Ohhh, the dreaded product buildup, you can see it and even smell it at times. It's not just harmless gunk, what it does to your hair follicles and scalp can be a hair killer.
Now look, nobody is gonna stop using product, we aint crazy. Let keep it real, without the assistance of good hair products, straight, curly, and kinky hair would ALL look a hot mess. Lol...
The Growth-Slowing Hair-Harming Dangers of Product Build-Up
Out of fear developing product build up a lot of people in the
natural hair community have cut back on using a ton of products.
When we say "product build-up", we're talking about the gradual accumulation of products on your scalp and/or your hair strands. THE GUNK!
The build-up we end up with is actually a combination of a few things...
- Products you manually put in your hair.
- Your scalps natural oil called 'sebum'.
- Thousands of tiny dust particles from the air.
All of that creates build up...
As this combination of substances accumulate, they mix together to create a thick gooey substance filled with potentially harmful bacteria.
You Need Washing Practices To Prevent NOT Remove Build-Up
This is major, if you're noticing thick gunk under your fingernails your follicles are already compromised and your scalp is already starting to get inflamed and irritated depending on many factors like your hair regimen, whether you live an active or non-active lifestyle and your environment.
Everyone gets to this point of product build-up different rates.
So when deciding on a wash day routine your goal should be to avoid this buildup from accumulating altogether rather than waiting for it to happen
before washing your hair.
Nobody is perfect, and most of us are guilty, at one time or another, of waiting for the gunky build-up to accumulate before deciding to wash our lusciousness and get the gunk up outta here!
How Gunk Affects Your HAIR STRANDS Specifically
Ok so, both of these situations STINK! But they are unique situations, with different types of harm caused.
Build- up on your scalp effects and behaves differently than build up on your hair strands.
See, your hair strands that are healthy and free of buildup behave and reacts to moisture when water is introduced depending on your hairs porosity level, it soaks up what it can, your hair strands swell up, getting FULL, and then they quickly lets go of excess water.
That makes your hair strands more pliable and flexible, more resistant to breakage and well moisturized until it eventually releases the remaining water into the atmosphere.
When your hair strands are experiencing build-up, this gunky mess creates a barrier between the water and your hair making it difficult for your hair to soak up the moisture.
Without access to moisture, your gunked up hair strands are more prone to breakage.
On top of that, light can no longer reflect on your cuticles due to
the uneven surface the buildup creates on your hair strands, causing your hair to lose a sheen and appear dull build.
How Gunk Affects Your SCALP Specifically
Product Build-up on your scalp is a lot different and can lead to more serious issues, especially for highly-textured hair.
Your scalp is part of your skin, in fact, it's the thickest area of skin on your whole body.
But it STILL can also be just as sensitive as a skin on your face.
Making things worse, this dark moist environment of your scalp is a perfect place for harmful bacteria to multiply, so it's important to give this area extra attention.
Your EVER-IMPORTANT sebum is a thin acidic oil created underneath your scalp that secretes out of the scalp.
The purpose of this oil is to slide down, coat and protect your hair strands but with highly textured hair the loops and bends make it difficult for the sebum to slide down, causing a lot of this oil to back up and accumulate on your scalp.
On top of that, very tiny dust particles from the air easily sticks to the sebum ,after a while this built up mixture accumulates so much that it becomes visible.
It's easy to see how adding products to your scalp will increase the accumulation of buildup.
What makes build up on your scalp so difficult is due to its dark warm and moist environment bacteria has a perfect opportunity to grow and multiply.
Some of this bacterium filled gunk will eventually penetrate into your follicles interrupting the activity going on in your hair bulb which can dramatically change the quality of your hair that goes out the follicle prolonged build-up can also cause infections. Don't worry though, I'm working on a new article that will teach you how to properly remove buildup and identify which products are causing it.