Dandruff is a scalp condition that affects people all over the world. The condition is characterized by the excessive formation of white/yellow flakes on the scalp, or more embarrassingly, on the shoulders of your nice black shirt. So how do you prevent it from happening to you? Well, before we get to that we first need to understand what causes dandruff.
Dandruff has more than one cause. In some cases, dandruff is the result of dry skin. This is why you may notice your dandruff flares up during winter and fall when the air is dry. While in other instances, dandruff can be brought on by oily skin (seborrheic dermatitis). If your sebaceous glands produce excessive amounts of sebum (oil), your pores will clog up from oil and skin cells. This builds up leading to dandruff.
Dandruff is also caused by the yeast-like fungus, Malassezia, which sort of sounds like the name of a Disney villain. Well, sufferers of dandruff would definitely consider Malassezia to be evil. Malassezia, in fact, is a natural fungus that lives on the scalps of most adults and leads to dandruff only when it is overactive. The fungus only thrives when exposed to dirt, grime, and excessive oil.
And although dandruff is typically not a serious condition, it can be embarrassing and frustrating. Luckily, there are numerous methods available to treat dandruff and prevent it all together. To help you keep dandruff at bay, I’ve compiled a list of 15 affordable and accessible tips below.
1. Wash your hair
Dirty hair and scalp can aggravate dandruff and cause itchiness. Dermatologists normally warn against washing your hair every day, the concern being that your hair and scalp will be stripped of natural oils, thus causing irritation. When it comes to dandruff, however, not shampooing enough will only cause dead skin cells, dirt and oil to accumulate, which the fungi and yeast feed on. An excess of dead skin cells on the scalp may also begin to shed leading to further dandruff troubles.
To rid yourself of dandruff, you first need to remove all the gunk. To do this, it is recommended that you use a medicated shampoo for dandruff specifically. These can be found at drugstores and should contain zinc, selenium sulfide, or ketoconazole. Most of these shampoos require daily washing but check the instructions on the product before you start using it.
If you don’t have dandruff, but want to prevent it from ever popping up, then you should wash your hair 2 or 3 times a week. Avoid shampooing more than this, as it could lead to irritation. Moreover, remember to use lukewarm water, as hot water can strip out moisture from the hair and scalp. Choosing a shampoo that contains a clarifying formula will relieve an oily scalp while choosing a moisturizing formula will relieve a dry scalp.
But, whatever the shampoo is, make sure to lather it well with your fingers and leave it in for at least a minute. This will gives your shampoo enough time to remove any bacteria, dirt, and excess oils from your scalp. After waiting, be sure to rinse the shampoo thoroughly. Not doing so can leave unwanted sebum and shampoo, which will inevitably result in that familiar residue on your head. Use a dry shampoo if you struggle to find the time for three washes each week.