Clarifying shampoo: Why you should avoid using it
If you’ve got a stubborn scalp, you’re not alone.
In fact, according to research published in the journal Clinical Dermatology, about one in five people have some form of scalp irritation or even dry scalp.
But are we all doomed to this condition?
In a study conducted by the University of Queensland, researchers found that people who used clarifying shampoo for longer periods of time were actually more likely to have a dry scalp, and that the shampoo was the only significant predictor of the severity of dryness.
While clarifying has been touted as a natural hair care product, it’s been widely blamed for aggravating dry scalp by causing a breakage of the hair follicles.
To put this into perspective, it takes around three months for the hair to fully develop a new strand of hair.
What’s more, a significant number of people do not have a clear understanding of the chemical compounds in their shampoo.
It’s not until they’ve washed their hair that they can assess how well their hair is performing, says Dr Joanne Tynan, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University’s Department of Dermatological Surgery.
While shampoo may not be the cause of dry scalp in the majority of cases, it does affect the appearance of hair, says Tynans dermatologist.
‘It’s really a matter of finding out the right formula and not the wrong formula.’
It’s just a matter to find out what you need to do to get a dry and soft scalp.
It doesn’t mean it has to be a bad shampoo, but it does mean that there is some need for a little bit of care.’
The most common scalp irritant to try and correct are chemical free products like jojoba oil and jojane.
The former is a non-comedogenic ingredient that helps soften and clear the scalp of dead skin cells.
The latter is a water-based cleanser that helps prevent clogged pores.
Dr Tynac’s advice is to try both and then look for a conditioner that works best for you.
‘Try both to find the right product for your scalp,’ she says.
‘The only way to find one is to test it on your scalp every time you have a wash.
You may need to reapply if your hair grows again.
‘If you use the same shampoo twice a day, it is not necessarily the problem.
But if you’re having a hard time using the same conditioner at least once a day then that is probably the cause.’
If you don’t use shampoo at all, it will just cause more problems and more irritation.’
What’s the problem?
A dry scalp is an inflammatory condition where the hair grows too thick and clumps up.
It can result in dry, flaky hair and dry scalp symptoms.
This can be aggravated by using conditioners that contain surfactants that help to clog pores.
‘I think shampoo is probably not the problem, but we need to be mindful of it,’ says Tyshka Piotrowska, a hair care expert and lecturer in the Department of Clinical Dermalology at RMIT University.
‘When you have dry scalp it’s really easy to get irritated.
You don’t need to shampoo for it to happen.’
While the majority are happy with the conditioner, some people may not like the scent of the shampoo.
‘You need to take a moment and really think about the shampoo and what you’re trying to achieve with it,’ Tysheka says.
Dr JoAnne Tynanc says you need ‘a good amount of care’ with your scalp.
‘There are things that can cause a dry, irritated scalp, such as stress and inflammation from hair loss, so if you don.t have that then you need a good amount and a lot of care.’
You can’t use a lot and not care for your hair and you can’t care for it enough.’
For those who do have a problem with shampoo, Tyshaan says there are some products that can help alleviate dry scalp pain.
‘For some people the scalp is fine but the hair growth is not, so it may be a bit of a problem for them,’ she explains.
‘Some people like the styling products that help with styling, while some people just want to use a moisturiser.’
Dr Tyshera says that a ‘well-balanced’ shampoo may be best for people who do not need a condition or do not want to have one, but that ‘you need to go through your hair to make sure it’s not too thick.’
‘You should definitely not try any conditioner if you have scalp dryness,’ she advises.
‘That’s why you should have a shampoo and moisturiser.
You can try all these products and try them out.
If you find that they work well then go for it.’