How to treat scalp eczema

If you’re dealing with eczema – particularly scalp eczema - rest assured that you’re not the only one; the most common form, atopic eczema, affects 1 in 5 children and 1 in 12 adults in the UK, while across the pond it affects an estimated 31.6 million people in the U.S.  A new report for National Eczema Week shows the significant impact it has on our lives. The Eczema Unmasked Report was carried out by the Eczema Society to show the emotional toll conditions like scalp eczema can take on people's self-esteem. Of the 1000 respondents of adults and parents of children with eczema, the survey found: But what exactly is scalp eczema? According to MONPURE Resident Dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan: “Eczema is a non-contagious dry skin condition, where the skin’s protective barrier is compromised, making it vulnerable to irritants and allergens. As a result the skin becomes inflamed. Eczema can affect any area of the body, including the scalp.” “Among the most frequent forms of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which manifests itself as itchy, sore and painful skin (51 million people in the UK suffer from an itchy scalp), together with dryness and discolouration, as well as rashes which can bleed when scratched. “Another common type of scalp eczema is known as seborrheic dermatitis, which shows up as scaly patches, red, inflamed, itchy skin, and flaking. As well as the physical symptoms, those affected may experience mental health issues such as sleeplessness, anxiety and depression. “However other scalp conditions are associated with symptoms that are very similar to eczema, (e.g. dryness and itching) such as psoriasis and fungal infections, so it’s important to get a firm diagnosis if you’re unsure. How can I prevent eczema on my scalp? “When it comes to treatment, topical steroids for the scalp can be prescribed, as well as emollient creams and oils. For mild forms of eczema, you might want to use a shampoo with zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, and selenium sulphide. I would also recommend MONPURE’s Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum, which contains hydrating aloe vera and anti-inflammatory witch hazel, to alleviate itching and redness.” To mark #NationalEczemaWeek, MONPURE are here to offer expert advice and support for anyone dealing with scalp eczema. Send your questions to our resident dermatologist at info@monpure.com

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The top foods that will boost your scalp and hair health

  An effective scalp-skincare regime is crucial to maintaining a healthy scalp and growing stronger, longer hair. But that’s not the full story – eating the right diet can also reap rewards where your scalp and hair are concerned. Here to explain further is today’s guest blogger, Nutritional Therapist and Author Eve Kalinik.  A former fashion PR, Eve moved over into the world of health and nutrition when she realised her busy, stressful lifestyle was having a severe impact on her health. Working in nutrition, her aim is to undo the common misconception that eating healthily is about rules and restriction, instead advocating a positive approach that is focused on eating more of the right foods. She works with both individuals and brands and writes for various publications; while August saw the publication of her first book: Happy Gut, Happy Mind – How to feel good from within, which offers insight into how our gut health and mental health are interlinked. Writing for The MONPURE Journal, she picks her top foods to ensure your scalp and hair are stronger and healthier than ever.   Our scalp and hair’s condition is dependent on many factors: products that we use topically, salon treatments, environmental factors (humidity frizz anyone?) and genetics. It is also very much affected by the foods we eat, since there are key nutrients that our scalp and our hair need in order to be healthy and well nourished. Here are some of the key food groups to include in your diet… PROTEIN – Hair is structurally made up of protein in the form of keratin, so it is vital we get enough dietary protein to support growth and strength in the hair. This could be in the form of meat and poultry (ideally organic grass-fed/free range); fish, eggs, cheese or yogurt; and plant-based sources such as tofu, lentils or chickpeas. You’ll also find small amounts of protein in nuts and seeds too. You should be aiming for around the same amount in grams per your weight in kg per day. Visually, that equates to around a palm-sized amount at each meal, which can be spread across the day as you may find you have more protein in the evening versus breakfast for example. As long as you are hitting the daily quota that’s the main thing.  BIOTIN – This helps to support the infrastructure of keratin (see above); low levels have actually been linked with hair loss. Biotin is readily available in many foods, such as egg yolks, almonds, walnuts and avocados to name just a few. A-C-E YOUR VITAMINS – Vitamins A, C and E are essential for a healthy scalp and hair. Vitamin A helps to support cell replication, which is important for hair follicles – find this (in beta-carotene form) in sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, peppers and apricots; and in the preformed source in butter, cheese, eggs and salmon. Vitamin C has two-fold benefits for the hair, in that it helps us to absorb iron and it also supports the production of collagen that is necessary for all connective tissue in the body including hair follicles. Vitamin C-rich foods include broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, kale, parsley, strawberries and blackberries. While Vitamin E provides antioxidant effects that have a protective role for cells including hair follicles – nuts are seeds are excellent sources. OMEGA 3 – This is important for every single cell membrane, including the hair follicles that keep the scalp and hair well hydrated. Omega 3 fatty acids are called essential, as we have to take them in through our diet. The highest sources of these include oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. You can also find them in grass-fed meat. Plant-based sources include flax and chia seeds, as well as walnuts although the conversion rate from these is rather low – so if you aren’t following an exclusive plant-based diet, it would be ideal to get these from meat and fish, as mentioned above.  IRON – Iron supports blood flow and oxygen to the hair follicles and low ferritin (iron stores) can result in slower hair growth, thinning and shedding. There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and non-heme – and our body absorbs the most amount of iron from heme sources. Heme iron foods can be found in red meat (ideally organic and grass-fed), sardines, mussels and clams; and in lower amounts in chicken, turkey and salmon. There is also a small amount in eggs. Non-heme iron foods would include lentils, beans, spinach and tofu. The best way to consume iron is with vitamin C rich foods (see above) as this can help with absorption, especially non-heme iron foods, so try to pair them up together where you can. Also try to avoid having tea or coffee with iron rich foods as this can impair absorption.  ZINC – This is a key mineral that supports turnover of cells including hair follicles. It also has a key role in managing sebum (oil) production that keeps the hair and scalp well lubricated. Shellfish are the highest source, such as oysters, crab, mussels and clams although they may not always feature in our day-to-day meals! Red meat, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and whole grains can also be great sources.  

