Dandruff is among the most common hair-related problems and affects up to 50% of the people. As the winters wear on, it only gets worse as the scalp ends up getting drier than usual. The Mayo Clinic defines dandruff as ‘the flaking of skin on the scalp’. Addressing the same, Dr. Jessica Weiser of New York Dermatology Group explains that these white flakes are ‘ a mild and common form of seborrheic dermatitis’.
There is no one reason for dandruff. It’s because of various reasons, depending on the weather, one’s scalp type, hair products one uses, etc. Dry skin of the scalp is among the prime causes of dandruff. This can be because of either using shampoo too much or not washing your hair regularly. Although, this does not mean that if you have a dry scalp, you’ll have dandruff too. It just means that chances of a dry scalp leading to dandruff are not negligible.
Dandruff is not just about having to brush off white flakes from the shoulders of your black sweater, but also about the itchiness on the scalp. It eventually makes the hair grow weak and leads to severe hair fall. The problem speeds up in winters because, with the fall in temperature, the skin of our scalp also becomes drier.
If you are among those who often face the problem of dandruff, here are some tips that you’ll certainly find useful in battling it.
1. Switch to a shampoo that has anti-dandruff benefits
Changing your hair products and switching to the ones that are best suited for your needs is the very first step. Shampoos that contain zinc and sulfur help the best with the problem of dandruff. If it is only dryness and a flaky scalp you suffer from, a shampoo with salicylic acid will suffice for you. Use the ones with zinc pyrithione, ketoconazole, and selenium sulfide in case you are also experiencing irritation and redness. With inflammation, a tea tree shampoo is what you need.
2. Use shampoo only on the scalp
Anti-dandruff shampoos keep the excessive oil at bay. This means they dry out the scalp and if you’ll apply them on your hair too, it will also dry out. Hence, one must apply any special dandruff solution shampoo and treatments only on the scalp and not on your hair. Once you have applied it, let it sit for at least 5 minutes. This is the minimum time the treatment requires doing its work.
3. Use only anti-dandruff conditioner
By using any regular conditioner after using a specialized anti-dandruff shampoo, you are completely undoing any benefits the shampoo might have had on your scalp. Hence, make sure you use only a specialized anti-dandruff conditioner after washing your hair. Choose a conditioner that complements your shampoo. Many people believe that it is just the shampoo that does the major job, but this is a myth. Be sure to use a dandruff-specific conditioner every time you wash your hair.
4. Exfoliate your scalp
The skin of your scalp needs regular exfoliating too, just like the skin of your face and other body parts does. Exfoliation is done to get rid of the dead skin cells that get accumulated on the surface of your scalp. Once you get rid of these dead skin cells, fresh ones take their place, making the skin look nourished and healthy. On our scalp, there is an accumulation of dirt and oil too, and this layer also needs to be scrapped off regularly. Using the right exfoliating products, you can get rid of all this top layer of dry skin.
5. Don’t over-rely on dry shampoo
Although replacing some of your hair styling products with dry shampoo is a more sensible option, one should be careful that they do not end up overusing it. Dry shampoo has some benefits like it provides hair with the nutrients, gives more volume and better texture to the hair, refreshes oily hair, etc. Yet, you shouldn’t make dry shampoo a permanent part of your daily hair-care routine. Use it either once or maybe twice a week at max, only if your hair needs it.
6. Keep the use of hair styling products minimal
Styling your hair with the help of a range of hair products looks glamourous but it can be very damaging for your hair and the scalp in the long run. Mayo Clinic has confirmed that high usage of some hair styling products can lead to an oiler scalp, which ultimately leads to more dandruff. Hence, their minimal use is their best use.
7. Change your diet
One’s unhealthy food habits and lack of proper nutrition in their body can also give rise to the dandruff problem. Food items with higher amounts of carbohydrates are among the ones that speed up the problem. Dandruff is also a result of an oily scalp. Dairy and sugary foods can cause it. Hence, try to keep a check on your carbs and sugar intake if you suffer from a dandruff problem.
8. Give hot-oil masks a shot
Using oil masks will help you manage your scalp’s excessive oil, as it will attract the oil from your scalp and eliminate it. The safest and the most used oil for this task is the coconut oil. All you have to do is heat the oil a little and apply it to your scalp gently. Massage with soft hands and remember, you do not want to heat the oil too much and risk burning your scalp.
9. Avoid scratching
Those who suffer from the problem know how heavenly a good scratch on the scalp feels. But did you know that by scratching, you are only speeding up the problem? Scratching satisfies the itch for a short while, but it will only lead to more irritation and inflammation after that. Even worse, if you have long or sharp nails, scratching might also lead to open wounds on your scalp with increases the risk of any further infection.
10. Brush your hair regularly
If you brush your hair regularly, it will not give the dead skin cells and the oil to get accumulated o your scalp, making it flaky. Regular brushing of the hair also increases blood circulation, which keeps the scalp healthier and better nourished. Regular brushing also massages your hair, enhances hair growth, and provides your hair with a better texture.
Given above are some basis dos and don’ts for dandruff prevention. If the condition persists or stimulates, fix an appointment with a dermatologist as soon as possible. It is better to get the root of the problem pin-pointed at the beginning and then work on its solution. Be regular with the hair-care routine that is specially designed for your needs. Hair treatments take a little time to show results, but putting in the required amount of time and effort will keep the problem from developing further and will eliminate it, eventually.