From chemical-laden hair products to pollution, sweat, DHT and oil, our scalp and hair come into contact with a lot of hair-damaging elements throughout our day-to-day lives.
Over time, these elements can build up, leaving us with an unhealthy scalp and a less-than-ideal environment for optimum hair growth.
With the help of this guide, however, you don’t need to live with such an issue and can learn to easily treat it yourself.
After reading this article you will be able to:
- Tell the difference between dandruff and epidermis plaque (also known as sebum)
- Get rid of the scalp sebum buildup
- Improve the overall quality of your scalp, hair follicles, and hair.
White Buildup: Dandruff or Sebum?
It’s common for individuals with an itchy scalp, which can be a side effect of minoxidil, and irritation to automatically assume the issue to be dandruff. The truth, however, is there are a number of conditions which can lead to flaking, itching, and inflammation. One such condition is plaque epidermis, also known as scalp buildup or sebum buildup.
Fortunately, there are a few key differences between dandruff and sebum which will allow you to determine which of these is your issue.
Sebum buildup, on the other hand, is caused by a variety of factors. This includes the use of store-bought shampoos and hair products, as well as contact with pollutants and ineffective scalp cleansing.
So, how can you tell the difference?
Dandruff, for the majority, is clumpy and flaky. It can be white, and sometimes even yellow, and is generally concentrated in particularly oily areas of the scalp.
Sebum, though, has a waxy substance. There will be less flaking, and more of an overall buildup. You may experience some itching as a side effect, but it’s not an inflammatory issue as is dandruff.
How to Remove the Buildup and Prevent It From Returning
There are two steps you’ll need to take in order to remove the white plaque buildup from your scalp, as well as prevent it from returning in the future. The combination of these steps will leave you with a clean, healthy scalp with ideal conditions for hair growth.
Salicylic Acid Peel
First things first, you want to remove the scalp buildup and give your scalp a fresh start.
Here’s how to do just that:
What You’ll Need:
- Salicylic acid (15% solution or less)
- Coconut oil
Wash your hair and scalp, preferably with a homemade shampoo.
Apply coconut oil to your scalp, enough to cover it in its entirety.
Leave the coconut oil to sit on your scalp for 30 minutes.
Now, apply the salicylic acid to your scalp using a small pipette or other instrument. Do so until you’ve covered all patches of scalp which you’d like to target for hair regrowth. Leave the salicylic acid on for 10 minutes, and then gently wash away with warm water.
At this point, there will be patches of salicylic acid peeling off any sebum, dandruff, and dirt from your scalp. If you notice a particularly thick area of sebum, repeat the process outlined above in no less than 2 days.
Learn more about salicylic acid shampoos here.
This simple, yet effective, combination is a great way to get your scalp back on track.
As salicylic acid contains a small amount of alcohol, the solution when directly applied can be drying.
This is why coconut is first applied and given time to absorb, as it protects your scalp and follicles from drying out and causing further issues.
Now that the troublesome layer of plaque has been removed, you’ll want to be sure to keep it away for good. For this, it’s best to avoid chemical-laden shampoos and stick with a homemade shampoo with simple, all-natural ingredients.
- Organic apple cider vinegar (2 tablespoons)
- Baking soda (1 teaspoon)
- Tea tree oil (2 drops) (optional)
- Peppermint essential oil (2 drops) (optional)
Combine the above ingredients, as well as warm water. The apple cider vinegar and baking soda will react, so allow the mixture to settle prior to using.
Shake before using as the essential oils do not mix well. Pour the mixture onto your wet hair while in the shower, and massage into scalp for 3 minutes.
Rinse with warm water.
As sebum buildup is caused by ineffective cleansing, the above shampoo will help you to fully cleanse your scalp and keep your scalp free from plaque buildup and its ill effects.
White buildup on the scalp is a common issue, and one which contributes to hair thinning and loss.
If you’re dealing with this issue, then the above two recipes will help you to get your scalp back to its natural, healthy state.
Of course, there are other steps you can take to further prevent the build up of sebum. These steps include changing your diet and using moisturizing oils, like coconut oil, on a regular basis to prevent scalp dryness and the overproduction of sebum as a result.
This article was medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD MSN RN IBCLC AHN-BC CHT