Expert Advice: Hair and Scalp Conditions and How to Solve Them

by rachael / August 22, 2011

rexfeatures_1252854at.jpgClients should feel at ease confiding in a stylist about any hair problems they’re experiencing and it’s imperative that as a professional you remain calm, capable and confidential, whatever you’re confronted with. Creating the impression that it’s all in a day’s work reassures whoever’s on the receiving end of an unwelcome diagnosis and provides a positive starting point for moving things towards a happy conclusion.


Dandruff is common to both men and women, but slightly more prevalent in males because testosterone stimulates sebum secretion and a faster turnover of skin cells. Caused by excessive shedding of skin cells from the scalp, it’s embarrassing and uncomfortable for sufferers wrestling with unsightly build-up and the constant urge to scratch.

What to look for

Dandruff either takes the form of fine, white or greyish powdery flakes that detach from the surface easily, sprinkling over skin and clothing, or thick, sticky yellow scales that coat the scalp.


“Washing hair and scalp with ordinary anti-dandruff shampoo helps with most mild cases, but a stronger treatment that not only clears scales, but calms the scalp and slows down the skin cell growth to follow the normal cycle is required for more advanced conditions,” advises Tony Maleedy, member of the Institute of Trichologists.

Dandruff handlers

Aveda Scalp Remedy Dandruff Solution

Price: £17

Call Aveda on 0870 034 2380

ASP Kitoko Advanced Hair Therapy Dandruff Control Balm

Price: £11.95

Call ASP on 01794 527 111

Matrix Biolage Scalpthérapie Equalizing Elixir 6 x 15ml

Price: £12.50

Call Matrix on 0800 387 608

Tony Maleedy Juniper Mint Scalp Therapy Shampoo

Price: £16.50

Go to

Wella Professionals Care & Style Balance Clean Anti Dandruff Shampoo: removes visible flakes leaving hair feeling cleaner; contains Champagne extract.

Price: £8.75

Call Wella Professionals on 01256 490 690

Scalp irritation

What to look for

“Scalp irritation is for the client to feel not for the hairdresser to see as the scalp usually looks perfectly normal and healthy with no signs of scaling or redness, although tell-tale signs of scratching may be observed,” explains Tony.  “Therefore, it’s imperative that you ask your client about any problems they may be experiencing.”


“Advise a change of shampoo, stress the importance of keeping conditioner away from the scalp and recommend relieving itchiness with the balls of the fingers rather than scratching away with the nails, breaking the skin and potentially causing other problems,” concludes Tony.

Scalp savers

Goldwell Dualsenses Scalp Specialist Sensitive Foam Shampoo

Price: £7.45

Call Goldwell on 01323 432100

Bumble and bumble Tonic Shampoo

Price: £17.50

Call Bumble and bumble on 0870 428 6384

Schwarzkopf Professional BC Sensitive Soothe Scalp Serum

Price: £15.52 for 8 tubes

Call Schwarzkopf Professional on 01296 314 000

Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalps Toner

Price: £17.40

Call Philip Kingsley on 020 7237 7100

L’Oréal Professionnel Série Expert Detox + Control Pure Resource Purifying Shampoo

Price: £9.10

Call L’Oréal Professionnel on 0845 6000 122

Hair thinning and hair loss

There are many and varied types and degrees of hair loss. Some can be reversed and some – genetic – can’t, unless one pays handsomely for a transplant procedure. No longer labelled a male-only problem, an increasing number of women have issues with thinning hair; yet another unwanted aspect of the ageing process.

What to look for

Genetic hair loss and increased hair shedding account for the majority of all such complaints, with women encountering thinning from behind the front hairline to the crown, in contrast to ‘male pattern baldness’ where men lose a lot of hair at the temples and crown. Excess shedding usually corrects itself after a few months; any longer might require further investigation by an expert.

Boosting bunch

Kérastase Stimuliste Nutri-energising Daily Anti-Hairloss Spray for Thinning Hair

Price: £41

Call Kérastase on 0845 600 0515

American Crew Trichology Hair Recovery Foam: light and effective formula with carefully selected vitamins and minerals.

Price: £25.95

Call American Crew on 01282 613413

Redken Intra Force Hair Advance

Price: £93.50

Call Redken on 020 8762 4121

Clynol Care Hair Expert Activate 1: Anti-Hairloss Shampoo

Price: £8.90

Call Clynol on 01296 314000

La Biosthetique Methode Stabilisante Pilvicure Lotion

Price: £22.20

Call La Biosthetique on 01296 611731

Seborrhoiec dermatitis

With ordinary dandruff there may be a large build-up of scale, but the scalp’s usually a normal colour, however, with the more severe form of the condition called seborrhoeic dermatitis an underlying inflammation renders scalp tissues much more tender and sensitive.

What to look for

The scalp tends to be pink or red because the blood is closer to the surface. This redness often extends beyond the frontal hairline and onto the forehead. Hair can become quite greasy.


“The same as for dandruff, but if there’s no improvement within a few weeks, advise the client to consult their GP or a trichologist,” recommends Tony.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata (patchy hair loss) is a relatively common condition. Its exact cause is unclear, but stress or trauma is thought to affect the auto-immune system causing cells controlling hair growth in the follicles to shut down.

What to look for

Single or multiple smooth circular bald patches on the scalp. “Alopecia areata is most common among 10-35 year olds, affecting women and men equally,” explains Tony.  “It’s likely that you’ll be the first to flag up the problem and the revelation needs to be handled sensitively. It’s much better to say,  ‘Have you noticed a small area here at the back where there’s less hair?’ rather than dropping the ‘you’ve got a bald patch’  bombshell, even if clearly that’s what it is. With a condition that’s been linked to stress and shock, the last thing a stylist should do is trigger more emotional trauma.”



Reassure the client by pointing out that in almost all cases hair eventually grows back, but it can be a complex condition, so also advise them to see
k the help of a qualified trichologist. 

Helpful links

Iain Sallis:

Tony Maleedy:

Institute of Trichologists:



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