Everyone's Least Favorite D Word
DANDRUFF! You know, those white little flakes that land on your shoulders it seems every time you are wearing a dark shirt? There are a ton of common misconceptions about dandruff whether it be the causes or if it is something that can be fixed. Today I am here to tell you that yes, it can be fixed, and yes, it is a very common problem among many people. You are not alone with your dry flaky scalp, but there are some other things we need to look at for you to figure out the cause of the white flakes on your shoulders.
What you need to realize is that dandruff isn't so much about your hair but more about your scalp. If you think about it, dandruff is pretty much because of the overgrowth of skin cells on your scalp, which lead to more often than not, the flakes falling off the scalp an onto your black shirt. It's not a medical emergency if you have dandruff, as much as it really is just a cosmetic problem. Although not detrimental to your health, it's best to look into your causes of dandruff and figure out how to potentially stop the white flakes (if you want to of course!).
Causes of Dandruff
Irritated and Oily Skin: Most people who have this kind of dandruff suffer from a condition called Seborrheic Dermatitis. This condition affects not only the scalp but many areas of the skin. It causes scaly patches of skin that are oily and irritated and flake off as dandruff.
Dry Scalp: In times of the year when it is colder outside, you have to moisturize your skin to make sure that it stays hydrated and not dry. The same thing goes for your scalp, in these colder months, it is very important to use scalp treatments to keep your scalp in peak condition and full of moisture. Although this may make your hair look a little oily, it is better to have a moisturized scalp than white flakes all over your clothes. Dandruff that is caused by dry skin is usually smaller and less oily than from other reasons.
Not Brushing Enough: Yes, brushing your hair is important, but did you know that if you don't brush your hair enough that you can actually cause dandruff? By brushing your hair you are increasing the blood flow and circulation to your scalp to help the hair and scalp to become much healthier. Brushing also helps to rid your hair of the shedding skin cells.
Improper Hair Care: Whether you are using the wrong products or you are using the right products incorrectly, it is very important to be educated on how to properly keep your hair and scalp healthy. Certain products that contain harsh ingredients like parabens and sulfates can irritate the scalp and cause dandruff. Using products with drying ingredients like hairsprays and gels with alcohol can also dry out your scalp and make more white flakes. Make sure to use hair products that are free of all harsh ingredients and that contain moisturizing and strengthening ingredients to help your hair and scalp to stay healthy.
Dealing With Dandruff
Although the quick fix could just be to wear white all the time, that's not ideal or even practical for that matter, there are some things that you can do to combat your dandruff. There are over the counter products that are designed to help you treat your dandruff, but often times you can have the same results with natural remedies.
Tea Tree Oil: Although a very strong scent, tea tree oil has been used for decades to treat conditions like acne to dry skin. The reason why is because the magic oil has been proven to have very powerful anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Since this oil has these properties it may help to alleviate some of the symptoms of dandruff. There have been recent studies done that prove that tea tree oil is effective in fighting the specific fungus that causes seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. Keep in mind, though, that if you have sensitive skin tea tree oil may not be for you. Try to dilute the oil in a carrier oil like coconut oil before applying it to your scalp.
Coconut Oil: Like I said earlier, one of the causes of dandruff can be dry skin, so that means that ensuring that your scalp is properly hydrated is a must. That is where coconut oil comes in. A natural remedy for dandruff, coconut oil can help improve the hydration of your skin as well as preventing future dryness. Coconut oil and its compounds have been proven to also have antimicrobial properties although their potency against certain types of fungus has not been tested.
Minimize Stress: Although it has never been fully proven that stress itself causes dandruff, it can irritate symptoms like dryness and itching. Stress often weakens your immune system and a weakened immune system will reduce your body's ability to fight off certain fungi and skin conditions that can lead to dandruff. To reduce your stress you should try some techniques like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, aromatherapy, and acupuncture.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is often used as a natural remedy to get rid of dandruff. Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits like improving insulin sensitivity and increasing weight loss. The reason that apple cider vinegar helps with dandruff is because of the acidity in the vinegar. This acidity is believed to help stimulate blood flow to your scalp to increase the shedding of dead skin cells on your scalp. By shedding these dead skin cells in one shot, you won't have to worry about these flakes ending up on your clothes. Apple cider vinegar is also said to help balance the pH of your skin which will in turn help to reduce the growth of fungus which in turn fights dandruff.
Add Some Aspirin: Plain and simple one of the primary compounds in aspirin is salicylic acid and this helps to reduce inflammation. Salicylic acid may be found in aspirin but it also found in many anti-dandruff shampoos. This acid helps by getting rid of scaly skin and loosening flakes so they can be easily removed. To use aspirin crush two tablets of aspirin and adding the powder to your shampoo before washing your hair. This in itself can help to reduce dandruff.
Eat More Omega-3s: Omega-3 fatty acids are vital to the health of your skin, they help to manage oil production and hydration as well as promoting wound healing. A deficiency in this vital nutrient can cause dry hair, dry skin, and even dandruff. They have also been proven to reduce inflammation which may help relieve irritation. Foods that contain high amounts of Omega-3s include salmon, trout, flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Baking Soda: Although used for cooking, this ingredient is a quick and easy way to help treat dandruff. It acts as a gentle exfoliant and can help to remove dead skin cells and reduce scaling and itchiness. Baking soda also has antifungal properties which can help be beneficial in treating dandruff. For the best results try applying baking soda directly to your wet hair and massaging it into your scalp. After letting it sit for two minutes, continue to wash your hair as usual.
Although embarrassing, there are some easy fixes to dandruff, and worst case scenario, visit your doctor and get prescription strength products to help treat your dandruff. This post is in no way medical advice and you should always seek the help of a medical professional if you have a serious condition. What do you do to combat your dandruff? Comment it below as we would love to hear some of your tips and tricks.