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Let’s Fight the Flakes

At some point in our lives, we have all experienced the embarrassment of white flakes on our shoulder. Dandruff can make us feel awkward or shy in social situations where we need to look and be at our best. However, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Dandruff affects a vast majority of the population today. A hectic routine and chronic stress often leave us with little time to look after ourselves. When the body is ill, the hair is one of the first parts to show physical symptoms. Before you consider any hair treatment, let’s understand what dandruff is and how best you can deal with it.

What is dandruff?

Dandruff flakes are actually dead skin cells from your scalp. These cells are held together by sebum, which is the natural moisturising substance secreted by our pores.  Dandruff is in itself a harmless skin condition. However, if left untreated, it can become a major cause of hair loss and hair breakage.

Are there any particular causes of dandruff?

Anyone can get dandruff. Contrary to some myths, dandruff is not genetic or contagious. There are however, certain situations that make an individual more prone to this scalp condition. Some of these are:

  1. Having a dry skin and scalp
  2. An allergy to yeast
  3. A reaction to any chemical hair treatment
  4. Skin problems such as psoriasis, acne, and eczema
  5. Lack of proper hair care
  6. Scalp conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis
  7. Being prone to excessive sweating
  8. Neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease
  9. An unhealthy diet and nutritional deficiencies
  10. Use of unwashed hair accessories like caps and helmets

How can I successfully deal with my dandruff problem?

The good news is that by following a proper routine, you can successfully combat dandruff for good. All it takes is a simple and constant effort to adhere to a strict hair care regime and a little bit of patience.

  1. Switch to a medicated shampoo

The easy availability of dozens of hair treatment products makes our life easy. There are anti-dandruff shampoo options for dry hair, combination hair and oily hair. Choose the one best suited for your scalp type. Preferably go for a shampoo that has natural astringents such as tea tree oil, rosemary, or aloe vera. A herbal anti-dandruff shampoo would also work great.

  1. Make sure you get enough vitamins

Eating right is as important as using the correct hair treatment products. Vitamins B and C are essential for a healthy scalp. Vitamin B helps in the healthy formation of new cells. Vitamin B rich foods are lean meat, eggs, whole grains, and leafy vegetables. Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system and regulates blood flow. Vitamin C rich foods are citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, strawberries, and bell peppers. Zinc is also essential for healthy cell formation and is found in nuts, eggs, seafood, and meats.

  1. Try out natural remedies

The main reason for most of our scalp and skin woes is that we expose ourselves to too many chemicals. If you have a dry scalp, massage with warm coconut oil and lemon an hour prior to your wash. If you have an oily scalp, post shampoo, make your last rinse one part apple cider vinegar and 5 parts water. Like these the internet is full of many home remedies. Discover the best one for you.

  1. Wash your combs and linen

Make sure you keep your combs and scrunchies clean. Sanitize your hair accessories including the insides of your helmets and hairbands at least once a week. The same goes for your bed linen. Sun-dry washed pillow covers. Avoid sharing a comb with many people.

  1. Shampoo correctly

When applying an anti-dandruff shampoo, let the shampoo sit on your scalp for at least 1 to 2 minutes before washing off. This will help it work itself and fight the flakes. If you must use a conditioner, condition only the last half of your hair length. Never shampoo daily.

  1. Avoid picking out the flakes

Picking out visible flakes can be a futile and tiresome affair. Moreover, touching your scalp with your nails can deposit more dirt and grime. Thus, you are inadvertently worsening your dandruff condition. The rule of thumb is to keep your hands off your hair.

  1. Get professional help

If you have tried all kinds of remedies – natural and manufactured – and nothing works, then you must visit a doctor. Self-medication is fine as long as it shows some results within a week or two. If your hair is itching constantly and the flakes are not going away, you need to consult a professional. Failure to do so could result in the dandruff becoming a cause of hair loss. You might have seborrheic dermatitis: a more severe form of dandruff that needs medical hair treatment and a prescription shampoo.

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