Les Nouvelles Esthetiques – Magazine

Scalp Analysis and Treatment

by Lia Schorr

Clients often come to me, puzzled about problem skin that doesn't clear up in spite of following a carefully laid out skin-care program and nutritional guidelines.

When this happens, the first thing I do is check the scalp to see if a problem exists there. Many people don't realize that a pre-existing scalp condition, such as dandruff, psoriasis or oiliness, may have caused the skin problems in the first place.

So, step one is to clear up a bad scalp. Secondly, I advise my clients to use my guidelines as preventive measures to avoid future flare-ups.

I start by analyzing the scalp undera good light. I part the hair in a section from the forehead to the crown and, then, run my finger tips down the part. If the scalp is healthy, there will be no flaking, red spots, excess oil or sensitive dry spots. And the hair will be healthy and shiny.

I repeat this procedure across the head, section by section, checking each part of the scalp for problems or sensitivities. Once I'm sure of the scalp's condition, I'll explain my findings to the client and then discuss a course treatment.


If the fingertips come away with a greasy feeling when you touch the scalp the oil glands are overactive. An oily scalp may not necessarily cause facial problems, But when oily hair touches the face, there is a tendency toward pimples or blackheads developing.

Also, excess oil on the scalp may produce pimples there which will cause discomfort. Those with oily scalp usually have limp, dull greasy hair, which is even more of a problem for those with baby fine hair. Fine hair, in general, looks listless and lays flaton the head. If it's excessively oily, too, it's difficult to manage and style.

One's natural instinct is to shampoo oily hair more frequently. However, there are two schools of thought here. Some experts claim that frequent shampooing stimulates the production ofoils. Therefore, the answer is to shampoo less often to reduce oiliness.

Others, like myself, feel that oily hair needs to be washed daily with mild shampoo so the oils don 't accumulate. A formula doesn't have to be harsh to get the job done. By the same token, if a client is using a shampoo labeled "for oily hair," I recommend one lathering only as opposed to the two usually suggested on the instructions. One is enough to do a thorough job, especially if you wash your hair daily.

In most cases, oily hair doesn't require conditioning. If a client has split ends, though, I tell her/ him to apply a conditioner sparing only to the ends, comb through and rinse out. Don't apply it to the entire head.

A scalp lotion is useful in controlling excess oil. After shampooing and rinsing the hair thoroughly, part damp hair down the middle, front to back, and dab the lotion on the scalp along the part with a cotton ball. Part the hair, inch by inch, across the scalp and repeat application until the entire scalp is treated. Use the lotion whenever the hair feels excessively oily.

Diet plays a role in controlling excess oil. I advise clients to cut down on their consumption of fats such as butter, cheese, cream, mayonnaise, creamy salad dressing, ice cream and so forth. Substitute skim for whole milk and lowfat cottage cheese or farmer cheese for hard cheese. Limit beef, and trim all fat before you eat. Remove the skin from chicken. Avoid fried foods altogether, as well as sausages and bacon. Limit eggs to four per week.


  • Avoid overstimulation of the scalp. Comb rather than brush hair.
  • Skip scalp massage.
  • Cut down on use of hair blowers and other heat appliances, because heat stimulates oil glands.
  • Cover the head when in the sun.
  • Eliminate hair sprays, setting lotions, mousses, gels and anything else that weighs the hair down and dulls it.
  • Try to control stress, which plays a major role in the increase of sebum production.


What are the signs of a dry scalp condition? Dull looking hair, split ends and breakage, and a dry itchy sensitive feeling when touched.