Personal hygiene has always been a priority for consumers, but COVID-19 has brought it to the fore. Haircare is no exception to the trend, with products that stress superior cleansing capabilities gaining a greater market share. Certainly, formulas that deep cleanse, clear dandruff, and manage sebum buildup on scalp are attractive to health-conscious consumers. However, these claims should be balanced with an emphasis on gentle, natural ingredients.
This is because dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis are also symptoms of stress – and considering hectic modern lifestyles, consumers are looking for ways to relax. Natural ingredients have associations with calm and protection, and with already high NPD, we can expect to see more ‘clean beauty’ labels appearing as the pandemic continues. Here, we examine these dual trends.
The connection between stress and sebum buildup on scalp
Many are aware of the impact our emotional state can have on our skin, but less widely acknowledged is the effect it can have on our scalp. Conditions like dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis can be exacerbated by stress and anxiety. Clinicians have highlighted that this is because hair is ‘non-essential tissue’, and thus, particularly sensitive to changes in our physiological and psychological health.
As a result, stress commonly triggers flaking and itching of the scalp, whether this is iterated as dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis. These conditions are part of a continuous spectrum of the same disease that affects skin with hair follicles, sebaceous glands, and sweat glands. The conditions are characterized by excessive desquamation of the scalp, which takes either a dry and flakey form or manifests a sebum buildup on scalp.
Various internal and external factors can cause dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis, including skin surface fungal colonization, genetics, and hormonal factors. This is why stress has such a significant impact on the appearance of dandruff: stress hormones can cause imbalances in the microflora of the scalp, contributing to symptoms.
Namely, this is characterized by the overgrowth of a type of microorganism called Malassezia. The scalp is colonized by three major genera of microorganisms: Staphylococcus, Propionibacterium, and Malassezia. The lipophilic strains of Malassezia – which hydrolyzes sebum triglycerides from the scalp using its
Lipase – exacerbate dandruff because they release irritating fatty acids that penetrate the scalp’s stratum corneum, undermining the barrier function and inducing excess sebum secretion.
A holistic approach to treating dandruff
As introduced, the global pandemic is heightening awareness around hygiene. This makes deep-cleansing, antimicrobial products attractive, especially as consumers’ wariness of germs is more acute than ever. When it comes to treating stressed ‘lockdown hair’, this approach isn’t unfounded – certainly, antimicrobial products can help balance the skin microbiome. However, to create a truly appealing product, brands should go to the root of the problem – stress.
Last year, 52% of Spanish women said they used beauty products to help them relax (Mintel, 2019). So, in the context of the pandemic, this demand is set to become even more pronounced. A key route to de-stressing products is natural ingredients – consumers associate natural with gentle, and gentle with soothing properties. Therefore, brands should seek to develop cleansing, balancing products that tackle symptoms like sebum buildup on scalp with natural ingredients to speak to consumers’ increased focus on well-being.
Naturally purifying products for dandruff control
Ahead of the curve, Provital developed Trikemanil Plus to manage the symptoms of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis naturally. This active ingredient uses willow extract to purify with gentle astringent and antimicrobial action, while moisturizing to keep the scalp balanced. By supporting the correct balance of moisture and the scalp’s key microbial populations, Trikemanil Plus helps soothe and reduce itchiness, flakes, and dandruff.
The ingredient also has anti-inflammatory properties to ensure the scalp’s delicate skin stays calm and clean. With this natural active ingredient, consumers can enjoy the benefit of a deep cleanse with the de-stressing effect of a clean beauty routine.