Honestly? Dandruff can be an embarrassing topic.
This is a safe space: Who else fears finding flakes in their hair? Not only does dandruff take a toll on your confidence and lifestyle, but it also plays a role in our hair health. That makes it worth holding a real discussion over its effects.
What is Dandruff?
SELF gives the perfect definition of what dandruff actually is: “a condition in which the scalp starts to itch and flake”. Dandruff occurs when there is excessive skin cell build-up on the scalp, which will appear white and flaky.
It’s important to note that dandruff is more common than you think. Healthline reported that approximately 50% of people experience dandruff. Here comes the sigh of relief: if you’re affected by dandruff, you’re not alone. (Fortunately, you’re not hopeless either!)
Causes of Dandruff
The most common trigger for dandruff is a fungus called malassezia, which feeds off of your naturally-produced sebum oil. Sebum is produced from the scalp within each hair follicle, and its presence helps lubricate your hair strands. If you’re not properly caring for your scalp, you’re more likely to allow malassezia to completely remove all of your natural sebum oil, which then leads to dandruff.
In addition to malassezia, here are a few other factors that can cause dandruff:
- Underlying illness
- Hard Water (water with a high-mineral content)
- Tight hairstyles
- Excessive or overproduction of Sebum
Remedies of Dandruff
Don't worry your pretty little curls; with every problem, there’s a solution! If you’re experiencing dandruff, here are a two key ways you can alleviate your scalp:
- Gentle Shampooing
- Exfoliating Your Scalp
If you notice your dandruff is more serious (to the point to where it’s alarming), we recommend seeing a dermatologist. Home remedies are always a good idea, but talking with a professional will never hurt either!
What’s better than curing dandruff? Not having any to begin with! Follow these few tips to prevent dandruff from ever giving you trouble:
Curly hair is often drier than loose curls or straight hair (because of the sebum that our scalps produce). Often, when our hair is dry, we like to turn to products such as oils, creams, and moisturizers for our go-to solutions.
This actually causes more harm: by adding products to your hair and scalp regularly (without properly cleansing it), you’re creating product build-up (added on top of your sebum production).
That’s when you just have to wash it all away! Do your best to thoroughly cleanse your scalp and hair weekly with a gentle clarifying shampoo.
Avoid Tight Hairstyles
Tight hairstyles (such as braids and extensions) can often cause dandruff. Dermatologist Neal Bhatia, MD, told RealHealthMag “...by increasing stress to the scalp that results in additional dryness and inflammation.” As gorgeous as these styles can be, it’s not worth becoming flaky for!
We recommend trying out low-manipulation styles, such as braid-outs, twist-outs, and Wash + Go’s.
Keep Your Scalp Moisturized
During colder seasons, it’s more likely that your skin (and your scalp!) will be dry, due both the weather outside and the use of heat in our indoor spaces.
To remedy this, it’s helpful to incorporate hot oil treatments. In addition to those, you can also apply a hair serum to your scalp after you’ve finished your wash day. It’s best to apply this serum to your scalp after you’ve washed out your shampoo; afterwards, thoroughly rinse it out and follow up with your conditioner as normal.
Dandruff isn’t always so pleasant to deal with, but don’t let it ruin your holiday (nor your hair!). Have you ever experienced dandruff? Let us know how you handled it in the comments below!
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