For years, her scalp had been out of sight and out of mind- until an unexpected encounter sent Janna Johnson O’Toole running to hair rehab. Could it hold the key to the gorgeous hair she’d always wanted?

A few days after my follicular aha moment, I visit the Manhattan office of dermatologist Francesca Fusco, MD, looking for more answers. She gives me two possible scenarios. The worse case: seborrheic dermatitis—dandruff of oily scalps, caused by too much yeast. The best case: just oil and grime buildup.

Fusco suggests using just the pads of the fingers to exfoliate—avoiding scrubs or anything (including fingernails) that could lead to scratches and possibly infection. Massaging with a range of herbal extracts seems to bolster the positive effects.

At her office, Fusco turns off the light and switches on a UV lamp, in search of the neon-orange glow of excessive yeast-but she finds nothing and diagnoses me as merely shampoo challenged. “Women come in here and ask me so many questions about how to wash their faces, but no one ever asks me how to shampoo their scalp.” She suggests I cleanse and massage my scalp for 30 seconds each time i wash my hair- three times longer than I usually spend shampooing. She assures me that deep-cleansing won’t cause a rebound effect of more oil-the basis for my aversion to hard-core sudsing. “The sebaceous glands are controlled by hormones, so shampoo can’t trigger production.” She sends me off with a set of Clear, a new shampoo and conditioner line formulated to soothe sensitive scalps, and I pledge to shampoo with a vengeance.

Fusco suggests washing no more than once a day. Regular cleansing also may control microbial growth, which may cause hair to smell musky and mildewy. If dryness is a concern, consider a hydrating cleanser free of foaming sulfate found in most shampoo.

CLEAR Scalp & Hair Therapy Damage & Color Repair Shampoo makes hair more resistant to breakage in just one week of use.


Source: Elle. August, 2012.