Here are 4 simple steps to get rid of clogged and blocked hair follicles.
After reading this guide, you will be able to:
- Get rid of the scalp sebum build-up (also known as epidermis plaque) that is clogging up your hair follicles and reducing hair growth
- Stop the sebum coming back
- Reduce dandruff and hair shedding whilst improving the strength, thickness, and overall healthiness of your hair.
What Causes Blocked Follicles?
To understand what causes blocked follicles, it helps to understand the structure of the hair follicle.
While the hair follicle is an independent structure, it does exist alongside other structures within the skin. These include the pore and the sebaceous glands.
The hair follicle is composed of multiple parts. From the bottom up, these include the hair bulb (consisting of the dermal papilla and hair matrix), the outer root sheath, the inner root sheath, and the hair shaft.
The sebaceous gland is connected to the hair follicle on either side.
As the follicle shrinks, the sebaceous gland enlarges and takes up more space within the pore. As one might expect, the enlarged sebaceous gland will produce a disproportionate amount of sebum. This results in an oily scalp which increases the chances of blocked pores and hair follicles.
The consequences of blocked follicles are obvious, including stunted hair growth. The blockage may also lead to folliculitis, a painful condition characterized by inflammation and infection.
How to Get Rid of Clogged and Blocked Hair Follicles
Step One: Choose the Right Cleansing Shampoo
An alternative to store-bought shampoos is to make your own shampoo that does not contain harsh chemicals that could end up irritating your skin and later causing clogging from the damage.
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Here are the basics of how to make your own hair loss shampoo:
- Take 2 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar
- Add 1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda)
- Add 2 drops of tea tree oil (optional)
- Add 2 drops of peppermint essential oil (optional)
- Mix the ingredients in half a pint glass along with warm water
- Stir and wait to settle (the baking soda and apple cider vinegar will react)
- Pour onto wet hair inside the shower and massage into the scalp for 3 minutes
- Rinse out with warm (bot not hot) water.
The apple cider vinegar (ACV) and baking soda are natural cleansing agents that gently clean your scalp and hair without stripping away oils that actually protect the skin and hair.
If you would rather not make your own shampoo, then you will want to ensure you choose a shampoo with high-quality ingredients. You should consider shampoos containing ingredients such as tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and rosemary.
Step Two: Perform a Salicylic Acid Peel to Remove the Layer of Plaque
Dermatologists use salicylic acid to gently peel away the layer of dead skin cells revealing youthful, radiant skin underneath.
Although this method is used mostly on the face, it is the perfect way to remove the layers of dead skin, oil, DHT, and dirt that clog and block the pores and follicles of the scalp.
Salicylic Acid Scalp Peel
Here is how to perform a salicylic acid peel.
What You Need:
- Salicylic Acid
- Coconut Oil
Wash your hair, rinse thoroughly, and towel dry.
Apply the coconut oil to your scalp, ensuring it is spread thoroughly. This will protect your scalp from over-drying caused by salicylic acid.
Allow the coconut oil to sit for 30 minutes, and then use a dropper to apply small amounts of the salicylic acid to trouble areas of your scalp.
Leave in for 10 minutes, and then rinse and peel the remaining saliyclic acid.
A Scalp Peel Alternative
In this case, you can use the alternative peel below.
What You Need:
- 2 tablespoons of Himalayan sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon of olive oil
Combine the ingredients above. Shake the combination vigorously.
To use, pour the mixture into your palm and apply directly to the areas of your scalp with the most trouble. Gently massage the mixture in, using your fingertips and working them in small, circular motions.
Leave the mixture to sit on your scalp for 5-10 minutes, as the citric acid in the lemon needs time to break down scalp buildup. Rinse with lukewarm (or even better, cold) water.
It is very likely you will need to perform this peel a number of times before the plaque is fully removed. However, this will depend on the severity of the buildup and other factors.
For further results, you can use a hairbrush to remove the excess buildup. This will stimulate blood circulation while further helping to unclog the hair follicles.
Step Three: Reduce Scalp Damage with Colder Showers
Excessively hot showers can dry and damage the scalp. Although you may think the hot water would be good at unclogging and unblocking the pores, it actually causes more damage than it solves. The skin will dry out, causing inflammation and dandruff. The hair follicles will become dry and brittle, and the body will try to secrete oils to moisturize the scalp, making the problem worse.
The alternative option is to shower with lukewarm or, ideally, cold water.
Lukewarm and cold water will have fewer drying effects on the scalp. Cold showers can also boost circulation in the scalp helping to increase oxygen flow to blood vessels and making the hair follicles stronger.
Step Four: Improve Your Diet to Reduce Sebum Buildup
Improving your diet can help to naturally reduce the amount of plaque that builds up over time. It will also help improve the strength and growth speed of your hair.
Here are a few simple pointers to help improve your diet for a better scalp condition:
- Reduce unhealthy fats, such as frying oils, and those found in greasy foods.
- Eat less processed foods.
- Eat plentiful amounts of natural fats such as those from nuts, seeds, cold-water fish, and avocados.
- Eat a low-glycemic-load diet.
The goal is two-fold.
First, a diet following the guidelines above is less likely to result in excess sebum production. This has previously been implicated in conditions such as acne.
Second, a healthy, whole foods diet will ensure your body’s nutrient and mineral needs are met. This contributes to healthy hair growth from the inside.
It is common to experience sebum buildup on the scalp. After all, the scalp is exposed to many chemicals and irritants, including hair care products and pollutants. The bad news is that this buildup can lead to clogged hair follicles.
The above information will enable you to get rid of clogged and blocked hair follicles, as well as prevent them from reoccurring. This will ensure your hair has the proper environment for full, healthy hair growth.