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How to grow your hair

How can I grow my hair? Many of us aspire to thicker, longer locks. But while extensions can be an attractive short-term solution, they can put stress on the hair follicles and cause traction alopecia over time. So how do you make your own hair longer and stronger? Here are a few basic steps to follow. Care for your scalp At MONPURE we often say caring for the scalp is like gardening – nourish the soil and what grows out of it will flourish. While if it’s dry and neglected, the hair won’t grow through properly. Massage your scalp daily with Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum with a special pumpkin seed extract and castor oil to enhance healthy hair growth. We’d also recommend using our Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask once a week to ‘feed’ hair follicles with vitamin-rich camellia tea oil and hydrating aloe vera. Trim hair regularly This might seem counterintuitive, but if you find your hair is constantly snapping off after a certain length, chances are your split ends are the guilty culprits. This is where the ends of the hair become ‘torn’ and split apart, which can damage the rest of your hair if you don’t get them snipped off. Get regular trims at the salon or, if get a hairdresser to teach you how to do this yourself. (Always use proper hair scissors that are ultra sharp, regular scissors can cause the hair follicle to ‘puff’ out and lead to even more split ends.) Avoid bleach and harsh chemicals Have you noticed bleaching your hair can leave it looking frizzy? Using products with bleach and ammonia can really damage your hair’s condition making split ends a more likely occurrence. Bolster fragile hair strands with strengthening products, such as MONPURE’s Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo and Strengthening Essence-Conditioner. Both contain vegan silk peptides that create a breathable ‘second skin’ on both the scalp and hair, protecting it (by more than 35%). Limit heat tools and tight hairstyles According to our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan: “When it comes to boosting hair growth, I would advise to avoid common causes of hair ‘wear and tear’. For example, limit use of ceramic straighteners or hairdryers on a high setting. It’s also best to avoid pulling your hair back in tight braids or ponytails.” If you have to use heated styling tools, try using a lower heat setting and always prep hair beforehand with a heat protector spray. Take care when it comes to towelling and brushing your hair Hair strands are extremely fragile – especially when they’re wet. Rough drying with a towel and brushing too vigorously can cause a lot of damage – resulting in frizz and split ends. Which if you’re trying to grow your hair out, is not ideal. Swap your cotton towel for a less abrasive microfiber version and pat your hair dry gently. Once fully dry, brush from the ends of the hair upwards to loosen tangles. Use a satin scarf or pillowcase at night You might notice bits of snapped off hair when you wake up in the morning. The friction from cotton pillowcases can aggravate hair cuticles and cause breakage.  Tie hair in a satin scarf or use a satin pillowcase to protect those delicate strands while you sleep. Take the right supplements Food supplements can give hair growth an extra boost. According to our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan, “As well as topical treatments, a healthy scalp can be maintained by ensuring sufficient nutrients in our diet (including Iron, Zinc, Vitamin B, Selenium, and Vitamin C). Plus minimising physical and emotional stress is also key in preventing major scalp issues such as hair loss.” To kick-start your healthy hair growth habits, try our Great Lengths Regime, which now comes with a built-in saving of 25%.  And for anything else, please email our team with your questions at info@monpure.com

Find out more

'Double-serum' – the K-Beauty trend that works for your scalp

You may by now be already acquainted with our hardworking scalp serums: Follicle Boost Density Serum and Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum (the latter winning a Global Green Beauty Award 2020!), beloved by beauty editors and experts alike. But if you’re torn between bolstering hair growth and quenching a dry scalp, you no longer have to choose between one or the other – not if, like us, you’re inspired by the latest K-Beauty trend: ‘double serum’... So what is it exactly? Well, instead of layering your skincare products on top of each other, you use them together to create a bespoke treatment depending on what your skin needs that particular day. Clever stuff. And as with the skin on your face, the condition of your scalp tends to fluctuate, depending on the time of the month, weather or the amount of time left between washing. Sometimes it can be more dry and flaky, other times more greasy and irritated. So why not use both serums at once to create a bespoke cocktail according to how your scalp feels? While we wouldn’t advise using both formulas on the same area (given the amount of strong, active ingredients each one has), you might want to mix-and-match, applying different serums to different parts of the scalp. For example, if you have hair loss, such as traction alopecia, at the crown or sides of the head, you might want to add some Follicle Boost to just these areas, while if you’re experiencing itching at the top or back of the head (e.g. after being in contact with your pillow all night) Hydrate and Soothe might work well for those. The idea is to create a customised ‘scalp facial’ to suit the needs of a particular area of your scalp, rather than applying a single serum all over. (It means you can make both serums last a little longer too!) Give it a try and let us know your thoughts by tagging us @monpurelondon Interested in K-Beauty? Read: The Korean Skincare Bible by Lilin Yang, Leah Ganse and Sara Jimenez (author) Follow: @sarah_glow @thebeautywolf @fiddysnails Listen to: The Snailcast (via Apple Podcasts or Google Play) 

