Almost everyone has experienced dandruff before in their lives, and it's definitely not fun! Not just because of how it looks, but because of how itchy and uncomfortable your skin feels. There are a lot of products out there that claim to stop dandruff for good, but how do you know which ones will work? And are there any other ways to get rid of it?
Here at Cel, we've done our research on both the causes and cures, so keep reading to bust dandruff myths, and learn how to keep yours in control!
So what actually causes dandruff?
The skin cells on your scalp replace themselves and shed in just the same way as the rest of your skin. If they divide faster than they are shed, there's an overgrowth of cells which causes dandruff. When people are sensitive to a yeast called malassezia furfur, which naturally exists on the scalp, this causes the overgrowth of skin cells on your scalp. This can also be down to genetics, which is often harder to avoid.
First, Let's Bust a Few Myths...
1. Dandruff is down to a dry scalp
Myth number one. Dandruff is actually caused by an oily scalp. Malassezia, a natural yeast found on the skin, is lipophilic, which means it's attracted to the oil (sebum) that your scalp produces, and thrives when there's more of it. So excessive oil production actually causes dandruff, not dryness. Who knew?
2. Using an oil treatment will help
One of the many treatments you can read up on online is a hot oil treatment, which involves applying warm coconut or olive oil to your scalp. This treatment has come from the myth that dandruff means your scalp is dry, but adding oil to your scalp will only make it worse! It makes the dandruff flakes stickier and greasier and rubbing oils in can irritate your skin further.
3. You should scratch them off before you shampoo
If dandruff on your scalp is so bad that you need to scratch them off your scalp, it suggests that you have a more serious scalp condition. If you're being too harsh to your skin, it can not only be painful but can cause bleeding and leave you open to infection. If you find yourself having to dislodge the flakes away from your scalp, it's best to consult your doctor as it may be something more serious.
4. You should wash your hair less often
You should actually shampoo every day if you suffer from dandruff, as it will rinse the flakes away. If you can't manage to fit this into your schedule, then using a hair toner will help as well. To reduce the yeast which is irritating your scalp, use a shampoo containing an anti-microbial agent which specifically targets dandruff. Look out for either Piroctone Olamine and Zinc Pyrithione which will help ease your dandruff.
5. You don't need to exfoliate your scalp
It will actually help your dandruff if you exfoliate your scalp, but avoid homemade ones. Using harsh scalp exfoliators like sea salt will irritate your skin further, but using a product with salicylic acid or hydrocortisone will gently lift away flakes and helps your scalp to return to a normal rate of cell turnover, so your dandruff will calm down.
6. Your styling products are making it worse
There are a lot of things out there that will make your dandruff worse, including your genetics, stress, and diet, but the way you style your hair isn't one of them. Just make sure you're rinsing your hair regularly (everyday if you can) so there's no product build-up.
7. It does not affect hair growth
Studies have shown a link between dandruff and hair loss. If your skin isn't healthy, then it's going to have an adverse effect on your hair growth. The studies showed that those who used anti-dandruff shampoo lost less hair than those who didn't!
8. Dandruff is worse in summer
Dandruff is actually worse in winter, down to a few different variables. During winter time people are more likely to eat dandruff triggering foods (full-fat dairy products, sugary and spicy foods) and along with added stress and not showering as much as you would in warmer weather, generally the cold makes your flakes worse.
So, how do you get rid of dandruff?
There's no cure for dandruff, but there are ways to avoid it. By making sure you don't irritate your scalp by using oil treatments or scratching the dandruff out, you can make sure you don't irritate it. By using shampoo to control the malassezia furfur yeast and washing your hair daily, you can calm your dandruff and get your scalp back to normal. And if a few weeks go by and nothing changes, then head to see your doctor to see if it's something more serious!