Hair Care

By Kathryn Holl

Let’s face it. The word “itch” isn’t exactly associated with the most pleasant of things: jock itch, the seven-year itch, and when it comes to hair – itchy scalp. We’d like to paint a better picture but the truth is that dry, itchy scalp is a common issue that many people face. When irritated, the skin of the scalp becomes tight and even flaky. Irritation can be caused by a myriad of stimulants in which seasonal changes play a big role. Most dry scalp conditions are mistreated as dandruff, but fortunately, treatments such as the Four Step Hair and Scalp Treatment Kit and Anti-Flake Relief Shampoo from Philip B offer remedy. We were lucky enough not only to test out the kit for ourselves, but to also obtain some useful tips and information from Philip himself. Here’s a rundown on what he had to say about understanding and solving the dry scalp dilemma.

BN: What causes dry scalp?
Philip B: Dry scalp can be caused by improper diet and being in an environment that lacks humidity. When your humidity level drops, your body goes into moisture shock -causing your skin and scalp to dry out (dries out from the inside out). Poor diet can cause your scalp to dry out as well.

BN: What are the symptoms?
Philip B: Flaking, dry skin, and itching. Greater hair comes from greater scalps. The healthier the scalp, the stronger the roots.

BN: Is it hereditary?
Philip B: No dry scalp is not hereditary. Your environment and nutrition causes dry scalp. Dry scalp = dry skin.

BN: Can one prevent dry scalp?
Philip B: There are several ways one can prevent and treat dry scalp. Get into a steam room and breath in the steam. Eat fresh foods that contain water and oxygen to nourish the skin. Eat foods rich in oils like avocado and fish. One can also use vitamin E topically on the scalp and skin. Moisturizing shampoos are great. Try one with shea butter. It’s the best. Begin a brushing regimen. Brush your hair before you shampoo and always comb your hair when it is wet.

BN: Do coloring and straightening treatments irritate the scalp?
Philip B: They can depending on the color treatment. Semi-permanent will not. Bleach will irritate. Permanent color will damage the scalp if you are sensitive or allergic to the product. In fact, it can cause your scalp to shed like a snake. The level of irritation depends on the levels of peroxide and ammonia. Peroxide and ammonia are classified as caustic chemicals. All permanent hair color contains ammonia and peroxide. High lift tint can also irritate the skin and scalp. The higher the lift, the higher the burn.

BN: What causes flaking?
Philip B: Lack of humidity and malnutrition. Pretty much anything that causes dry skin. From dandruff to yeast imbalance. Steer clear of foods that exacerbate yeast in the body. Anything with yeast. Clean your life up! Use products that contains chamomile, shea butter, zinc, tea tree oil etc.

BN: Are certain types of hair more prone to dry scalp?
Philip B: It has nothing to do with the scalp. However, people with fine hair tend to have more dry scalp because they have less follicles per square inch, which means less oil glands per square inch.

Not ready to give up the pizza and fries just yet? Don’t worry. Philip’s Four Step Hair and Scalp Treatment Kit could just be considered a facial for the scalp. This kit normalizes scalp circulation and reduces build-up of excess cells. Application is a bit time-consuming, but certainly worth the fuss. After brushing hair thoroughly, apply the Philip B Rejuvenating Hair Oil, made with 10 plant and flower oils. Saturate a small amount to one-inch sections of dry, unwashed hair from scalp to tips. Apply heat with your blow dryer for a few minutes and leave on for 20-45 minutes for dry hair, 45 minutes – 2 hours for dry/damaged hair and overnight for maximum conditioning. For your first application, we recommend that you start out with no more than half an hour (unless your hair is excessively damaged) and leave oil on longer the next time you apply depending on results. Rinse oil with the Peppermint and Avocado Shampoo and Deep Conditioning Creme Rinse. Tress Tip: Use a fine-tooth comb to work the conditioner through before rinsing. This goes for all conditioners; it’s a great way to saturate the hair with moisture.

Complete the process with the Detangling Finishing Rinse. Spray a small amount of mist onto the ends of wet, non towel-dried hair and style as usual. Use this kit on very dehydrated hair one to two times a week and up to four times a month on normal hair. Philip suggests performing the treatment one to two days before applying color as it allows pigment to deposit more evenly.

If time is not on your side, try the Anti-Flake Shampoo. This shampoo made a significant difference after just one wash. As with the Peppermint and Avocado Shampoo, leave on scalp for 2-3 minutes before rinsing. Tress tip: It took a good five minutes (possibly more depending on thickness and texture of hair) to completely rinse out the shampoo. Make sure to rinse all product thoroughly to avoid weighing hair down.

Whether you change your diet or add a few new steps to your hair care regimen, hopefully you won’t have to relocate to a warmer climate just to find relief from dry, itchy scalp. The Philip B Four Step Hair and Scalp Treatment Kit retails for $79.50 at Barneys New York. Philip B’s Anti-Flake Relief Shampoo retails for $34.00. Both products are available on www.philipB.com.

Originally published April 2006
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