How to deal with dandruff
An itchy scalp and embarrassing white flakes on your shoulders can put a real damper on your self-confidence.
Dandruff is a very common problem and generally poses no threat to your health, but that doesn’t mean it’s fun to live with. Get the low down on dandruff and learn how to deal with this irritating skin condition.
What is dandruff?
Your body is constantly producing new cells to replace the old ones and dandruff becomes a problem when this process speeds up and becomes excessive. There are some specific conditions like seborrhoeic dermatitis, which causes oily skin that can exacerbate dandruff. Other common factors can include:
- – Washing your hair too often or not enough
- – Suffering from unusual emotional stress
- – Using too many products on your hair
Getting rid of the white flakes
Dandruff ranges in severity and mild cases can usually be treated very easily. When you first notice those pesky white flakes, try switching to a very mild shampoo – ones with tea tree often work well – and wash your hair gently, without scratching the scalp. Stop using products like hairspray and gel until the dandruff has cleared completely.
If this isn’t effective, you can try switching to anti-dandruff shampoo. You’ll find plenty to choose from in your local chemist or supermarket – be sure to read the bottle, as some are only suitable for dark hair. Use the specialist shampoo two or three times a week and lather twice, once to lift the dandruff flakes and once to let the shampoo get right into the affected skin cells. Be sure to leave the shampoo on for at least five minutes so it has time to get to work.
Dandruff busting tips
- – Try brushing your hair just after washing, this can distribute the naturally occurring oil on your scalp evenly.
- – Resist the temptation to scratch. Keep your fingers away from your itchy scalp if you want to avoid uncomfortable scratches. If you do break the skin, you need to stop using anti-dandruff shampoo until the scratches have healed.
- – Find ways to reduce stress in your life. Take up a hobby, try yoga or meditation and be mindful about accidentally taking on too much.
Getting professional help
If you just can’t shift the problem on your own, it’s time to try seeing a doctor. Make an appointment if you’ve been using an anti-dandruff shampoo for at least two weeks and have seen no improvement – you may need a stronger concentration.
Your doctor will also be able to check you for underlying conditions that could be causing the problem, such as a fungal infection, seborrhoeic dermatitis or psoriasis.
Do you have any great methods for keeping your scalp flake-free?
Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
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