Scalp Care 101 with Dr. Dina Strachan

We talk about the scalp a lot. LIKE A LOT! But for good reason. Healthy scalp = healthy hair. That’s why PHYTO always recommends a solid haircare routine starting with your scalp. Nourish it and smother it with all the botanical love. The power of plants gets the job done safely and leave you with gorgeous healthy hair. And we’re not the only ones with an affection for healthy scalps. Our friend Dr. Dina Strachan is a highly sought after dermatologist with a flair for scalp care.

Dr. Dina, member of “Generation X-cellence” is not your run-of-the-mill dermatologist. Outfitted with a good dose of moxie and a sharp sense of humor, she is regularly featured in outlets such as The New York Times, Women’s Health, Rolling Stone, Good Morning America and many others. This New York City dermatologist is so much more than just a doctor. Dr. Dina covers health, beauty and cultural issues, providing inspiration in a unique and engaging way.

Since PHYTO is a fan of Dr. Dina and all of us are scalp superfans, what better person to provide insight on how to identify the type of treatment each scalp needs to grow beautiful hair.

Check out our conversation below to get a little scalp education from the fabulous Dr. Dina!



1. What are the most common questions you get about scalp care?

How can I treat my dry scalp?

How can I treat my itchy scalp?

2. What are the main types of scalp? How to flag them?

As a physician we don’t tend to think of scalp in a “types” category.  We tend to think of them as either normal or prone to a condition. People who describe themselves as having “dry” scalps usually have a medical condition called seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff falls into this category) and sometimes psoriasis. People usually complain of having oily hair, not oily scalp. 

3. How to provide the right care for your scalp condition?

Maintaining a healthy scalp for any condition requires preventing build up of old, dead skin cells and removing excess oil to prevent scalp inflammation. This may also involve the use of specific products and/or medication to address certain scalp problems.

4. How can your scalp type affect the condition of your hair?

Again, more than “scalp type” it would be how would a particular medical condition affect the hair. Inflammation on the scalp can affect hair growth. Scratching the scalp constantly can cause hair breakage. Oily hair is usually the result of excess oil production on the scalp such as with certain hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome or hyperthyroidism. People rarely complain of oily scalp.

5. Can someone have a scalp type that is opposite to the hair type or condition (e.g. oily scalp w/ dry locks)?

Yes. Many people with dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis (“dry scalp”) produce more oil that contributes to scalp inflammation. They scalp may seem dry whereas the hair may seem oily. Also, despite the fact that sebum, our natural skin oil, contributes to this problem, the hair in people with seborrheic dermatitis may be dehydrated and dry. This is why it’s important to use the correct products for both one’s scalp condition and hair type.

6. Finally, is there a scalp care tip that can be applied for all scalp types?

With all the trends that encourage people to shampoo less often and the increase use of dry shampoo, it important to properly shampoo the hair and scalp at least once a week. This removes old skin cells, excess oil and products that contribute to damaging scalp inflammation. On the other hand, over washing the hair can damage and cuticle causing the hair to be dry and brittle. The right balance of product type and frequency is important. 

While PHYTO’s mission is to provide our customers with healthy and beautiful hair and scalp, make sure to visit a doctor if you feel your condition does not improve or worsen after a while.