Scalp Conditions & Treatments with Simone Lee of Australian Institute of Trichology
Welcome fabulous readers to our very special edition, and first of many to come, guest interview blog. We have been ever so lucky to have connected with Simone Lee, Creative Education Director at Australian Institute of Trichology who spoke with us about scalp conditions and treatments, including causes and home-care.
Who’s excited? Let’s get to it…
Steph: Firstly, thanks so much for your time, Simone. We appreciate time is precious and we’re grateful to have your expertise at our fingertips to pass onto our readers. Can you provide us with your professional background?
Simone: Today, my work is multifaceted amongst our fantastic industry genres, such as education, creative design, business ownership, Trichologist, film and fashion artist, product development, and more. I have just completed a formal qualification in Trichology and most recently a Masters Degree in Leadership and embark on studying for a PhD in business.
Steph: Wow, what a woman! With your diverse range of interests and professional ventures, what sparked your interest in specialising in scalp conditions?
Simone: I decided to study hair science to gain a competitive edge against multi-million-dollar salons and profile artists to achieve my dreams without spending vast amounts of money (expensive salon fit-outs, award competitions, etc.). I realized something was missing from the artistic nature of hair design, and that was hair science. I knew, not only would study this bring me so much happiness when it came to client care and service, enhance my brand belief of trust, and do no harm but also provide me with the creative edge to achieve a fantastic career.
Steph: From the sounds of it, you’re extremely ambitious and well on your way to building a fantastic career! What are the most common scalp conditions you see?
Dry scalp Dry scalp occurs when the scalp's skins are unable to maintain a suitable level of moisture. The acidic nature of the skin can become compromised. Many different factors can cause the scalp to become dehydrated such as:
· Exposure to outdoor cool air and wind
· Indoor heated air during winter and air conditioning during summer
· Low intake of water consumption and inadequate nutritional food intake
· Excessive exposure to hot temperatures from styling tools (one of the biggest culprits) and,
· Medical skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, dandruff illness, and hormone imbalances. Hair may become dryer, brittle, knotty, and appear to have less shine, while the scalp can become sensitive, tight, itchy, and white flakes of skin may occur.
Thinning The loss and replacement of scalp and body hair are maintained by the hair growth cycle. Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. Human hair's rate of growth and the tendency to retain or loose hair is passed down genetically.
The most common cause of hair loss in people is Androgenic Alopecia (male / female pattern hair thinning). Genetics, age, and hormonal changes cause shrinking of terminal hair on the scalp, which is replaced by fine vellus hair resulting in thinner-looking strands and, in many cases, full or partial baldness.
During average hair growth, cycle hair will enter into its resting phase known as Telogen. During this phase, a new hair is growing inside the hair follicle and pushes the old hair out, causing it to shed away from the scalp. Most people will have a hair growth cycle between three and seven years, and approximately 90 per cent of scalp hair is actively growing. However, there are many different health-related conditions and medical treatments (such as chemotherapy) that can disrupt one or more phases of the HGC, resulting in a large percentage of hair beginning shedding from the scalp suddenly.
Steph: Great, thank you. If you have a scalp condition, are there certain products you should avoid using?
Simone: Everyone's hair and scalp are unique and need to be treated as such. Perhaps the most common products consumers question are hair colourants. Now more than ever, hairstylists must have a sound knowledge of modern colour systems, their ingredients (including those that may cause allergic reactions), how they work about hair and the difference between organic and organic hair colourants are. Knowledge is true power.
There are several chemicals found within hair colourants that have been known to irritate, like -
· Paraphenyldiamine (PPD), Toluene 2-5 diamnine (TD), and Toluene-2-5-diamine sulphate
· Ethanol-amine (ETA, MEA) mainly used in ammonia-free colourants
· Resorcinol – aromatic alcohol found in hair colour and bleaching products.
· Sodium Laurel Sulphate is the salt of lauryl sulphate and can irritate the skin
· Lead Acetate – often found in colour restorers, is often used as an additive in progressive hair dye products.
Steph: And, what about away from the salon? Can you suggest an at-home care routine?
Simone: As mentioned earlier, everyone's hair and scalp are unique and should be managed best tailored to individual needs to promote hair and scalp health. People should seek advice from a qualified hairstylist.
Steph: That is some sound advice. Speaking of advice, are there some "not so obvious" signs that someone with a scalp condition might be best to seek professional help?
Simone: Often, hairstylists can see unusual growths or moles on the scalp that develop throughout their relationship with a guest. Hairstylists need to inform their clients of these types of abnormalities.
Steph: What are the most common questions you get asked by guests?
Simone: A common question asked by salon guests, are those undergoing chemotherapy treatments – “is it still ok to have my hair coloured?”. Firstly, anyone who has had chemo should consult their doctor before deciding to colour their hair. Secondly, hairstylists need to understand that the chemicals in common hair treatments, like hair dyes or perm solutions, can irritate fragile skin and hair. They give off fumes that may cause nausea, eye irritation, and other problems. Dying or processing hair may expose the guest to additional chemicals, and these processes may also weaken the hair shaft.
Steph: You’ve discussed with us some of the environmental factors that can affect the condition of a scalp, but can age play a part?
Simone: Many types of hair loss conditions (Alopecia) exist that can occur at any stage throughout a person's life, which may be either temporary or permanent. Quite often, people can have more than one type of hair loss condition occurring at once. As women (and men) age, the thickness of individual hair strands can decline, especially after the age of 40, and even though the white or grey hair can feel coarse, the overall density of the hair decreases. The loss of melanin pigment and the reduction in keratin protein can make the hair reflect poorly and appear duller in light, and the hair growth rate generally slows after 40.
Genetics, age, and hormonal changes also cause the shrinking of terminal the hair on the scalp.
Steph: In our previous blog we spoke about how diet can affect your hair quality. Can your diet also directly affect your scalp?
Simone: One of the most critical aspects to acknowledge and understand in the quest for healthy hair is nutrition plays an important role, especially in the long term. Consuming appropriate amounts of the six essential nutrients –