Also, your sweat and dead skin cells can build up on your hair and scalp.
How Do You Know If Your Hair Has Buildup?
Build up on scalp and hair has several symptoms. Here are some of them:
- Zero frizz: If your hair frizzes but mysteriously stops, you might have developed a scalp build up. This happens due to the buildup of stickiness and weight.
- Product’s appearance on your brush: If you notice a whitish substance on your comb or hair brush, your hair might have a buildup. This white stuff differs from dandruff since it’s not like sebum and it’s not flakey.
- Darker hair: Strands appear darker than usual when you have dead skin cells, sebum, and product build up in hair. Without this buildup, hair should appear smooth with cuticles reflecting light to create a shiny appearance.
- Brushing challenges: Brushing well-conditioned strands is relatively easy. However, cuticles that glide smoothly against your brush or awkwardly lay flat, rubbing up against one another may signify a buildup. Your hair will likely tangle, creating some resistance when it has a buildup.
- Waxy feeling: Hair should feel bouncy, light, or clean. However, if your hair feels heavier or waxy, it likely has this buildup.
- Flat hair: Products or sebum buildup weighs down your strands. Consequently, your hair is not clean or bouncy. Also, getting a good volume becomes challenging when you have scalp buildup.
Buildup on Different Hair Types
When product residue and sebum accumulate on hair, its appearance differs depending on hair type. However, it’s mostly in the form of thin films or white-grayish flakes and itchy scales. Some people get soft or tender spots on the scalp. Your hair can feel stiff with loose flakes and dirt under the nails when you scratch it.
If you notice a clunky, greasy, or heavy feel, accompanied by a bad odor, you may have a hair buildup. Also, your strands may look dull and feel dry because the buildup prevents cuticles from absorbing oil or moisture. Moreover, some people experience brittle hair prone to breakage since the strands don’t get sufficient nourishment.
In some cases, hair loses its natural volume becoming lanky and limp. Its movement stops being fluid or bouncy. Thus, strands stop holding the usual shape, regardless of the reviving products or styling a person applies.
How to Get Rid of Hair Buildup
You’re most likely reading this blog post because you want to know how to remove product buildup from hair. While this buildup may sound scary, you can remove it to restore shine and smoothness to your strands. Here are practical tips to remove buildup from hair.
A clarifying shampoo has robust cleansing agents that remove buildup from hair and scalp. It removes oil, stubborn dirt, and product build from the scalp and strands. Its active ingredients include citric acid and sulfates that dissolve dirt and filth, making it easy to wash away.
Some natural remedies can dissolve and remove product and sebum buildup from your scalp. For instance, Apple cider vinegar has alpha-hydroxy and acetic acid, which cleanse and degrease hair and restore the natural scalp’s pH balance. Oatmeal and brown sugar scrub can also help. While oatmeal moisturizes and soothes the scalp, brown sugar exfoliates it. However, please avoid scalp exfoliation if you have a scalp condition or infection like psoriasis, ringworm, or lice.
Have you used natural remedies yet soreness and itching persist? If so, please talk to a dermatologist or physician. An underlying condition may be the reason for a scalp with flakes and big scaly when you touch it. Psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis can cause or amplify gunk formation. Therefore, a healthcare professional can recommend a medical shampoo for fixing the discomfort or treating the underlying condition.
Scalp treatment is more relaxing when dealing with scalp or hair buildup. A haircare expert can assess the scalp and recommend an appropriate treatment depending on your needs. For instance, they may recommend deep scalp cleansing, which involves thoroughly cleaning the scalp to remove excess product, dead skin cells, and oil buildup. Also, they may recommend hair products with peppermint oil or tea tree oil with antibacterial and antifungal properties to prevent further buildup.
How Can You Prevent Hair Build Up?
You can prevent products or sebum from building up in your hair in several ways. Here’s how to maintain a flake-free, healthy hair and scalp.
Maintaining a Healthy Haircare Regimen
Using natural, gentle hair conditioners and cleansers can lower the risk of product and sebum buildup in your hair. Also, avoid overusing silicone-based products. Silicone treats frizz while coating hair to protect it from heat. However, this coating builds up in the hair shafts, making your hair and scalp feel and appear dirty.
Washing Thoroughly and Frequently
Regular and frequent hair cleaning can prevent products and sebum from building up in your hair. However, the washing frequency varies depending on hair type. On average, you should wash oily hair after one or two days. If you have sensitive or dry hair, wash it after three or four days. Nevertheless, wash you’re your hair more frequently if you notice dead skin cells.
Using the Right Haircare Products
Using the correct hair conditioner and shampoo, depending on your scalp needs and hair type can prevent this buildup. Therefore, read the ingredients when buying a hair conditioner or shampoo. If you have a dry scalp and hair, buy an all-natural shampoo with tea tree, coconut, and jojoba oil. The fatty acids in these ingredients reduce hair breakage and strengthen the strands.
Aloe vera and shea butter are natural conditioners and moisturizers that restore hair and make it healthier. Organic products with plant-derived cleansing agents wash scalp buildup without removing the natural oils. For instance, products with coconut and argan oil have moisturizing and hydrating effects yet they do not harm hair and the environment.
Dead skin cells, hair products, and natural oils accumulate on hair and scalp creating flakes similar to what happens when a person has seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis. However, you can prevent it by cleansing your hair frequently and using the correct conditioner and shampoo depending on your hair type. Also, you may talk to your doctor if you’re unable to remove scalp or hair build up alone.