Dandruff is a very common problem that everyone has to deal with at some point in their lives. This is a kind of condition wherein shiny, silvery scales separate from the scalp and collect amidst the hair due to excessive or normal branny exfoliation of the epidermis. Apart from the skin of the scalp, dandruff can affect beard, nose, eyebrows, behind the ears, external ear, neck, shoulders etc.
If you are also suffering from the problem of dandruff, then there is nothing to worry about as you can usually prevent it. But before opting for treatment options, it is essential to understand the types and causes of dandruff.
There are two types of dandruff – Dry dandruff and Oily dandruff. Dry dandruff usually happens at the time of puberty and its main characteristics are presence of fine scales, itchiness and formation of white powder on the scalp. On the other hand, oily dandruff occurs at the time of adolescence due to high production of sebum and its main characteristics are itchiness and greasy scalp.
The causes are hormonal imbalance, very much heat, excessive perspiring, allergy, dry environment, cold weather, insufficient nutrition, inadequate health conditions, being poor hygiene, stress, tension, lack of sleep, genetics, use of wrong hair care products, shampooing infrequently, improper rinsing of hair, wrong diet plan and firm fitting hats and scarves. Dandruff can be mild, moderate or severe. It is very important to treat dandruff on time or else it can cause seborrhoeic dermatitis, a more serious form of dandruff that can spread to areas other than the scalp.
Usually the problem of dandruff happens after puberty as hormonal changes happen in the body. To avoid embarrassing flakes in their hair or on their clothes, people look for different ways to solve the problem of dandruff. People often go for commercial treatments for dandruff, but as most of these treatments are made with harsh chemicals it can cause side effects. Apart from commercial treatments, there are many other options also to try.
Here are 14 simple steps to deal with dandruff.
1. Regularly wash your hair.
Clean hair invigorates follicles, reduces excessive sebum buildup on the scalp and prevents excess cells from accumulating on the scalp. Thus, it is very essential to wash your hair regularly with a mild shampoo or an herbal shampoo. After shampooing your hair, make sure to rinse your hair thoroughly with cold water as soap residue can cause scalp irritation. To prevent oil and skin cells from building up on the scalp, it is essential to wash your hair every day or every alternate day.
2. Brush your hair.
After you shower and shampoo, be sure to brush your hair. There is no need to brush your wet hair. You can brush your hair when it is slightly damp. Start brushing your hair with a good quality hair brush from your scalp and slowly work outward. This technique will help to distribute oil that is naturally occurring in your scalp along the hair strands and the serum oil will not just accumulate on the scalp area. Properly brush your hair at least two times in a day to see positive result within a few days.
3. Use an anti-dandruff shampoo.
Those you suffer from dandruff problem on regular basis must use a dandruff shampoo having ingredients such as selenium sulfide and zinc pyrithione. The market is flooded with various anti dandruff shampoos. You can choose one yourself or you can ask your dermatologist to prescribe something for you. Give your anti-dandruff shampoo time to work. If you choose to wash your hair with anti-dandruff shampoo, leave the shampoo in for at least 5 minutes before you wash it off. This will give the shampoo time to work.
4. Keep an eye your diet.
In order to eliminate dandruff, it is very essential to follow a very strict diet plan. Experts recommend eating vitamin B enriched food products as it will stabilize the scalp and give extra nourishment to the scalp. Other food products that can be consumed when suffering from dandruff are shellfish, red meat, sunflower seeds, sardines, salmon, water based fruits and vegetables. You must also avoid oily and greasy food products, sugar, junk foods, animal fats, flour, and seafood. Adopt a well-balanced diet, with emphasis on raw foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables to avoid scalp dryness and flaking.
5. Drink water.
Along with a strict diet plan, it is also very essential to drink plenty of water to keep the body free from toxins and other harmful products. Experts recommend drinking eight to ten glasses of water daily in order to keep the body well hydrated. Along with water you must also include fruit and vegetable juices in your diet plan. Also try to limit the consumption of alcohol and coffee.
6. Change your lifestyle.
Along with poor diet and nutrition, you must also make changes in your lifestyle to solve the problem of dandruff. A good lifestyle is one where you eat a balanced diet, go for regular physical exercise and enjoy at least six hours of sound sleep. So, if you’re serious about preventing dandruff, you must make a few lifestyle changes.
7. Go easy on products.
Try to limit the use of all kind of styling products (right from gels to sprays) as such products contribute to the buildup of oil on your scalp. At the same time, chemicals from hair dye and heat from blow dryers can also dry out your scalp and cause unsightly flakes. It is better to avoid the use of such hair styling products or else limit their use or switch to products that are infused with nutrients that help feed the scalp.
8. Avoid sun exposure.
If you are trying to prevent dandruff, protecting yourself from sunburns should be a top priority. You can avoid sunburns by only spending a minimal amount of time outdoors and protect your hair by using a scarf, hat or a cap. When using a head gear make sure to use one that is not too loose or too tight.
9. Tea tree oil.
One easy solution to get rid of dandruff is to simply mix a few drops of tea tree oil into a natural shampoo and use as usual. At the same time you can use a shampoo that contains tea tree oil and wash your hair with it at least three times weekly. This trick really works as tea tree oil has got antiseptic properties that may help kill the fungus, and keep your scalp moisturized.
10. Apple cider vinegar rinse.
By rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar you can easily remove build up from shampoo, conditioner, hairspray and whatever else you have been putting on your hair. When your scalp is clean there will never be the problem of itchy scalp and dandruff. After shampooing your hair apply an apple cider vinegar rinse to your hair that is about half apple cider vinegar and half water. Cover your head with a towel for half an hour and then get in the shower and wash your hair with water. You only need to do this once weekly.
11. Massage your scalp.
Regular scalp massage with essential oil can also help a lot in preventing as well as controlling dandruff as it helps to increase the blood circulation to the scalp. For scalp massage you can use different types of essential oils such as rosemary, lemon and tea tree. Take a few drops of essential oil and massage your scalp with it for about ten to twenty minutes before going to bed. Leave it overnight and wash your hair with a anti-dandruff shampoo next morning.
12. Hot oil treatment.
When suffering from dandruff, it is essential to go for hot oil treatment once in a week. This will help to nourish your scalp and keep your hair shiny and soft. For hot oil treatment you can use olive oil, almond oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil or any light vegetable oil. Take any oil of your preference and slightly warm it and then apply the warm oil to your hair and scalp with the help of your finger tips. Put on a shower cap and leave for a few minutes and then shampoo your hair as usual. This is a kind of soothing and nourishing treatment for your hair. Do this on a regular basis, at least twice a week for improvements.
13. Reduce stress level.
Stress can cause various health problems including dandruff. It has been found that the incidence and severity of dandruff begins to ease off once the underlying causes for the stress are addressed and resolved. So, if you suffer from dandruff, it is essential to learn to manage stress. Stress level can be reduced through exercise, meditation and so on. At the same time, try to have adequate sleep of seven to eight hours.
14. Enjoy sometime in the sun.
Too much sun exposure is not good for your health but when you suffer from dandruff little sunlight is a must. Sunlight promotes the production of vitamin D3 and also helps to promote the production of healthy oils in the skin. If you wish to get rid of dandruff, make it a point to spend a few minutes in the sun each day in the morning or late evening. Keep your head exposed but take precautions to protect the exposed skin of the face and arms to avoid sun tan.
To conclude, although dandruff can be frustrating and embarrassing, it is typically easy to treat. You can try any of the above mentioned tips to treat it. The proper treatment, however, can depend on what the underlying cause of your dandruff is.