Why You Should Be Exfoliating Your Bald Head

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It may come as a surprise, but anyone with a bald head should be exfoliating their scalp. Exfoliating a bald head is the best way to keep it clean and healthy.

Why should you exfoliate your bald head?

Bald men should exfoliate their heads to remove dead skin and built-up dirt, oil, and sweat. If your scalp isn’t properly maintained, this layer of grime gives an unhealthy, dull appearance and causes friction while shaving. It can also get quite smelly in some cases.

The scalp contains glands called sebaceous glands, which secrete a compound of natural oils called sebum. This is designed to lubricate and protect the skin, especially when dry.

My bald head.

A dry scalp is a bald man’s worst enemy. Using soap and other cleaning products dries the scalp and causes flaky skin on your bald head. Sebum is secreted in greater quantities, and this creates a dull, oily look.

Sebum is part of your skin’s natural defenses but it needs to be kept under control. Regular exfoliation and moisturizing make sure your scalp doesn’t need to produce too much, so your head maintains a clean, healthy appearance.

For those of us who like a shiny bald head, exfoliating helps get this glossy finish. All that dead skin and dirt gives a dull appearance – exfoliating lets your bald light shine bright.

How often should you exfoliate your bald head?

If you’re just using a wet cloth in the shower you can gently exfoliate daily, just as you’d clean the rest of your body every day. If you’re using a specialist scrub or other exfoliating product, reduce the frequency to around twice a week.

This will make sure you don’t damage the scalp by scrubbing at newer, more sensitive skin. It takes time for dead skin cells to build up on your scalp, so there’s no need to vigorously scrub away at your bald head on a daily basis.

Bald head exfoliators
Bald head exfoliators

Should you exfoliate before or after shaving your head?

Always exfoliate before shaving to remove dead skin and reduce friction. This will soften the hair, and the clean surface will allow the blade to cut closer to the scalp. You should also experience less irritation when shaving against the grain for a closer finish.

I shave my head 2-3 times a week. This is because I’m around a 6 on the Norwood Scale (see below) and I like to keep my hair as short as possible.

Norwood scale
The Norwood scale. See Norwood 2 examples.

This avoids the contrast between the bald areas and what’s left of my hair on the sides, which contributes to scalp discoloration on my bald head. If you’re closer to a 3 or 4, you might only want to shave your head once a week or less.

This is fine, and with this amount of hair, you should be shampooing as normal anyway. Try to exfoliate your head when your hair is shorter, as this will make it easier to access and fully clean your scalp.

Will exfoliating make me lose my hair faster?

Exfoliating your scalp can actually help keep hair follicles healthy and reduce hair loss. However, exfoliating too vigorously or too often can damage hair follicles and increase hair loss, so it’s important to get the balance right to keep your scalp and hair healthy.

Dr Sue Ann Chan, the resident dermatologist at Monpure, explains that “regular cleansing, hydration, and exfoliation of the scalp are so important”. Exfoliating ‘decongests follicles, nourishes the skin, primes the scalp for the optimal absorption of other hair growth boosting ingredients, and stimulates circulation to the follicles.’

However, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. According to naturalwellbeing.com, ‘Exfoliating too often can damage the scalp and hair follicles and might even cause hair loss.’

If you’re worried about losing your hair faster, stick to exfoliating once a week, and don’t scrub too hard.

How to exfoliate a bald head

To exfoliate your bald head, use a cloth soaked in hot water to wipe any sweat, oil, and dirt buildup away from the scalp. The exfoliating motion should be firm enough to dislodge the dead skin cells that have built up on your scalp since your last wash.

Removing this layer of dead skin will give your head a more healthy look and massively reduce the appearance of dandruff/dry skin. Apply shampoo or a specialist bald head cleaner to the cloth every other day, and just use water the rest of the time.

You can also use specialist exfoliating products, but these can damage the skin so should be used less frequently.

I use HeadBlade’s HeadShed scrub to maintain my melon, and as a bonus, you can get 10% off at the official site by using the code BaldandHappy at checkout:

HeadBlade HeadShed Exfoliating Scrub

  • Prepares for Smooth Shaving
  • Removes Dirt, Oil, Dead Skin
  • Prevents Razor Clogging
  • Gentle Yet Effective
  • Easy, Comfortable Use
  • 10% off with code BaldandHappy

I use HeadShed because it’s a great all-round scrub, but there are other options. For example, there are more suitable products if you have sensitive skin, or if you’re working to a budget. You can read about them all in this guide to the best bald head exfoliators.

After exfoliating in the shower, you might feel a slight sting as you rinse under the hot water. This is because the layer of dead skin has been scrubbed away and the new skin is sensitive.

It’s normal, but if it stings a little too much it’s probably a sign you’re overdoing the exfoliating process.

Remember that we’re just sweeping away dead skin here – if you keep scrubbing at new skin you’re likely to damage your scalp. Reduce how frequently you’re exfoliating and don’t rub as hard, and for shorter periods.

Wait, shampoo?

Yes, shampoo. Most newly-bald gentlemen assume their shampoo days are behind them, but this is a mistake. Bald people need shampoo because it’s important to keep your scalp healthy.

Once hair leaves your head, it’s dead. Your scalp, however, is a living, breathing, oil-producing machine. Shampoo keeps the scalp healthy and clean.

When I wrote about the best shampoos for bald heads, I recommended C3 Head Wash as the best for general use:

C3 Head Wash

  • Prevents dry, flaky skin and/or oily skin
  • Hydrates and restores balance to skin
  • Sulfate and paraben-free
  • Safe for you and the environment
  • Certified cruelty-free, never tested on animals, vegan
  • Made in USA

C3’s shampoo is ideal for bald men with regular scalps, but the article also goes into detail about which shampoo to use if you have a dry, oily, or sensitive/itchy scalp.

C3 Head Wash
C3 Head Wash, proudly displayed in my shower

You can read my full review of C3 Head Wash here.

What to do after exfoliating

If you need to shave your head, now is the time to do so. All that dead skin can’t get in the way, and the hot water should have opened the pores and softened the hair, creating less irritation.

Whether you’ve shaved or not, you can then use a moisturizing conditioner or a specialist bald head moisturizer like Bee Bald Smooth Plus Daily Moisturizer With SPF30 to replenish the moisture in your scalp.

Bee Bald Smooth Plus Daily Moisturizer

  • Protects from harmful UVA/UVB Rays
  • Tones, hydrates, and moisturizes skin
  • Smooths fine lines, wrinkles and dry patches
  • Helps reduce shine and control oily secretions


If you’re rocking a bald head, make sure you rock a healthy one. Exfoliating your scalp is vital to keep it healthy, and helps you get a closer and safer shave.

Just be sure not to overdo it, as exfoliating too hard and too often can damage the sensitive skin underneath the dead cells you’ve scrubbed away.

If you’re already fully bald, use a cloth in the shower to clean your head as you would any other part of your body.

If you want to use an exfoliating scrub, use this 2-3 times a week at most to avoid damage to the scalp.

If you’re interested in other ways to keep your scalp healthy, there are plenty more products for bald heads, and here’s my complete guide to bald head care.

If you have any questions about exfoliating your scalp, let me know in the comments below.

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This post was written by Matt:

I've been shaving my head for nearly 20 years. I'm here to share that experience, good and bad, help you embrace your hair loss, and live your best bald life.

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