We know that taking care of your scalp and hair is a must, regardless of your age. So let’s explore the changes associated with menopause and the best hair care products to integrate into your routine.
Scalp changes during menopause
First of all, it is essential to know this part of the body; it is the skin that covers the top of the head, where the hair is located. This skin is thick and not very flexible and contains a large number of hair follicles and sebum-producing glands. This is an oily substance that lubricates the hair and skin. It also contains sweat glands that allow it to regulate temperature (1).
This part of the skin contains an extensive network of blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the hair. It also has many nerve endings for touch, pressure and temperature. That’s why a massage or a splash of warm water is so relaxing (1).
In general, women during menopause have dry skin and the scalp is no exception. The drop in oestrogen levels reduces sebum production and gives a dry appearance. Also, there is a slowing down of skin regeneration and the hair follicles become weaker. Consequently, it is common for women in menopause to experience (2,3):
- Dandruff with fine, whitish flakes.
- Constant itching of the head.
- Female pattern hair loss or alopecia.
- Increased sensitivity or tendency to irritation.
Here are some practical tips for taking care of your scalp at home (4,5,6,7):
- Wash your hair frequently with a mild shampoo. Salicylic acid, as an ingredient in shampoo, can help exfoliate and regenerate hair skin cells.
- If your hair is very dry, use conditioner with dimethicone in every shower. You can also apply a serum with argan oil and dimethicone when it is semi-dry.
- Use a little olive oil or coconut oil to massage your scalp a couple of hours before washing. You can also use a product containing tea tree essential oil, if you don’t have irritation.
- If you do experience itching, try to gently massage the area and do not scratch to prevent injury and inflammation.
- Make sure that any hair products you are using do not cause skin irritation, in which case discontinue use.
- See a doctor if you have redness, pain, irritation, exaggerated itching, or signs of dermatitis.
Beyond the products you use to care for your hair, here are a few tips to keep in mind when styling your hair:
- Avoid brushing it too hard.
- Wear it loose and avoid hairstyles that exert too much tension, such as tight ponytails.
- Let your hair air dry and avoid heat sources if possible.
- Avoid wearing hats or caps for long periods of time, as excessive sweating can create a warm, humid environment on the head that may encourage the growth of some fungi.
The menopause comes with many changes, including to the scalp. Fortunately, it is possible to deal with these with the right hygiene habits and products. However, remember that everyone is unique and what works for one person may not work for others. Don’t hesitate to consult a doctor if you experience irritation or inflammation in the area.
- Tajran J, Gosman AA. Anatomy, Head and Neck, Scalp. StatPearls Publishing [Internet]; 2022 [cited 2023 Jul 8]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551565/
- Zouboulis CC, Blume-Peytavi U, Kosmadaki M, Roó E, Vexiau-Robert D, Kerob D, Goldstein SR. Skin, hair and beyond: the impact of menopause. Climacteric. [Internet] 2022; 25(5):434-442 [cited 2023 Jul 8]. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/13697137.2022.2050206
- Grymowicz M, Rudnicka E, Podfigurna A, Napierala P, Smolarczyk R, Smolarczyk K, Meczekalski B. Hormonal Effects on Hair Follicles. Int J Mol Sci. [Internet] 2020; 21(15):5342 [cited 2023 Jul 8]. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21155342
- NHS. Scalp treatments. [Internet] 2023 [cited 2023 Jul 8]. Available from: https://www.nhstaysidecdn.scot.nhs.uk/NHSTaysideWeb/idcplg?IdcService=GET_SECURE_FILE&dDocName=PROD_262658&Rendition=web&RevisionSelectionMethod=LatestReleased&noSaveAs=1
- The Brow Medical Centre. Itchy scalp and dandruff. [Internet] [cited 2023 Jul 8]. Available from: https://www.browmedicalcentre.nhs.uk/website/H82084/files/Itchy%20Scalp%20and%20Dandruff.pdf
- Draelos Z. Get the facts on flanking. Dermatology Times [Internet] 2021; 42(12):8 [cited 2023 Jul 8]. Available from: https://cdn.sanity.io/files/0vv8moc6/dermatologytimes/33e5e12897b3cfa479caaeac01678f48cfd1d86b.pdf/dt1221_ezine.pdf
- NHS. Good hair care advice. [Internet] 2022 [cited 2023 Jul 8]. Available from: https://www.gloshospitals.nhs.uk/media/documents/Good_hair_care_advice_GHPI1694_01_22.pdf