How to treat scalp acne

Not only does acne plague many of us in our teens, but in fact adult acne is on the rise: a 2018 review found that acne affects between 12% to 22% of women aged 26 to 44 (for men, that figure is around 3%). While a 2016 study found that it affects 85% of women between the ages of 12 and 24. While acne mainly occurs on the face, it can also appear on other areas of the body, such as the chest and back – and the scalp. This comes as no surprise given that your scalp has a lot of oil glands (roughly 200-500 in every cm2 of scalp-skin). The acne occurs when the hair follicle becomes blocked with dead skin and oil, which is a breeding ground for acne-loving bacteria such as propionibacterium acnes. The result? Scalp breakouts, manifesting in unsightly red bumps along the hairline and a sore, bumpy scalp. As tempting as it is, you should refrain from squeezing or picking these scalp spots or cysts. Not least because you usually can’t see them if they’re at the back of your head, so you’re prodding around blindly and can’t see the damage you’re doing. Plus, the pressure from squeezing can worsen the infection and inflammation of the spot in question, leaving it more sore and red (and can lead to scarring and hair loss in the bargain). As with any type of acne, scalp acne has many causes, ranging from stress, hormonal imbalance, eating certain foods, and inflammatory responses to infection can all be contributing factors. From a nutritional standpoint, a lot of people believe (although clinical studies have yet to prove) upping your intake of omega 3 in your diet makes a big difference, as it apparently helps to reduce the amount of inflammation that causes the oil glands in your scalp to go into overdrive. Great sources are salmon and tuna or cod liver oil supplements (or seaweed and chia seeds if you’re vegan). Cutting down on sugar and sugary drinks can also help in the same way. Using a lot of heavy oil- and silicone-based styling products can also cause scalp congestion and acne, which is why you should wash and treat your hair and scalp with formulas containing high-quality, natural ingredients. You may find that what works to help treat hair loss can equally be an effective scalp acne treatment (clogged hair follicles can lead to both stunted hair growth and break outs). Lactic, retinol and salicylic acid are all heroes in this respect, speeding up cell turnover and dissolving dead skin cells that can cause said clogging – all of which can be found in our Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum. While keeping the scalp toned and hydrated is another way of balancing oil levels and keeping spots at bay. Our Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum contains witch hazel, a natural astringent which mops up excess oil on the scalp, while aloe vera hydrates and can help calm any red, angry cysts. As with your face, regularly exfoliating your scalp can be another way of keeping acne at bay. Our Clarifying Scalp Scrub works to sweep away dead, flaky skin and product build-up. (If you use it around your hairline, it can also help to get rid of any residual makeup and gunk that might have got trapped there.) If your scalp acne is serious, you might want to book an appointment with your GP or dermatologist. Or you can drop our team of experts a line at info@monpure.com with any queries or questions you may have.

What are free radicals – and how do they affect the scalp?

You may be familiar with the term “free radicals” on skin and haircare labels, mainly in the context of these products being able to fight them (with what’s known as “antioxidants”). But what are free radicals exactly and why does your skin – especially scalp-skin – need protecting from them?  What are free radicals? Free radicals are a brand of ‘zombified’ molecules that attack healthy skin tissue. To get super technical for a minute (*lab goggles on*): a molecule is a group of two or more atoms, which represents the smallest physical unit of an element (like oxygen or water), which is able to take part in a chain reaction with other chemicals. Molecules contain sub-atomic particles called electrons that are negatively charged. Free radical molecules are unstable because they are missing one of these electrons – so in order to stabilise themselves, they steal electrons from other molecules, which then renders those molecules unstable. This causes free radicals to spread throughout the body, ‘infecting’ new cells like zombies in a horror film and leaving a trail of damage in their wake. How do they affect the scalp? Although we need a certain amount of free radicals in our body to fight viruses and bacteria, too many of them can cause problems – not least to the skin and scalp-skin. This is because when a free radical steals an electron, the cell’s DNA becomes damaged which then speeds up the ageing process. On a bigger scale where our skin and hair follicles are concerned, this leads to wrinkles, unwanted pigmentation, grey hair – and even hair loss over time.  How to protect your scalp against them The good news is that you can fight free radicals with the help of antioxidants (you may remember those from earlier). These are special compounds that are able to give up an extra electron to a free radical without becoming unstable themselves, thereby ending the chain of destruction free radicals cause. Rich sources of antioxidants are Vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, lycopene and selenium. You can find these both in the foods you eat and the products you apply to your skin.  Got a question about your scalp? Email our team of experts at info@monpure.com This article has been checked and verified by MONPURE’s resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan.

How to treat scalp eczema

If you’re dealing with eczema – particularly scalp eczema - rest assured that you’re not the only one; the most common form, atopic eczema, affects 1 in 5 children and 1 in 12 adults in the UK, while across the pond it affects an estimated 31.6 million people in the U.S.  A new report for National Eczema Week shows the significant impact it has on our lives. The Eczema Unmasked Report was carried out by the Eczema Society to show the emotional toll conditions like scalp eczema can take on people's self-esteem. Of the 1000 respondents of adults and parents of children with eczema, the survey found: But what exactly is scalp eczema? According to MONPURE Resident Dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan: “Eczema is a non-contagious dry skin condition, where the skin’s protective barrier is compromised, making it vulnerable to irritants and allergens. As a result the skin becomes inflamed. Eczema can affect any area of the body, including the scalp.” “Among the most frequent forms of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which manifests itself as itchy, sore and painful skin (51 million people in the UK suffer from an itchy scalp), together with dryness and discolouration, as well as rashes which can bleed when scratched. “Another common type of scalp eczema is known as seborrheic dermatitis, which shows up as scaly patches, red, inflamed, itchy skin, and flaking. As well as the physical symptoms, those affected may experience mental health issues such as sleeplessness, anxiety and depression. “However other scalp conditions are associated with symptoms that are very similar to eczema, (e.g. dryness and itching) such as psoriasis and fungal infections, so it’s important to get a firm diagnosis if you’re unsure. How can I prevent eczema on my scalp? “When it comes to treatment, topical steroids for the scalp can be prescribed, as well as emollient creams and oils. For mild forms of eczema, you might want to use a shampoo with zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, and selenium sulphide. I would also recommend MONPURE’s Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum, which contains hydrating aloe vera and anti-inflammatory witch hazel, to alleviate itching and redness.” To mark #NationalEczemaWeek, MONPURE are here to offer expert advice and support for anyone dealing with scalp eczema. Send your questions to our resident dermatologist at info@monpure.com

