How to Cope with Dandruff
Maybe you’ve scratched your head silly. Maybe you’re figuring out how to get rid of those annoying flakes of white falling from your head to your shoulders. Maybe you’ve given up, because your dandruff keeps reappearing. You are not alone.
Dandruff is a common problem, so it’s not just you. Also known as Pityriasis simplex capillitii, dandruff is a condition that affects the scalp, causing loose flakes of skin to appear on its surface. This flaking is usually accompanied by itching, and when you scratch your head to control the itch, the flakes fall down.
While it can be embarrassing at times, having dandruff shouldn’t bring you too much worry, unless the condition is severe and almost untreatable. Instead of being ashamed about dandruff, it’s better to seek to understand it. Knowing what causes dandruff and how you can take steps to solve it will not only broaden your mind, it will help you cope with it and finally rid it goodbye.
Why does dandruff happen? The thing is, there’s no single dandruff cause that you can pinpoint. However, it’s important to understand that contrary to popular belief, dandruff is not caused by poor hygiene. Below are the other possible causes of dandruff:
Irritated and oily skin
Technically, this is known as seborrheic dermatitis, and it doesn’t just affect the scalp. Those who suffer from this condition will have certain areas of their skin irritated, producing extra skin cells. Aside from the scalp, you can see red and greasy skin covered with flaky scales in areas like the eyebrows, the sides of the nose, the back of the ears, and others.
Those with dry skin have a higher tendency to suffer from dandruff, because anything can trigger itchy and flaking skin: the combination of the cold air of winter and overheated rooms, for instance.
Other skin conditions
Dandruff also tends to appear more frequently when one is already suffering from other skin problems like eczema and psoriasis.
Not enough hair care
Not everyone would agree about this, because others believe that you shouldn’t shampoo your hair too often. But you shouldn’t shampoo too infrequently either, because if you don’t wash or clean your hair enough, the oil and dead skin cells can build up and cause the flakes to appear.
Surprisingly, not brushing your hair regularly can also increase your dandruff risk slightly. Brushing your hair actually aids the natural shedding of your skin.
Hair and skin products
Dandruff can be a reaction to certain products that irritate your scalp. If you’re trying out a new shampoo for instance, you can’t be sure yet what your scalp’s reaction to it will be. No matter what the label says, our skin will have very different reactions towards certain products and this is something we can hardly control.
Solving the dandruff problem
There are many possible causes of dandruff, and there are also many ways to cope with it. There isn’t one best solution, as treating dandruff will also happen on a case to case basis because of different reactions. This means you’ll need to do some trial and error here. Here are some of the most common treatments:
There is a wide range of anti-dandruff shampoos and creams that you can easily get over-the-counter. There’s no telling exactly how your hair and scalp will react to each one, and in principle these shampoos should do their work of removing the dandruff. The difference between these shampoos is the kind of medication that they contain. The most common would be the pyrithione zinc shampoos, followed by tar-based shampoos, shampoos with salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, and ketoconazole.
Sometimes going for the anti-dandruff shampoo is not enough to get rid of dandruff completely. Aside from shampooing your hair, you can also apply some medicated creams that help reduce the inflammation or dryness in your skin. These include corticosteroid creams and antifungal creams.
Some people go to the salon for proper hot oil treatments, and this can help them get rid of dandruff. Applying a range of other natural oils like coconut, olive, and almond can also keep your scalp moist and prevent dandruff build-up. Cedwarwood oil as well as Australia’s tea tree oil have also been widely used for dandruff treatments. Some even use baby oil, as this is readily available. You may even already have one at home.
There are a number of home remedies that you can try, starting with using baking soda as your shampoo. You can also try rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar, egg yolks, lemon juice and yogurt, and even your mouthwash. Some people also add crushed aspirin power to their regular shampoo, then leave it on the hair before rinsing everything off.