When you wear black, do people ask you if it’s snowing outside? Do you constantly scratch your head even if you know the answer? Don’t worry, you’re not dumb, you probably just have dandruff.
It’s a common problem among men and women. In fact, about 1 in 5 Americans have it and about 50% of men in their twenties suffer from it. If you are unfortunate enough to have it, don’t despair. You can become dandruff-free without spending too much cash. But before you raid your kitchen, you should first understand its nature.
Are Dandruff and Dry Scalp The Same?
While white flakes are present in both, dandruff and dry scalp are two different hair conditions. You need to be able to properly differentiate between them so that you can treat either one successfully. So, you might be wondering, what’s the difference?
Dandruff and dry scalp have the same symptoms, that is, itchy scalp and white flakes. While dry scalp is caused by dryness (duh!) and lack of moisture, dandruff is caused by excessive oil in the scalp. Because of the presence of the sebum, the hair and flakes have an oily feel to them. The flakes from the dry scalp are the exact opposite, they are usually dry and small. You can spot dandruff flakes easier because they are bigger and do not easily come off. They usually also exude an odor into the scalp.
These two conditions are also caused by different factors. Dry scalp can result from weather, build-up of products, diet, hard water and even strong detergents. Dandruff, on the other hand, is a result of overconsumption of fats, sugar and starches, as well as possible hormonal imbalance, genetics, stress, and the improper use of hair dryers and other products. For both conditions though, winter is one of the most challenging times, as it speeds up the sloughing of the dead cells.
As you can see, dandruff and dry scalp are different, thus requiring different approaches. Let’s discuss the many ways to treat dandruff first.
5 Ways to Treat Dandruff
Dandruff is caused by malassezia globosa, a tiny fungi that loves fat. Everybody plays host to these annoying organisms. If you produce copious amounts of oil in your scalp, the fungi will happily snack on the fats present in the oil and cause rapid cell renewal. Thus, your scalp will slough off dead cells faster, causing those unsightly flakes to form. So, how can you starve these pests and keep them in check?
1. Regulate the production of oil in your scalp by washing your hair with an anti-dandruff shampoo daily until they disappear. Remember though that prolonged usage of hair products which contain harsh chemicals can dry your scalp and excite the malasseszia globosa again. When using an anti-dandruff shampoo, leave it on your scalp for at least 5 minutes so that it can work itself through the scalp.
2. Redistribute the oil in your hair by regular brushing. Use a comb if the hair is wet, and then a brush when it’s dry.
3. Address the internal causes of your dandruff. Find out what is causing your problem. Is it stress? Have you been eating a lot of sugary and/or starchy products lately? Are you sensitive to the hair products you are using? Is it the weather that is causing havoc on your scalp? Use the elimination process in zeroing in on your problem and remove the culprits from your diet or your environment. Sometimes though, your dandruff may be triggered by one or more factors, so address each one properly.
4. Some people respond better when using natural products. You can try massaging olive oil into your scalp and leaving it on your head overnight. Other products like castor oil and lemon juice have antifungal properties that can zap the dandruff-causing fungi. Neem leaves are also recommended as they have antiseptic and antibacterial properties that kill dandruff-causing fungi and erase those body acnes at the same time. Some people swear by aloe vera, fenugreek seeds, tea tree oil, apple juice, eggs and even garlic juice. Some mix vinegar and water and pour it onto their head. Experiment with which one of these suits you. There are many more natural products that you can use. You can do your research each one of them to see which one helps in your situation.
5. You can go to various salons for a relaxing hair treatment. This can be costly as you may need to do this several times. The upside is that you can relax while someone massages your scalp.
Best Way to Treat Dandruff
Different strokes for different folks. Any of the methods above have been tried and tested by different people and have proven to be successful. There is no one way to treat dandruff. You have to know your own hair and scalp. Some people like to use chemical products, while others prefer natural products. It’s up to you. With a little time and patience, you can become dandruff-free.
Tips to Prevent Dandruff Naturally
Dandruff can recur at any time. Therefore, you need to take steps to prevent it from pestering you again:
1. Maintain a healthy scalp by eating a balanced diet. Load up on good fats such as Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B and E and zinc. Avoid too much sugar and yeast.
2. Be stress-free. Your body is susceptible to many diseases when stressed, so relax. Go for massages and don’t sweat the small stuff.
3. Don’t believe the cosmetic industry. You don’t need to overload on hair products to look beautiful. Au naturel is awesome too. Use them only on special occasions. The chemicals can trigger a flare-up of your dandruff.
4. Wash your hair regularly to regulate the sebum production. Use a dandruff shampoo only when you have it. If not, use a shampoo for your hair type. Switch shampoos every now and then to prevent a build-up of chemicals. Don’t forget to condition your hair too.
5. If the dandruff persists, consult your doctor.
Studies show that a majority of people (at least 2/3 of the population) will suffer from dandruff at one point in their lives. While it’s not life-threatening, it’s certainly a mood killer. You’d have to really (really!) love the person to run your fingers through a dandruff-laden head of hair. The good news is that you can treat and prevent dandruff. Follow the steps outlined above so you can have healthy and dandruff-free hair.
Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dandruff01.jpg