Find out more

The top foods that will boost your scalp and hair health

  An effective scalp-skincare regime is crucial to maintaining a healthy scalp and growing stronger, longer hair. But that’s not the full story – eating the right diet can also reap rewards where your scalp and hair are concerned. Here to explain further is today’s guest blogger, Nutritional Therapist and Author Eve Kalinik.  A former fashion PR, Eve moved over into the world of health and nutrition when she realised her busy, stressful lifestyle was having a severe impact on her health. Working in nutrition, her aim is to undo the common misconception that eating healthily is about rules and restriction, instead advocating a positive approach that is focused on eating more of the right foods. She works with both individuals and brands and writes for various publications; while August saw the publication of her first book: Happy Gut, Happy Mind – How to feel good from within, which offers insight into how our gut health and mental health are interlinked. Writing for The MONPURE Journal, she picks her top foods to ensure your scalp and hair are stronger and healthier than ever.   Our scalp and hair’s condition is dependent on many factors: products that we use topically, salon treatments, environmental factors (humidity frizz anyone?) and genetics. It is also very much affected by the foods we eat, since there are key nutrients that our scalp and our hair need in order to be healthy and well nourished. Here are some of the key food groups to include in your diet… PROTEIN – Hair is structurally made up of protein in the form of keratin, so it is vital we get enough dietary protein to support growth and strength in the hair. This could be in the form of meat and poultry (ideally organic grass-fed/free range); fish, eggs, cheese or yogurt; and plant-based sources such as tofu, lentils or chickpeas. You’ll also find small amounts of protein in nuts and seeds too. You should be aiming for around the same amount in grams per your weight in kg per day. Visually, that equates to around a palm-sized amount at each meal, which can be spread across the day as you may find you have more protein in the evening versus breakfast for example. As long as you are hitting the daily quota that’s the main thing.  BIOTIN – This helps to support the infrastructure of keratin (see above); low levels have actually been linked with hair loss. Biotin is readily available in many foods, such as egg yolks, almonds, walnuts and avocados to name just a few. A-C-E YOUR VITAMINS – Vitamins A, C and E are essential for a healthy scalp and hair. Vitamin A helps to support cell replication, which is important for hair follicles – find this (in beta-carotene form) in sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, peppers and apricots; and in the preformed source in butter, cheese, eggs and salmon. Vitamin C has two-fold benefits for the hair, in that it helps us to absorb iron and it also supports the production of collagen that is necessary for all connective tissue in the body including hair follicles. Vitamin C-rich foods include broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, kale, parsley, strawberries and blackberries. While Vitamin E provides antioxidant effects that have a protective role for cells including hair follicles – nuts are seeds are excellent sources. OMEGA 3 – This is important for every single cell membrane, including the hair follicles that keep the scalp and hair well hydrated. Omega 3 fatty acids are called essential, as we have to take them in through our diet. The highest sources of these include oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. You can also find them in grass-fed meat. Plant-based sources include flax and chia seeds, as well as walnuts although the conversion rate from these is rather low – so if you aren’t following an exclusive plant-based diet, it would be ideal to get these from meat and fish, as mentioned above.  IRON – Iron supports blood flow and oxygen to the hair follicles and low ferritin (iron stores) can result in slower hair growth, thinning and shedding. There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and non-heme – and our body absorbs the most amount of iron from heme sources. Heme iron foods can be found in red meat (ideally organic and grass-fed), sardines, mussels and clams; and in lower amounts in chicken, turkey and salmon. There is also a small amount in eggs. Non-heme iron foods would include lentils, beans, spinach and tofu. The best way to consume iron is with vitamin C rich foods (see above) as this can help with absorption, especially non-heme iron foods, so try to pair them up together where you can. Also try to avoid having tea or coffee with iron rich foods as this can impair absorption.  ZINC – This is a key mineral that supports turnover of cells including hair follicles. It also has a key role in managing sebum (oil) production that keeps the hair and scalp well lubricated. Shellfish are the highest source, such as oysters, crab, mussels and clams although they may not always feature in our day-to-day meals! Red meat, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and whole grains can also be great sources.  

Find out more

How to grow your hair

How can I grow my hair? Many of us aspire to thicker, longer locks. But while extensions can be an attractive short-term solution, they can put stress on the hair follicles and cause traction alopecia over time. So how do you make your own hair longer and stronger? Here are a few basic steps to follow. Care for your scalp At MONPURE we often say caring for the scalp is like gardening – nourish the soil and what grows out of it will flourish. While if it’s dry and neglected, the hair won’t grow through properly. Massage your scalp daily with Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum with a special pumpkin seed extract and castor oil to enhance healthy hair growth. We’d also recommend using our Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask once a week to ‘feed’ hair follicles with vitamin-rich camellia tea oil and hydrating aloe vera. Trim hair regularly This might seem counterintuitive, but if you find your hair is constantly snapping off after a certain length, chances are your split ends are the guilty culprits. This is where the ends of the hair become ‘torn’ and split apart, which can damage the rest of your hair if you don’t get them snipped off. Get regular trims at the salon or, if get a hairdresser to teach you how to do this yourself. (Always use proper hair scissors that are ultra sharp, regular scissors can cause the hair follicle to ‘puff’ out and lead to even more split ends.) Avoid bleach and harsh chemicals Have you noticed bleaching your hair can leave it looking frizzy? Using products with bleach and ammonia can really damage your hair’s condition making split ends a more likely occurrence. Bolster fragile hair strands with strengthening products, such as MONPURE’s Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo and Strengthening Essence-Conditioner. Both contain vegan silk peptides that create a breathable ‘second skin’ on both the scalp and hair, protecting it (by more than 35%). Limit heat tools and tight hairstyles According to our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan: “When it comes to boosting hair growth, I would advise to avoid common causes of hair ‘wear and tear’. For example, limit use of ceramic straighteners or hairdryers on a high setting. It’s also best to avoid pulling your hair back in tight braids or ponytails.” If you have to use heated styling tools, try using a lower heat setting and always prep hair beforehand with a heat protector spray. Take care when it comes to towelling and brushing your hair Hair strands are extremely fragile – especially when they’re wet. Rough drying with a towel and brushing too vigorously can cause a lot of damage – resulting in frizz and split ends. Which if you’re trying to grow your hair out, is not ideal. Swap your cotton towel for a less abrasive microfiber version and pat your hair dry gently. Once fully dry, brush from the ends of the hair upwards to loosen tangles. Use a satin scarf or pillowcase at night You might notice bits of snapped off hair when you wake up in the morning. The friction from cotton pillowcases can aggravate hair cuticles and cause breakage.  Tie hair in a satin scarf or use a satin pillowcase to protect those delicate strands while you sleep. Take the right supplements Food supplements can give hair growth an extra boost. According to our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan, “As well as topical treatments, a healthy scalp can be maintained by ensuring sufficient nutrients in our diet (including Iron, Zinc, Vitamin B, Selenium, and Vitamin C). Plus minimising physical and emotional stress is also key in preventing major scalp issues such as hair loss.” To kick-start your healthy hair growth habits, try our Great Lengths Regime, which now comes with a built-in saving of 25%.  And for anything else, please email our team with your questions at info@monpure.com

