What is the scalp microbiome, and how does it impact hair health? Nutrafol explores with a brand new topical line called Scalp Microbiome.

Sam Archer, Nutrafol’s vice president of product marketing and innovation, tells Nutritional Outlook why the scalp microbiome is the next big thing in hair health nutrition.

Nutrafol continues to lead innovation in the hair-health supplements market. Earlier this year, the company, already known for its hair-growth nutraceuticals for men and women, launched a revolutionary product called Collagen Infusion, which additionally protects hair from the impacts of aging. Now, the company is rolling out a brand new product line that tackles hair health from yet another angle: the scalp’s microbiome. This June, the company introduced its Scalp Microbiome product line.

The Scalp Microbiome line includes three products: a Build-Up Blocker exfoliating mask, Root Purifier cleansing shampoo, and Stress Reliever scalp essence. All are topical products that, when applied, help rebalance the scalp’s microbiome, promote microbiome diversity, and create a strong scalp barrier.

In a press release, the company described why a balanced scalp microbiome is integral to healthy hair. “The scalp microbiome is a delicate ecosystem of microorganisms that shields the scalp from infection and irritation, similar to the gut microbiome,” explains Sam Archer, Nutrafol’s vice president of product marketing and innovation, to Nutritional Outlook. She says that when the scalp’s microbiome is imbalanced, it can result in oil build-up, dryness, flakiness, and irritation that subsequently can stunt hair growth within the follicle.

In addition to tackling these imbalances by exfoliating and nourishing the scalp, Scalp Microbiome products have also been granted the MyMicrobiome “Microbiome Friendly” seal. According to Nutrafol, this certification is “reserved for products that follow specific clinical testing to ensure each product protects and promotes good diversity of microflora.”

With the launch of Scalp Microbiome, Nutrafol will raise awareness of the association between the microbiome and hair health. “Nutrafol continues to be the industry leader by reshaping the category of hair health, paving a new way forward through an individualized, whole-body approach,” says Archer. “Through this commitment, Nutrafol has spent years researching the scalp barrier and the impact of internal and environmental triggers on the scalp microbiome, as the scalp is an often overlooked aspect of hair health.” She adds that “Current scalp care is often focused on improving specific scalp issues and are often underwashed and lathered with harsh chemicals that strip scalp microbiomes, exposing them to damaging factors like pollution, toxins, dirt, and more.”

Consumers are already now thinking about the association between a healthy microbiome and brain health, immunity, even heart health—all links now under investigation. But will it be difficult to get consumers thinking about their scalp microbiome? How heavy will the lift be to educate consumers about this new aspect of hair health?

Hopefully, consumers’ already expanding awareness about the gut microbiome will pave the way to their awareness of the scalp microbiome, Archer says. She admits education is ongoing and that Nutrafol is committed to spreading the word: “The scientific understanding of the scalp microbiome is really new, and the connection of our entire microbiome, internal and external, is something that will take time for consumers to understand fully. Nutrafol is making the connection between hair and scalp conditions and what is causing the problem at the scalp microbiome level.”

Archer also discussed how the Scalp Microbiome line works in tangent with Nutrafol’s other existing hair-health offerings, including its nutraceuticals. “Nutrafol’s Hair Growth Nutraceuticals target the internal root causes of hair thinning by addressing underlying imbalances within the body that affect hair growth as the foundation to our hair health. Taking a whole-body approach to hair health, Nutrafol looks to the entire body as an ecosystem that works together, which the scalp microbiome is part of. Balancing the scalp microbiome creates the optimal environment for hair to thrive but alone cannot grow hair. Nutrafol’s Hair Growth Nutraceuticals work as the foundation to healthy hair growth, while adding our scalp microbiome products to address specific scalp and hair concerns provides an environment for healthy hair to thrive.”