Most people know that having a healthy gut microbiome is essential for gut health, but did you know that having a healthy scalp microbiome is essential for hair health? Just like your gut, your skin—including your scalp—has a microbiome. A microbiome is a community of bacteria and other microorganisms. These microorganisms, of which there are trillions, play a role in fighting bad bacteria and fungi and protecting the health of your skin and hair. In this article, we are going to talk about the scalp microbiome and how to improve hair health by supporting your scalp microbiome.
What Is the Scalp Microbiome?
The scalp microbiome refers to the community of bacteria and other microorganisms living on the skin of your head. Our skin is covered with trillions of microscopic bacteria, some of which are beneficial to our health and some of which are harmful. It is important to maintain a healthy ratio of “good” to “bad” bacteria. The beneficial bacteria on the scalp prevent bad bacteria and other organisms from colonizing the scalp and damaging skin and hair.
Having a healthy scalp microbiome is essential for hair health, helping to keep hair strong and the skin of the scalp protected. Dandruff, for example, is typically caused by a type of fungus called Malassezia that feeds on the oils produced by the scalp. When colonized with beneficial bacteria, your scalp is protected from the Malassezia fungus as the good bacteria prevent it from spreading.
Scalp microbiome is important for skin health and hair follicle health, and improving scalp microbiome health it is one of the most overlooked natural hair health remedies today.
How Do You Improve Scalp Microbiome Health?
To understand how to properly care for your scalp microbiome, let’s consider what it takes to take good care of your gut microbiome. When someone is looking to improve the health of their gut microbiome, there are a few steps that are essential:
- Removing toxic or harmful foods
- Providing the body with proper nutrition and compounds that benefit the gut
- Introducing multiple strains of probiotics to encourage a healthy gut terrain
A scalp microbiome treatment is not much different—only instead of focusing on the gut, we’re focused on the microbiome of the skin. We still need to:
- Remove toxic or harmful ingredients (such as toxic hair care products or shampoos and conditioners filled with harmful chemicals)
- Provide the scalp and hair with nutrients and compounds that enhance hair health
- Introduce multiple strains of probiotics to encourage a healthy scalp microbiome
Removing toxic and harmful hair care products is step number one. You can’t have a healthy scalp microbiome if you are killing all of the good bacteria on your scalp. It is of course important to get rid of the harmful bacteria, but you want to do so while encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria.
The chemical agents in most shampoos and conditioners are too strong and strip the scalp of all bacteria, wreaking havoc on the health of the scalp microbiome. When the good bacteria are gone, it allows for other organisms to take over, such as the fungus that causes dandruff.
Perhaps the top scalp microbiome recommendation is to stop using hair products that damage the skin and beneficial bacteria on your scalp. Once you remove these products from your hair care routine, your scalp microbiome has a chance to recover.
We can encourage hair health as well by supplying the hair and scalp with beneficial nutrients and vitamins for hair health (just make sure they are natural). Our Organic Shampoo and Conditioner, for example, is loaded with organic and wildcrafted herbs and herbal extracts that have a range of benefits for hair health.
The ingredients in our Organic Shampoo and Conditioner provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal benefits, while also providing compounds that support hair health, strengthen hair follicles, moisturize the skin and hair, and protect the hair and scalp from damage. They also include several strains if beneficial probiotics, which leads us to the final step in restoring scalp microbiome.
By introducing beneficial bacteria to the scalp, you can help to recolonize the scalp microbiome, and in doing so, naturally strengthen and improve hair health. You don’t want to just add any probiotics to the scalp, but the right kind of probiotic bacteria that are specifically beneficial for hair health. The bacteria that thrive in the gut environment are not all the same as those that thrive on the skin.
Some of the best strains of bacteria for scalp microbiome health include Lactobacillus casei, Rhodopseudomonas palustris, and Saccharomyces cerevisae. We’ve included all three of these strains in our Organic Shampoo and Conditioner. Furthermore, we source these bacteria through a natural fermentation process.
All of the ingredients in our Organic Shampoo and Conditioner are naturally sourced, being either organically grown or harvested wild. These hair care products are completely alcohol-free, chemical-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, stearate-free, gluten-free, and contain no dyes, no fragrances, and no synthetic preservatives. They are also completely vegan-friendly.
One of the best ways you can improve your scalp microbiome health is by providing your scalp with nourishing ingredients and beneficial bacteria, and by avoiding harsh chemicals and damaging hair products.
Other Ways to Support Scalp Microbiome Health
In addition to using the right hair care products, there are other ways that you can support your scalp microbiome health. The skin is our largest organ, and the health of this organ (like every other organ) is dependent on the health of our body overall. The health of the body itself is dependent on our diet, lifestyle and environment.
Having a healthy diet and lifestyle makes a significant difference in your hair and skin health. The health of the skin, for example, is intimately tied with the health of your gut and liver. By taking proper care of these organs, you will naturally support your hair and skin health as well.
Gut health is determined largely by the health of the gut microbiome, so by enhancing this microbiome’s health, you also support the health of your skin microbiome. While gut health is certainly a complex topic, there are some general tips for keeping your gut in top condition:
- Eat a variety of organic, whole foods, including many fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Make sure you are getting enough natural fiber in your diet.
- Chew your food thoroughly and avoid overeating.
- Allow for a few hours between meals to ensure proper digestion.
- Encourage a healthy microbiome by supplementing with a Multi-Strain Probiotic
Because of the benefits that a good probiotic supplement has on your gut health, and because of the connection that gut health and skin health have, a multi-strain probiotic is actually one of the best supplements for hair health.
Another great supplement for hair health is a good Complete Amino Acid Complex. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Since hair is mostly protein, getting good quality amino acids in your diet can help improve the health and strength of your hair.
B vitamins are also important vitamins for hair health as they play a key role in producing red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the scalp so that hair follicles can generate new hair.
Lastly, a good trace mineral supplement can help supply the hair and skin with important minerals that encourage hair health.
In addition to supplements, eating the right foods are also an important part of keeping your skin and hair healthy. While it is important to get all of your essential nutrients, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are among the best foods for hair health because they provide essential proteins and nutrients to hair follicles and skin while also preventing hair follicle inflammation, which can directly contribute to hair loss. Some omega-3 rich foods include fish, nuts, seeds, avocados and healthy oils like olive oil.
Stress is another factor that can affect your hair health. When the body is under stress, it can lead to hair shedding and hair loss. Managing your stress levels, both physically and psychologically, is important for keeping yourself healthy. A major factor to consider here is your sleep. Getting enough sleep each night helps your body recover from stress, and prevents the stress that occurs from trying to operate when you are tired and lacking rest.
Finally, staying hydrated is crucial to your skin health. Make sure that you are drinking enough water each day so you can keep your body and skin healthy and hydrated. Exactly how much water you should drink depends on your body, lifestyle, and environment, but on average, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.
The health of your hair depends largely on having the right environment in your scalp, including having a healthy scalp microbiome. When your scalp is colonized by beneficial bacteria—yet is free of harmful bacteria, fungi and other pathogens—is properly hydrated, supplied with healthy nutrients, and free of harmful chemicals, it will naturally thrive and be healthy.
Hair and skin health is a reflection of our health overall. You cannot really expect to have healthy hair and skin if you don’t have a healthy diet and lifestyle—not for long anyway. By taking care of what goes in your body, as well as what goes on your body, you can give your body the best chance to thrive and be healthy.
Ditch the toxic hair care products, cut out the toxic foods in your diet, and give your body and hair the nourishment that they really need to thrive. You will be amazed how quickly your hair health will improve when given the right conditions.