Find out more

'Double-serum' – the K-Beauty trend that works for your scalp

You may by now be already acquainted with our hardworking scalp serums: Follicle Boost Density Serum and Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum (the latter winning a Global Green Beauty Award 2020!), beloved by beauty editors and experts alike. But if you’re torn between bolstering hair growth and quenching a dry scalp, you no longer have to choose between one or the other – not if, like us, you’re inspired by the latest K-Beauty trend: ‘double serum’... So what is it exactly? Well, instead of layering your skincare products on top of each other, you use them together to create a bespoke treatment depending on what your skin needs that particular day. Clever stuff. And as with the skin on your face, the condition of your scalp tends to fluctuate, depending on the time of the month, weather or the amount of time left between washing. Sometimes it can be more dry and flaky, other times more greasy and irritated. So why not use both serums at once to create a bespoke cocktail according to how your scalp feels? While we wouldn’t advise using both formulas on the same area (given the amount of strong, active ingredients each one has), you might want to mix-and-match, applying different serums to different parts of the scalp. For example, if you have hair loss, such as traction alopecia, at the crown or sides of the head, you might want to add some Follicle Boost to just these areas, while if you’re experiencing itching at the top or back of the head (e.g. after being in contact with your pillow all night) Hydrate and Soothe might work well for those. The idea is to create a customised ‘scalp facial’ to suit the needs of a particular area of your scalp, rather than applying a single serum all over. (It means you can make both serums last a little longer too!) Give it a try and let us know your thoughts by tagging us @monpurelondon Interested in K-Beauty? Read: The Korean Skincare Bible by Lilin Yang, Leah Ganse and Sara Jimenez (author) Follow: @sarah_glow @thebeautywolf @fiddysnails Listen to: The Snailcast (via Apple Podcasts or Google Play) 

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How to treat scalp acne

Not only does acne plague many of us in our teens, but in fact adult acne is on the rise: a 2018 review found that acne affects between 12% to 22% of women aged 26 to 44 (for men, that figure is around 3%). While a 2016 study found that it affects 85% of women between the ages of 12 and 24. While acne mainly occurs on the face, it can also appear on other areas of the body, such as the chest and back – and the scalp. This comes as no surprise given that your scalp has a lot of oil glands (roughly 200-500 in every cm2 of scalp-skin). The acne occurs when the hair follicle becomes blocked with dead skin and oil, which is a breeding ground for acne-loving bacteria such as propionibacterium acnes. The result? Scalp breakouts, manifesting in unsightly red bumps along the hairline and a sore, bumpy scalp. As tempting as it is, you should refrain from squeezing or picking these scalp spots or cysts. Not least because you usually can’t see them if they’re at the back of your head, so you’re prodding around blindly and can’t see the damage you’re doing. Plus, the pressure from squeezing can worsen the infection and inflammation of the spot in question, leaving it more sore and red (and can lead to scarring and hair loss in the bargain). As with any type of acne, scalp acne has many causes, ranging from stress, hormonal imbalance, eating certain foods, and inflammatory responses to infection can all be contributing factors. From a nutritional standpoint, a lot of people believe (although clinical studies have yet to prove) upping your intake of omega 3 in your diet makes a big difference, as it apparently helps to reduce the amount of inflammation that causes the oil glands in your scalp to go into overdrive. Great sources are salmon and tuna or cod liver oil supplements (or seaweed and chia seeds if you’re vegan). Cutting down on sugar and sugary drinks can also help in the same way. Using a lot of heavy oil- and silicone-based styling products can also cause scalp congestion and acne, which is why you should wash and treat your hair and scalp with formulas containing high-quality, natural ingredients. You may find that what works to help treat hair loss can equally be an effective scalp acne treatment (clogged hair follicles can lead to both stunted hair growth and break outs). Lactic, retinol and salicylic acid are all heroes in this respect, speeding up cell turnover and dissolving dead skin cells that can cause said clogging – all of which can be found in our Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum. While keeping the scalp toned and hydrated is another way of balancing oil levels and keeping spots at bay. Our Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum contains witch hazel, a natural astringent which mops up excess oil on the scalp, while aloe vera hydrates and can help calm any red, angry cysts. As with your face, regularly exfoliating your scalp can be another way of keeping acne at bay. Our Clarifying Scalp Scrub works to sweep away dead, flaky skin and product build-up. (If you use it around your hairline, it can also help to get rid of any residual makeup and gunk that might have got trapped there.) If your scalp acne is serious, you might want to book an appointment with your GP or dermatologist. Or you can drop our team of experts a line at info@monpure.com with any queries or questions you may have.

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What are free radicals – and how do they affect the scalp?

