What Causes Dandruff? Tips to Manage a Flaky Scalp

Dandruff is the flaking of skin on the scalp – a condition that is never fun to deal with. Unfortunately, with the seasons changing, dandruff can be unavoidable as many people end up suffering from dry scalps during the colder months. It typically occurs when the skin of the scalp starts to peel off. Although it is normal for the skin to exfoliate, it really becomes a problem when the amount of dandruff becomes an eyesore.

The cause of dandruff is not fully understood and there are different types. Poor diet, hormone imbalance, stress, poor hygiene, infrequent shampooing, not removing a synthetic product from hair, harsh weather conditions, are all causes of dandruff. One of the most common and generally the first symptom of dandruff is white flakes seen on dark clothes. Scalp itching is another common first symptom. While I cannot tell you how to entirely get rid of dandruff, I can give you some tips to help you deal with it.

Use an Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

medicated shampoo

The most effective way to treat and control dandruff is to use a medicated shampoo. These shampoos are usually available as over-the-counter products and when chosen right – can make a great difference. How often you should use the shampoo varies for different people – you can use it daily or a couple of times a week. Read the instructions on the bottle. When shampooing your hair, rub the product into your scalp well and leave it on your head for about 5 minutes (or as directed) before you rinse. Rinse thoroughly as any leftover shampoo may irritate your skin. Once your dandruff is under control, you should be able to use the medicated shampoo less frequently.

Use a Nourishing Conditioner


Keep your scalp hydrated by applying a nourishing conditioner. Using a conditioner that coordinates with the shampoo you use will help you replenish your hair with moisture and restore its balance. I suggest you look for a formula that contains a caffeine complex – it will leave your hair shiny, soft and manageable. After using your medicated shampoo, apply the conditioner and massage gently. Leave it on for one to two minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Exfoliate Your Scalp


You probably know the great importance of exfoliating the skin on your face and body. It is known that the scalp can benefit from gentle exfoliation as well. Exfoliating your skin helps slough away dead skin cells that have emerged on the surface of your skin to reveal the younger, fresh cells underneath. The same happens when you exfoliate the scalp. Your scalp is skin, which means it also experiences a build-up of dead skin cells, dirt, and oil. Using an exfoliating treatment that’s specially formulated for the scalp, can help loosen that buildup and slough away dead skin cells on the surface of your scalp. Scalp scrubs formulated with apricot seeds are a good option to gently remove impurities, flakes, and buildup from dirt and excess oils that weigh the hair down. Use the scalp scrub in the shower before washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner. Gently massage it onto your scalp and throughout your wet hair.

Avoid Dry Shampoo and Hair Styling Products


As much as you rely on your hair styling products to achieve different styles, they may actually be the culprit that is causing your hair and scalp harm. According to experts, hair styling products can cause buildup on your hair and scalp, making them oilers and ultimately leading to dandruff. If you cannot totally avoid them, try at least to minimize the amount you use to keep dandruff at bay. Also, try no to scratch your scalp as it can exacerbate inflammation and irritation. Especially if you have long, sharp nails, scratching can cause open scalp wounds which can lead to infections. Instead, do a gentle massage only – it will also allow the ingredients to penetrate the scalp easily.

Take It Easy on Apple-Cider Vinegar


Many people suggest using apple cider vinegar as a home remedy for a variety of things, including treating dandruff. However, dermatologists have divided opinions on the matter. Some of them say that it could potentially help as apple cider vinegar has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that can lower the levels of yeast on the skin and calm inflammation. But there are also many dermatologists that don’t support the use of apple-vinegar for dandruff, saying that there are many more effective remedies. So, you can try using apple-cider to see how things go, just don’t go overboard with it as you’ll end up making your hair smell like a salad dressing.

If you feel that your dandruff condition is worsening despite all the things you’ve tried, call a dermatologist and make an appointment. Also, if your dandruff problem negatively affects your social, work, sleep, or other daily activities, you will need a more effective treatment and should see your health care practitioner.

Author: Michael Hobbs

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