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Breakouts plaque woman's scalp

By Al Varela

A reader wants to know: "I am a 29-year-old woman who has a continuous problem with breakouts on my scalp. Even though I exercise regularly and eat properly, the problem remains year-round. I read in a magazine that it could be related to the shampoo and conditioner I am using, so I change periodically. I have a stressful life, what would you advise me?"

I wish I could wave a magic wand to make your stress go away. I believe that stress can manifest itself in many ways and certainly breakouts are a common problem. What does puzzle me is that your breakouts are on your scalp area. You didn't describe the kind of breakout you are experiencing, but if it is open and oozing you should definitely see a dermatologist for treatment. Absent a serious condition, two solutions come to mind concerning your situation.

First, the frequency of shampooing and conditioning your hair could have a big effect on the scalp. I always hear women say that they shampoo their hair every day because it gets oily. Their hair is actually oily because of the frequent shampooing. The body naturally replenishes the oil that was removed by the shampoo. Continuously stripping the oil from the scalp can cause dry, flaky, areas resulting in breakouts. I would suggest washing your hair every other day to try to normalize the scalp and oil production.

This brings me to the other possible solution to your problem. After exercising, it is important to prevent perspiration from drying on your scalp. Use a towel to absorb any excess moisture before it is allowed to dry. This will remove the residue that dries out the skin causing breakouts.

There are two products that I find very helpful whenever a client has scalp or hair problems. A treatment shampoo, Herbal Treatment for Problem Hair, from Kiehl's can be used while the problem is occurring. The client can go back to their regular shampoo when the problem subsides. The Enriched Massage Oil for the Scalp, also from Kiehl's, has a special applicator that allows the product to get to the scalp without making the hair oily. These products are designed to leave the scalp clean and fresh without the use of detergents that could strip the hair.

Many times shampoos and conditioners have not been totally rinsed from the hair and over time can aggravate the skin. Always be sure to thoroughly rinse your hair to reduce a buildup of chemicals.

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