WHAT IS DANDRUFF...AND HOW DO I TREAT IT?
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
October 16, 2020
Hello! This is Miss Jean and welcome to my blog!!!
Dandruff is a huge concern for some of my clientele. I am questioned time and time again about what to do to treat this pesky condition. Today I hope to clarify what dandruff is and how to properly treat it.
Dandruff or Seborrheic Dermatitis is a condition of the scalp that causes flaking of dead skin cells and sometimes an excessively itchy scalp.
Dandruff flakes can range anywhere from small white flakes to big greasy yellow flakes. Dandruff is incurable; however, finding the correct treatment can definitely keep dandruff under control.
If you are living with a dandruff condition, my hope is that this information will help you take control of and alleviate this often times embarrassing condition.
Most anyone can have dandruff; however, certain factors make some people more susceptible. It can begin in young adulthood and last throughout your lifetime. Therefore, learning to manage it will be very beneficial to you.
Dandruff isn’t dangerous or contagious, but it can be embarrassing and for some, difficult to treat. Hormones can also play a factor according to researchers, men are more likely to have dandruff than women with a ratio of 44-33%.
Sometimes dandruff is attributed to illnesses that affect the nervous system or those with an autoimmune disease.
A few of those illnesses are:
Other conditions that may cause dandruff to flare up are:
Stress (Stress may cause your symptoms to be more severe.)
Skin conditions like Psoriasis and Eczema
Intolerable hair care products
Infrequent shampooing…however, dandruff is not related to poor hygiene
Cold and dry climates
Symptoms may include:
Excessive white flakes on your scalp
(This can also occur in your eyebrows, beard or mustache.)
Excessively oily scalp
Scaly or crusty scalp
(Scaly flakes are greasy and yellow and usually do not respond to dandruff shampoos.)
There is a plethora of dandruff shampoos on the market and what works for one person, may not work for another. Please be very careful when selecting your dandruff shampoo to assure you are not allergic to any of the ingredients. Therefore, please read each shampoo bottle carefully and make sure you follow the directions on the bottle for optimal results. Here are a few of dandruff shampoos active ingredients and their functions:
Active Ingredients in Dandruff Shampoos:
Selenium Sulfide-Reduces oil production of the sebaceous glands (oil glands)
Zinc Pyrithione-Slows yeast growth
Coal Tar-Antifungal; may stain gray hair and/or may make the scalp sensitive to sunlight, can be carcinogenic. Seek medical advice before using this type of shampoo.
Salicylic Acid-Helps rid scalp of skin cells., however, does not slow down skin cell production. Overuse can leave the skin and hair excessively dry, and the flaking worse.
Tea Tree Oil-It is a natural oil, long used as an antifungal, antibiotic and antiseptic.
Skin antiseptics are used to disinfect and reduce the chances of infection. Natural antiseptics are a great choice, they have antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Just make sure you are not allergic to any of the ingredients. Here is my list for natural extracts that are effective yet gentler on the skin:
Calendula (extracted from Marigold Flowers)
Tea Tree Oil
Over the Counter Skin Antiseptics (a little harsher than natural; however, works very well)
Application suggestion; You may apply the natural antiseptic by using a cotton ball to dab the solution throughout the scalp using small partings. Allow the solution to sit 2-5 minutes and shampoo as usual, or use this method between shampooing to help keep the scalp clear.
There are some that advocate using mouthwash for dandruff. I disagree with this treatment and here’s why:
Mouthwash contains up to 26.9% Ethyl Alcohol or Ethanol (That’s 54 proof!!!). This is a higher alcohol content than most beer, wine and other spirits. This also makes mouthwash highly flammable and more of a skin irritant than anything. Using mouthwash would also cause the hair to become excessively dry, brittle and eventually break off. It will also cause burning and discomfort to an already irritated, sensitive or raw scalp.
For these reasons alone, you should use your mouthwash for your mouth as it was intended.
When should I see a Dermatologist?
Generally, you only need to see your primary doctor or Dermatologist (skin care doctor) if your condition is extreme, or does not improve after trying some of the suggestions above, or if you experience severe scalp problems, such as: redness, pain, swelling, crust or weeping scalp nodules. These conditions could be signs of something more critical than dandruff and you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.
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Thanks for reading!
Professional Licensed Cosmetologist
Farouk Systems Educator
Certified Hair Loss/Restoration Specialist
Award Winning Salon Owner
NAPW Woman of the Year 2011/2012
*Disclaimer: The information contained in my blogs is to be used as an educational tool and guideline to assist those seeking answers for salon care needs. I am by no means offering or insinuating medical advice or instruction. The content included in this blog solely are my thoughts and opinions through my own research, experience and education on the subject matter. You always have the freedom to seek out advice from other cosmetologist, healthcare agencies or provider of your choice.
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