Ohhh those pesky white flakes of dead skin, are really annoying right? Let’s talk about one of the common scalp condition that plagues many people.
What are the symptoms of dandruff, you ask?
Dandruff usually is white, dry or oily flakes. It’s also accompanied by itching of the scalp. Change of season worsens symptoms. Especially fall and winter months due to the fact that there is less humidity in the air and heating your home in winter dries air which leads to dry scalp and skin.
Sometimes the size can vary from as small as a top of a dressmaker’s pin
Medium like a thumbtack top
Or Large like buttons
So now you are thinking, what causes dandruff?
There are several causes such as dry skin, not shampooing your hair often, irritated oily skin, psoriasis, and yeast like fungus, eczema & adverse reactions to products.
Let’s break each of these causes down.
Just that simple dry skin is caused from lack of moisture. During winter months the cold air combined with heated homes pulls moisture out of your body. You will notice increased itching and dry patches on skin. Your scalp will produce the smaller dry dandruff flakes.
Not Shampooing Often
Usually this will occur in people with locs and people of color, as they don’t shampoo the hair on a regular basis. Ideally you are supposed to cleanse the hair once a week to keep hair fresh and to remove build up. Regular product usage as well as over product usage can cause build up and dandruff.
Irritated Oily Skin
This is also medically known as seborrhea dermatitis. This type of dandruff is usually plagued with red oily skin that is topped with scales that are white or yellow in color. These flakes tend to be much larger than dry skin dandruff.
Psoriasis / Eczema
These flakes are large, thick and kind of grayish in color. Usually people who have psoriasis/eczema on the body will have it in the scalp.
Yeast Like Fungus
Also medically known as Malassezia. This fungus can stay on the scalp of healthy people and not cause any issues. The over abundance of oils either secreted from the scalp or applied to the hair from a product that you use on a regular basis will create an ideal growth area for the fungus to get out of hand. It will cause more skin cells to grow. The excess skin combines with the oil on your scalp creating clumps of dandruff similar to seborrhea dermatitis.
Adverse reactions to products
Some people have sensitivity to products. One ingredient in particular paraphenylene diamine (PPD) will irritate scalp causing scaly, itchy, red scalp. Sometimes people may cleanse the hair to often causing drying of the scalp as well as using too many/ too much product which can irritate the scalp.
Now that we have identified and explained the causes in detail let’s discuss how too treat dandruff. As we all know dandruff is pesky and annoying as it itches and leaves flakes on your clothes, so you become OCD with dusting flakes off of you. (Arghhhh the tedious task. )
How to Combat Dandruff
There are several shampoos that are aimed towards reducing the appearance of dandruff and relieve the itchiness. These shampoos are made for the skin aka your scalp. DO NOT apply on all of your hair, because it will dry your hair and make it brittle. The key ingredients in these shampoos are as follows:
Selenium Sulfide – found in Dandrex, Selsun Blue
Zinc Pyrithione – found in Nioxin Scalp Recovery, Selsun, Head & Shoulders
Salicylic Acid – found in Neutrogena T-Sal
Coal Tar – found in Denorex, Neutrogena T-Gel,
Ketoconazol – found in Nizoral and Dandrene
Many of my naturalistas and locstars will prefer the natural route to combating dandruff and itchy scalp. So here you go:
Tea Tree Oil
There are a couple way to apply: 1) Add 4-5 drops of oil to about 4oz of distilled water. Spray directly on scalp. 2) Pre cleanse scalp with witch hazel (for those that are not able to shampoo the hair weekly) on a steaming hot towel. Apply diluted tea tree oil (dilute with carrier oil or water) directly to scalp.
Is absorbent of oils and kills bacteria. It also is soothing to irritated skin from psoriasis and eczema. It is rich in Vitamins A and E. It is a natural exfoliate and removes free radicals.
Apple Cider Vinegar
After shampooing hair to remove most build up. Drench scalp with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), Let sit for 5-15 minutes. This helps to regulate the pHHhh dnfohhfhfh balance of the scalp while adding shine.
This oil is a part of the mint family. It has anti-fungal properties that kill yeast while soothing itchy scalp. Dilute by adding several drops to distilled water and spray directly to scalp. You can combine this oil with the tea tree oil to create a phenomenal scalp treatment for dandruff.
I personally prefer the natural remedies for treatment of dandruff as many of the oils and products have multiple uses other than scalp conditions. So you get more bang for your buck with the purchase of those items. Just make sure you are buying 100% pure products. Many of them can be purchased at an herbal store, health food store, or African Import Store. Pure essential oils will only come in glass bottles. (If the bottle is plastic then its not 100% pure, it has been diluted already) It’s really easy to S.imply K.eep Y.our H.air H.ealthy