We've all (probably) been using scalp scrub wrong.

It's no secret that in recent years, scalp health has absolutely exploded. From scalp scrubs to scalp oils, serums and masks — the haircare market is positively bursting with a whole new category of beauty.

And whether you want to thank TikTok or the explosion of new brands, these days having a multi-step scalp and hair routine is the done thing — we're now going well beyond simply just washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner.

Take scalp scrubs and scalp oiling (not to be confused with hair oiling), for example. Search the terms on TikTok and you'll find tons of videos pop up, with people touting both of these method as the secret to shiny, healthier hair.

Watch: Speaking of scalp and hair health, here's life with and without hair. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

But according to trichologist Chelcey Salinger from the Australian Trichology Centre, while looking after your scalp is the key to lovely shiny hair, using too much of the wrong thing can seriously upset your scalp. Especially when it comes to scalp scrubs and oils.

Contrary to what you might see on social media, it's important to know that it's not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. In fact, as Dr Sallinger points out, most scalp types won't benefit from scalp scrubs and oils.


"I personally don't use scrubs or oils, especially if you have dandruff,"' Salinger said. "For example, [if you have a scalp condition] an oil is the absolute last thing you should ever be putting on your scalp."

And no. But this was... unexpected? We love our scalp oils and scrubs! Anyone else reach for them to make a dry scalp better?

"That's a misconception," Salinger said. "People assume with dandruff, 'oh, it's so flaky, it must be dry.' No, dandruff is an oily condition just like seborrheic dermatitis, and it's the yeast using your excess oil as food and then overgrowth, and it's damaging the upper layer of the skin."

Meaning? If you're anything like us, chances are you're going too hard on the scalp oils and they're not really doing a whole load of good stuff when it comes to the health of your scalp.

The same goes for scalp scrubs, which Salinger said aren't a good choice for anyone who suffers from skin condition such as dandruff. These kinds of products only end up making things worse, encouraging more flaking and irritation.


"In the majority of cases, occasionally we might get someone who actually truly has a dry scalp, but it doesn't tend to look like flakes of dandruff," said Salinger.

Meaning? If you have flakes of dandruff, chances are it's not a dry scalp — it's an oily scalp — and we don't want to add any fuel to the fire by applying scalp oil or scalp scrubs.

Salinger explained, "If you are someone with dandruff that probably relates to oiliness then okay, scalp oil isn't the best choice for you. For someone who truly does have a dry scalp legitimately, then that's fair enough."


Wanna listen to the whole episode? Get it in your ears below.

If you're still confused about the differences between dandruff and dry scalp, Silinger said dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, which is kind of like the big brother to dandruff, both relate to oiliness.

"They often will make you feel a bit itchy as well. When it comes to the dandruff, the longer you go between your washes, slowly it gets itchier. When it comes to the dandruff, the longer you go between your washes slowly you get each year. So you feel a bit of relief when you wash your hair and then it slowly builds up again."

"Whereas with a dry scalp, you probably will be a bit more consistent. You're not going to have that build-up [of flaking], the longer you are further you are from a hair wash."

Of course, it goes without saying, beauty is such a personal thing — and if you love scalp oil and scalp scrubs, you do you! If you do use them, just be mindful and use a minimal amount.

And if you're experiencing scalp issues on the regular, it's probably best to hit up your GP, dermatologist or trichologist for advice rather than trying to self-diagnose via TikTok or buying a bunch of different scalp products because you could end up making it way worse.

Okay, hands up who's not letting go of their scalp oil and scrubs?!

Do you use a scalp scrub or scalp oil? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Canva/Sephora.

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