Are you troubled by an itchy dry scalp that compels you to dig your nails into her hair?
Do you avoid wearing dark tops because of white flakes on your shoulders?
Upset with excessive hair fall every time you brush your hair?
Well, you have a common scalp condition called dandruff that 1 out of 5 people have globally. Although difficult to treat, there are several remedies that one can use to address this condition. Before we try to understand how to treat this condition, let us understand all that we can about dandruff and its common causes.
What is Dandruff and What Causes it?
Dandruff is caused by a combination of factors that alter the pH of the scalp. The common factors that cause dandruff include improper hair care regimen, sensitivity to certain hair care products, continuously working in an environment that is air conditioned, dandruff causing microorganisms on the scalp, hormones, medical and hereditary conditions.
Poor Hair Care Regimen
Washing one’s hair every day or drying it with a hair dryer causes dandruff to flare-up. On the other hand, if you do not wash your hair or exfoliate your scalp regularly, there is an accumulation of dead skin cells and oils, leading to dandruff. Yeast called Malassezia, that live on your scalp feed on these oils and release skin irritants, causing it to shed dandruff flakes.
Hair styling gels, dyes, mousses, waxes, and sprays, if not properly washed out from the hair, negatively affects scalp health. These products over time chemically break down into skin irritants, trapping dirt and oils, worsening dandruff. Several ingredients such as synthetic fragrances, dimethicone, propylene glycol & parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, etc. in these products can also cause skin sensitivity reactions.
Being in the UAE, we tend to be indoors for a long period of time in our comfortable air-conditioned environment. Continuously working in an environment where there is dry, cold air blowing can also activate the onset of dandruff. An air-conditioned environment dries out ones’ scalp making it itchy and helping the Malassezia fungus to grow as well.
Stress & Unbalanced Diets
Have you noticed that when you are stressed, your scalp tends to itch more and there is an overproduction of dandruff? This is because when stressed, your body’s natural immune system is lowered and your body is unable to deal with the Malassezia fungus. Sweating that may occur due to stress, provides ideal conditions for this fungus to grow further.
The higher is the stress levels in your body, the greater is the hormonal imbalance. Hormones that control sebum production, tend to overproduce under stress leading to further growth of Malassezia fungus and dandruff.
Our diets are also to blame for facilitating the growth of dandruff. Consuming foods rich in fat, sugars or spice, serves to negatively affect the scalp. This includes food items such as coffee, chocolate and alcohol. A diet that lacks Vitamin B, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and proteins, is also a key factor that gradually results in poor scalp health. Although the causes for dandruff are many, there are several options available out there that can help manage this condition in an effective manner.
The Right Shampoo for Healthy Hair
Follow a proper hair care regimen for getting rid of dandruff. Mild and non-irritating shampoos containing zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, amongst other ingredients can help control dandruff. Follow the steps below for the best haircare regimen: – leave the shampoo in your hair for at least 5 minutes before rinsing, use moisturizing conditioners and let your hair air dry. Try alternating your anti-dandruff shampoo with a moisturizing one to avoid drying out your scalp completely.
Mixing tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar in your shampoo while washing your hair can help lower the severity of dandruff. Antibacterial and antimicrobial properties present in them can gradually help you tackle dandruff. Applying soothing aloe vera can help reduce itchiness that is caused due to dandruff. Exfoliating your scalp with a healing clay mask that contains a mixture of bentonite clay and essential oils such as argan or jojoba oils, dries out excessive sebum produced on the scalp, removes dead skin cells and improves scalp health.
Eat Healthy for Stronger Hair & Cleaner Scalp
Ensure that your diet has a good helping of eggs, fish, chicken, spinach, green leafy and meat as they are rich in protein and iron, which can result in stronger hair and help combat hair loss due to dandruff. Fish, avocado and nuts, contain Omega-3 fatty acids, helps keep the skin nourished and moisturized, even that on the scalp. Another important nutrient that one must not skip out in meals is zinc. Zinc in cereals, legumes and whole grains, helps protect the scalp and ensure its optimal health.
Breathe In & Breathe Out
Keeping a calm and clear mind, practicing mindfulness, living healthy through yoga or simply doing something you love to keep yourself relaxed is a step in the right direction to keep your mind stress-free and your scalp healthy.
Speak to Your Doctor
We would advise you to consult your dermatologist if general over the counter medicated shampoos do not help. Your doctor can provide you with holistic treatment and advice on what would be the best anti-dandruff treatment suited to your scalp condition. Furthermore, your doctor can also help you identify if your flakes are caused by any other condition such as psoriasis, eczema, tinea capitis, seborrheic or contact dermatitis.
Do not let dandruff steal your peace of mind away, follow these steps for shinier and healthier hair!
Aster Beauty Clinic, Warqa