A flaky scalp is often mistaken for dandruff, and to the untrained eye, it may be difficult to differentiate between the two. A flaky scalp is usually caused by dryness (a lack of moisture) and may lead to itching and scratching, followed by the shedding of small flakes of dry skin.
Dandruff occurs when the scalp over-produces sebum, and a harmless fungus called Malassezia develops. The yeast from this fungus feeds on the excess sebum and dead skin cells, which stimulates the scalp to speed up its renewal process, but this, in turn, leads to frequent shedding of skin cells, resulting in the flakes we associate with dandruff.
Flakes from a dry scalp are usually small and white. Your scalp will feel dry and itchy, similar to dry skin on other parts of the body. The flakes resulting from dandruff are often larger, may have a yellow tinge and distinct scent and may look or feel oily. It’s not always easy to know the difference. If you’re uncertain, it’s best to consult your medical practitioner or hairstylist.
A dry and flaky scalp is common, and what a lot of women don’t realise is that the skin on the scalp plays a major part in the health of the hair. Your scalp is where hair growth and strength is generated and it is sensitive to external factors like washing, styling, stress and the environment. To ensure a healthy scalp (and in turn, healthy hair), we should be taking care of our scalps the same way we take care of our skin.
Enter Salon Science, a Swedish hair care brand that fuses powerful active ingredients and stem cells derived from plant extracts to help you attain your healthiest hair and scalp yet. Their AquaCacteen range is like skincare for your scalp: developed for the treatment of parched hair and distressed scalps, it gently cleanses and soothes irritated scalps whilst hydrating hair with carefully curated, plant-powered ingredients.
Our editor put the range to the test to see if it would help clear up a flaky patch she’s been having trouble with. Here’s her review:
“The first time I ever got a flaky scalp was after a sun burn. My hair was tied up with a middle parting, and I spent a day outside without a hat. My middle parting was bright red, and a few days later, my scalp started peeling. Not only was it itchy, sensitive and uncomfortable, but it looked awful. For quite some time after that, I’d be prone to getting a flaky patch around the middle of my hairline.
Fast-forward a few years, and it had been ages since I’d had a flaky scalp. I learnt my lesson that day in the sun, and had been taking special precautions to prevent a scalp burn, ever since. So imagine my surprise when I noticed a flare-up in that same spot above my hairline a couple of months ago. It was winter, I was barely spending any time outdoors, and I couldn’t understand what was causing it. I eventually learnt that it was the hot water from my showers!
I love a hot shower (lukewarm doesn’t cut it in winter), but I’d been taking too-hot showers, and the water was dehydrating and burning my scalp. I tried colder water for a while but it didn’t clear the problem up completely. It was round about this time that I received the new Salon Science AquaCacteen hair care range for review. AquaCacteen by Salon Science is infused with a rare organic cactus extract, which has shown to restore the hair and scalp’s moisture levels.
I gave it a go, deciding to use all the products in the range and to (finally) start caring for my scalp, the way I do for my skin. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it took just under three weeks for my dry and flaky patch to heal 100%, and it has not returned since!
I adore this range, because not only did it clear up my dry scalp problem, but it has left my hair and scalp feeling soft, moisturised and healthier than it has in a long time. Each product is a pleasure to use. The shampoo feels light, refreshing and soothing. It foams nicely and it doesn’t irritate the scalp. The conditioner is rich and has an incredible scent. I avoid applying it on my scalp because conditioners always make my roots look oily, but it has made the lengths of my hair super soft and shiny.
The masque and spray have amazing anti-itching and soothing properties and they did a lot to calm my dry and aggravated scalp. But my favourite product in the range is the scalp scrub. It has a thick gel texture with exfoliant particles in it, and you apply it directly to the scalp and gently massage it into the skin, exfoliating as you go. I then leave the product on for five to ten minutes before I shampoo and complete the rest of the regime. The scrub makes your scalp feel cool and invigorated. It’s so refreshing, it almost tingles. I use the scrub once a week, and I find that it also gives my roots a real deep cleanse, as my hair stays cleaner for longer after I’ve used it.
While I can’t say that this range will clear up every case of dry and flaky scalp, it certainly has done so for me, and I would highly recommend it to anyone struggling with flakiness, dryness or scalp irritability.”
The range consists of:
Salon Science AquaCacteen Hydraluxe Shampoo (R200.00)
A detoxifying and soothing cleanser designed to be kind and gentle to hair and scalp. Hydraluxe Shampoo is formulated to target dry and distressed scalps whilst clearing away the build-up of impurities. Infused with an extract of a rare Organic Cactus, AquaCacteen contains powerful water-binding properties to soothe and hydrate irritated itchy scalps.
Salon Science AquaCacteen Hydraluxe Conditioner (R200.00)
A soothing and hydrating conditioner formulated to target dry and distressed scalps, whilst clearing away the build-up of impurities. Infused with an extract of a rare organic cactus, AquaCacteen contains powerful water-binding properties to soothe and hydrate for a visibly clear scalp and radiant hair.
Salon Science AquaCacteen Hydrasorb Intensive Masque (R250.00)
An intensive, scalp purifying treatment formulated with anti-irritant actives and ultra-hydrating, water-binding compounds of a rare Organic Cactus. From first use, hair and scalp is saturated with high levels of moisture to instantly hydrate hair and to soothe irritated, itchy scalps, helping to solve scalp problems.
Salon Science AquaCacteen Hydrafoliant Scalp Scrub (R179.00)
A luxurious pre-shampoo scalp treatment containing powerful exfoliants to lift and remove skin cells for a visibly smoother and clearer scalp. Formulated with the water-binding compounds of a rare Organic Cactus to hydrate and to soothe irritated itchy scalps. Hydrafoliant nourishes and nurtures whilst clearing the way for healthy, radiant hair and helping with scalp problems.
Salon Science AquaCacteen Hydrasmooth Cooling Spray (R179.00)
For instant relief to soothe itchy, irritated scalps, whilst giving a refreshing boost to hair. Containing the extract of a rare Organic Cactus, the Hydrasmooth Cooling Spray shields hair and scalp against environmental stress and helps prevent irritation. Also formulated with additional soothing and moisturising actives, aloe and panthenol to provide instant relief to parched hair and dehydrated scalps.
Salon Science products are available exclusively at Clicks stores and online at clicks.co.za.
Keen to get your hands on this range? We’re giving away five Salon Science AquaCacteen hair care hampers! Enter here.