You may be familiar with the term “free radicals” on skin and haircare labels, mainly in the context of these products being able to fight them (with what’s known as “antioxidants”). But what are free radicals exactly and why does your skin – especially scalp-skin – need protecting from them?  What are free radicals? Free radicals are a brand of ‘zombified’ molecules that attack healthy skin tissue. To get super technical for a minute (*lab goggles on*): a molecule is a group of two or more atoms, which represents the smallest physical unit of an element (like oxygen or water), which is able to take part in a chain reaction with other chemicals. Molecules contain sub-atomic particles called electrons that are negatively charged. Free radical molecules are unstable because they are missing one of these electrons – so in order to stabilise themselves, they steal electrons from other molecules, which then renders those molecules unstable. This causes free radicals to spread throughout the body, ‘infecting’ new cells like zombies in a horror film and leaving a trail of damage in their wake. How do they affect the scalp? Although we need a certain amount of free radicals in our body to fight viruses and bacteria, too many of them can cause problems – not least to the skin and scalp-skin. This is because when a free radical steals an electron, the cell’s DNA becomes damaged which then speeds up the ageing process. On a bigger scale where our skin and hair follicles are concerned, this leads to wrinkles, unwanted pigmentation, grey hair – and even hair loss over time.  How to protect your scalp against them The good news is that you can fight free radicals with the help of antioxidants (you may remember those from earlier). These are special compounds that are able to give up an extra electron to a free radical without becoming unstable themselves, thereby ending the chain of destruction free radicals cause. Rich sources of antioxidants are Vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, lycopene and selenium. You can find these both in the foods you eat and the products you apply to your skin.  Got a question about your scalp? Email our team of experts at info@monpure.com This article has been checked and verified by MONPURE’s resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan.

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How to treat an oily scalp

An oily scalp is something most of us have been plagued with at some point – which is no surprise given that the scalp is one of the areas with the most sebaceous glands. (There are roughly 200-500 of them in every cm2 of scalp-skin.) Not only does excess oil result in lank hair and greasy roots, it can also cause scalp acne at the hairline. So why does it happen?  An oily scalp can sometimes be the result of over-washing – where your scalp and hair are constantly being stripped of their natural oils, so your scalp-skin overcompensates by producing more oil as a result. The greasier your hair gets, the more you end up washing it, and so you’re caught in a vicious circle. Excess oil can also be a hormonal issue, such as puberty, menstruation or pregnancy – or even increased stress levels (which causes an increase in the hormone cortisol, leading to inflammation that makes your sebaceous glands go into overdrive).  So how can you treat an oily scalp? First things first: cut down the amount of times you wash your hair per week. Yes, it’s not going to be pleasant and things will get worse before they get better, but stay strong. (Wear a hat if you have to!) Your perseverance will pay off, and soon your scalp will settle and regulate the amount of oil it produces. If your scalp feels greasy after a workout, apply a few drops of MONPURE’s Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum through your roots and massage in. It contains witch hazel, a natural toner, which works to tighten pores and dry out the oil sweat produces. When it comes to the best oily scalp treatment, you probably need to switch your shampoo. If you’re using a shampoo with sulphates, these can dry the scalp and hair and have a similar effect to over-washing (i.e. making your scalp oilier in the long-run). Choose a gentle shampoo such as MONPURE’s Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo, which instead of harsh sulphates, contains coconut-derived cleansing agents together with hydrating aloe vera and strengthening vegan silk peptides. Follow it up with our Strengthening Essence-Conditioner, which has a lightweight texture that can be used on the scalp without weighing down the hair, replenishing the scalp-skin and balancing oil levels with the same silk peptides, together with argan oil and pro vitamin B5. An oily scalp and strands might be the result of product build-up, so use the Clarifying Scalp Scrub once a week, to lift away any lingering debris with biodegradable jojoba beads (which are non-abrasive but sweep away gunk with ease) together with nourishing shea butter. If your scalp has suddenly become very oily of late, it could be due to stress. According to our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan, “stress can wreak havoc with our hormones, sending our body’s normal processes into a tailspin and our skin’s oil glands haywire. This gives our hair a greasy appearance and can also lead to seborrhoeic dermatitis, which manifests itself red, irritated and scaly skin – and often leads to dandruff.” If you have serious concerns with regards to your oily scalp and dandruff, it would be advisable to seek advice from a dermatologist to obtain appropriate diagnosis and medical treatment, preferably at an earlier stage, before the issue becomes advanced.  Have a question about your scalp? Email us at info@monpure.com and our team of experts will get back to you.

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Natural ingredients to prevent and treat hair loss

We created MONPURE as a way of transforming how we care for the scalp, bridging the gap between skin and haircare. We were startled at how so many people were treating issues such as hair loss and hair thinning with harsh toxic chemicals. Hence we prioritise natural ingredients in our formulations as a healthier, more holistic way of dealing with such issues. So what are these ingredients and why are they so great for hair loss? Let us enlighten you … Pumpkin Seed Extract Not only does this clever extract boost hair follicles by nourishing the scalp, research has shown this extract can help block an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase which has been shown to produce a chemical called DHT from testosterone, which causes hair loss. It’s the star ingredient of our Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum. Jojoba Beads Jojoba is a North American plant (pronounced “hohoba”) from which a liquid wax can be extracted and turned into beads that can be used to gently buff away dead skin cells and product build-up on the scalp – creating the best environment for hair growth. Find it in our Clarifying Scalp Scrub. Soybean Oil This nutrient-rich vegetable oil is packed with Vitamin E, to strengthen and hydrate the scalp (and a healthy scalp leads to thicker, fuller hair after all). It’s highly prized when it comes to boosting hair growth, due to the fact that it contains spermidine, which studies have indicated* prolongs the hair’s anagen (growth) phase. It’s in our Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum. Coconut Oil Packed with essential vitamins and fatty acids as well as delivering a good glug of moisture, coconut is like a nourishing espresso shot for your scalp, stimulating hair growth and helping to repair broken strands. It features in our Strengthening Essence-Conditioner. Camellia Tea Oil Widely used in Asia, this essential oil is extracted from the seeds of the tea plant. Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, as well as essential fatty acids it delivers an intense hit of nourishment to neglected scalps to stimulate hair follicles and enhance healthy hair growth, while leaving it conditioned. Discover it in our Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask. * https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5718121/

