Actions to avoid in your quest for a healthy scalp

Scratching Your Scalp

Scratching your scalp too often or too vigorously can cause irritation and even lead to temporary loss of hair. While thoughtful stimulation is good to promote circulation, care should be taken to protect the scalp and prevent bruising or small tears from things like fingernails, combs, and stiff brushes. Try using your fingertips, instead of nails, and swapping questionable hair tools with a paddle brush with coated bristles. Always, always, be gentle.

Don’t Ignore Dandruff

Dandruff is a build up of dead skin cells. There are several types of dandruff:

  • Dry Dandruff – Most typically small, salt-like skin flakes. Larger flakes and an inflamed scalp may indicate a more serious chronic condition called psoriasis which gets worse the more flakes are picked at.
  • Oily Dandruff – Indicates a lack of shampooing, stimulation and/or exfoliation.

If taking special care at home does not work and the problem persists, this could be a sign of a deeper issue and you may want to seek the direction of an expert such as a trichologist or dermatologist.

Products to avoid using on natural African-American Hair


Cleansing and hydration are the mantra of those wishing to achieve and maintain healthy natural hair. When choosing products, there are a few ingredients you should be diligent about avoiding – namely, sulfates and silicones. Black hair is particularly fragile and, generally, cannot stand the harsh drying effects of sulfates. Because sulfates strip your hair’s natural oils leading to dry and brittle hair choose gentle shampoos to care for your locks.

Dangerous, harsh sulfates include:

-Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
-Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
-TEA Laureth Sulfate
-TEA Lauryl Sulfate

What about clarifying shampoos that contain sulfates?

Clarifying shampoos should be used no more than once monthly, if at all, to remove product build-up. Even so, you’ll still want to avoid the above products.

Following is a list of sulfates that are gentle enough to use for clarifying:

-Polyoxethylene Fatty Alcohols
-PEG 80
-Sorbitan Laurate
-Decyl Polyglucose
-Cocamidoprpyl Betaine
-Sodium Myreth Sulfate
-Sodium Laureth Sulfate


Silicones (especially non-soluble such as Dimethicone or Cyclomethicone ) coat the hair and prevent moisture, protein, or other products from penetrating the hair shaft. When silicone products are continually applied to hair, the buildup from the silicone coating eventually causes breakage. Thus, if you do choose to use products containing silicon – whether soluble or non-soluble – it is important to clarify your hair after to prevent this damaging buildup.