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How to treat scalp redness

Scalp redness is where the skin on the scalp is flushed and can also be flaky and itchy – not to mention sore. So what causes it and how can you treat it? Our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan sheds some light on this very common condition. “Scalp redness can be attributed to a number of things, from irritation, to overheating, sunburn and physiological changes with exercise for example. It can also be a symptom of scalp conditions such as psoriasis or dandruff, as well as from taking certain medication or using harsh hair products. Some forms of scalp redness can be fairly easy to treat, via a cold shower or an anti-redness serum. While in more serious, persistent cases, specialist treatment may be required. “If you have a sensitive scalp, certain ingredients in skincare products can disrupt the skin barrier and cause flare ups – resulting in redness. Try to avoid products that contain common irritants like parabens, sulphates and silicones. If your skin does become inflamed, apply a hydrating anti-redness serum, such as MONPURE’s Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum with calming, anti-inflammatory ingredients such as aloe vera and witch hazel. “Redness can also occur if you have dry scalp-skin. This skin type lacks vital oils, which makes it vulnerable to damage, and often prone to redness and flaking – especially in cold weather. Use a scalp conditioner with nourishing, hydrating ingredients such as MONPURE’s Strengthening Essence-Conditioner with vitamin E and argan oil.  “If your red skin is accompanied by scaly patches and dandruff, you could have seborrheic dermatitis – a common skin condition that mainly affects your scalp. Issues like stress, puberty or pregnancy are often to blame. They can wreak havoc with our hormones, sending our body’s normal processes into a tailspin and our skin’s oil glands into overdrive. This manifests itself as red, irritated and scaly skin – giving our hair a greasy appearance, together with the dandruff flakes. Using MONPURE’s gentle Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo and Clarifying Scalp Scrub can help reduce oiliness and dead skin build-up.” “Otherwise sore, red patches of skin may be certain types of skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. Psoriasis is where the skin becomes inflamed and cell turnover goes into overdrive, which can cover the whole scalp or just occur in patches. It is thought to affect 2% of the population globally, and can occur at any age. For serious cases, a medical professional can prescribe a course of medication or injections. Otherwise shampoos and lotions can keep it under control. The best shampoo for scalp psoriasis (to treat serious, active cases) should be a tar-based shampoo – usually with coconut oil and salicylic acid to help dissolve the dead skin build-up.” If you have a question you’d like to ask Dr Sue Ann Chan, please send it to info@monpure.com

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Different types of hair loss and how to treat them

As you may know, August is Hair Loss Awareness Month – something that is at the core of our ethos here at MONPURE. Hair loss is something that affects many of us (40% of women will have some form of it in their lifetime), which can take its toll on our emotional health – especially if it’s noticeable.   As our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan advises, early intervention is important. “If you’re concerned about hair loss, it would be advisable to seek advice from a dermatologist to obtain appropriate diagnosis and medical treatment for your scalp, preferably at an earlier stage before it becomes advanced,” she says.  “Maintaining a good scalp care regime, with targeted products such as those created by the scientists behind MONPURE, is so crucial to preventing these issues,” she adds. “Regular cleansing, hydration and exfoliation of the scalp is key here.” Hair loss comes in many guises, so it’s important to identify what type you may have, so you can treat it accordingly. With that in mind, Dr Sue Ann Chan talks us through the most common types of hair loss she encounters in her clinic.  Female Pattern Hair Loss “This is a genetic type of hair loss which can be encountered by women who are in their 30s and older, but most frequently occurs with menopause. It happens when the hair’s growth phase slows down and the hair follicles shrink. It usually takes the form of diffuse thinning, starting from the crown of the head, but unlike male pattern hair loss, it doesn’t result in complete baldness. It can’t be ‘cured’ but it symptoms can be lessened by a healthy diet, cutting out smoking and limiting sun exposure. MONPURE’s Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum is good for preventing this type of hair loss, as it contains special pumpkin seed extract which blocks an enzyme called DHT, produced by testosterone and is directly linked to hair loss.” Alopecia Areata “This hair loss condition often happens when the body goes through stress and shock. Hair loss from the condition is identifiable by bald patches appearing throughout the scalp and otherwise patchy hair loss. However, there is a good chance that, for four out of five people complete regrowth will occur within a year without treatment. Medical treatments include steroid creams, while using gentle hair treatments with scalp nourishing ingredients (such as the vitamin-rich Camellia tea oil in MONPURE’s Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask) can also help encourage healthy hair growth.” Traction Alopecia “This is the only form of hair loss that is completely avoidable and caused by lifestyle. It’s caused by extensive wear and tear of the hair follicles due to tight hair styles such as braids and cornrows or wearing hair extensions, as well as using harsh chemicals that can irritate the scalp. All of these can damage the root, causing scarring and hair loss. Bald patches are normally localised around the areas that experience the most tension. A good scalpcare regime can help to rebuild damaged hair follicles, reduce scalp irritation and create an ideal environment for healthy hair growth. Use MONPURE’s Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo, which contains strengthening and anti-bacterial vegan silk peptides, with zero silicones or parabens to allow your hair follicles to breathe. While their Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum can calm any redness and ease discomfort, to encourage new hair to grow through thicker and stronger.” Telogen Effluvium “Telogen Effluvium occurs when more hair follicles than usual enter the hair’s resting phase (telogen phase). It’s characterised by excessive hair shedding – which can lead to thinning and bald patches – and often occurs after pregnancy or taking medications. Normal hair growth tends to resume once the body goes back to normal, but to speed things along, MONPURE’s Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum (suitable for use during pregnancy and breast-feeding) contains lactic acid and retinyl palmitate to speed up cell turnover and encourage healthy hair growth.” Diffuse hair loss “Diffuse hair loss is where there is general hair thinning over the whole scalp and can be attributed to a number of factors such as nutritional deficiencies or illnesses. Stress is another key factor – the stress hormone called cortisol regulates the normal functioning of our hair follicles. When cortisol is present at high concentrations, it causes cells in the hair follicles to undergo apoptosis (i.e. die) prematurely by up to 40%, resulting in hair loss.  As well as taking measures to reduce stress, a healthy diet, rich in iron, biotin, selenium, zinc, and folic acid should help also keep symptoms at bay, together with MONPURE’s nutrient-rich Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask.” If you have any specific questions for Dr Sue Ann Chan regarding hair loss, feel free to email us at info@monpure.com or send us a message via Instagram @monpurelondon Did you know, scrubbing your scalp can help prevent hair loss? Click here to learn more.

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The MONPURE guide to scalp psoriasis

  Psoriasis is a condition that affects many of us, where the skin’s natural shedding process goes haywire, manifesting in itchy red patches. As well as appearing all over the body, it can also affect our scalp – which can be difficult to diagnose, as symptoms are very similar to other conditions such as dandruff and eczema. So how do you know that what you’re dealing with is actually scalp psoriasis – and more importantly, how do you treat it? We enlisted the expertise of our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan to find out more … What is scalp psoriasis? {Dr Sue Ann Chan} “Scalp psoriasis is where the skin becomes inflamed and cell turnover goes into overdrive, leading to a flaky scalp and scaly red patches of skin. This can cover the whole scalp or just occur in patches. It is thought to affect 2% of the population globally, and can occur at any age.” How do you know if you have scalp psoriasis?  {Dr SC} “Frustratingly, psoriasis can be difficult to diagnose if you’re not medically trained. It usually manifests as dry, flaky skin on the scalp, which can also feel itchy and burning. You might notice that your scalp is itchy and flaky, but this isn’t necessarily psoriasis – it could be dandruff, eczema or something else. You may also have similar symptoms elsewhere on your body. “If symptoms are causing you serious discomfort, it might be worth visiting your GP or a dermatologist to get an accurate diagnosis and scalp psoriasis treatment.” What causes psoriasis? {Dr SC} “Psoriasis can be caused by a mix of genetics, immunity problems and environmental factors, such as sunlight and pollution. It tends to run in families (my psoriasis patients often report a close family member also having symptoms). Inflammation in our bodies is another driver of psoriasis, whilst stress and obesity can make symptoms worse. “Other known exacerbating causes include trauma or injury on the skin, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and using harsh chemical products which may irritate our scalp.” How to treat scalp psoriasis? {Dr SC} “For serious cases, a medical professional can prescribe a course of medication or injections. Otherwise shampoos and lotions can keep it under control. The best shampoo for scalp psoriasis (to treat serious, active cases) should be a tar-based shampoo – usually with coconut oil and salicylic acid to help dissolve the dead skin build-up.  “Elsewhere, MONPURE’s Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum contains anti-inflammatory witch-hazel to reduce redness. I would also recommend the Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask, with vitamin-rich camellia tea oil to boost the skin’s immune system and hydrate the scalp, to lessen the chances of a flare up, while peppermint and aloe vera work to soothe any itching and discomfort. To prevent psoriasis from returning, MONPURE’s Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo is mild enough that it won’t irritate the scalp-skin and cause a flare up.” MONPURE’s gentle yet effective line was developed by a team of scientists, dermatologists and beauty experts, to help boost scalp health so your hair can flourish in the process. Shop the MONPURE range.

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The MONPURE guide to treating dull hair

It’s a problem many of us are familiar with – when our hair is looking a little drab and sorry for itself and lacks the ‘swoosh factor’ we desire. So how do we help our hair get its bounce and shine back? If you’re looking for an effective dull hair treatment to revive your lacklustre locks, we’ve put together a guide, with the help of our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan who provides expert advice on dull, brittle hair repair. What are the signs of having dull hair? {Dr Sue Ann Chan} “Dull hair is characterised by a lack of moisture, shine and body. It typically has a coarse texture, prone to frizz and flyaways. The colour also tends to look drab (particularly if you dye your hair).” What are the main causes of dull hair? {Dr SC} “Hair dullness is primarily the result of a congested scalp, which clogs the hair follicles and weakens hair growth. The weaker hair is, the less keratin it has which is responsible for that lustrous texture and shine. It also occurs naturally as the scalp ages, there is less blood flow to the hair follicles, which is why our hair tends to become dry and flat the older we get. UV exposure, pollution and over-use of heated styling tools can also be contributing factors, together with a diet lacking in essential nutrients.” What’s the best treatment to remedy damaged, dull hair? (And which ingredients should we be using?) {Dr SC} “When it comes to dull hair treatment, the first product that comes to mind is MONPURE’s Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum, as it contains panthenol B5 +++ which boosts hydration and helps to replenish lost moisture during the day, as well as helping to mitigate the damaging effects of city pollution.  “Ensuring hair follicles are free from dead skin and debris is key to shiny, healthy hair growth. Use MONPURE’s Clarifying Scalp Scrub twice or three times a week to solve a flaky scalp. Additionally, you should invest in a hardworking yet gentle shampoo such as MONPURE’s Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo to help get rid of product build-up, pollution and hard water residue.”  Any final words of advice? {Dr SC} “To give the scalp a thorough exfoliation at a cellular level, products with acids in their formulations can really make a difference. MONPURE’s Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum contains lactic acid and retinyl palmitate, which both work to speed up cell turnover to ensure the scalp skin is decongested and replenished. “Argan oil is a great way of replenishing and locking in moisture into the hair, as it contains essential fatty acids and hydrating vitamin E. It’s the star ingredient of MONPURE’s Strengthening Essence-Conditioner, with a lightweight texture designed to absorb into the strands like a serum without weighing hair down.” Read more from Dr Sue Ann Chan about how the microbiome affects your scalp here.

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