There's no doubt about it: dandruff is irritating. Your days are stressful enough without the worry of a dry, flaky scalp, so how do you get rid of the problem? At its worst, dandruff can cause redness, irritation, and pesky white flakes that love to linger. While it is hard to get rid of, some simple steps can help reverse the effects. By treating the problem at its core and sticking with a routine, you can finally wave dandruff goodbye.
While many hair experts recommend waiting between washes, if you're dealing with dandruff, put the dry shampoo down. While this might be helpful for some, the longer oils sit on your scalp, the more they accumulate, combining with dead skin cells to create a flaky mess. For dandruff-prone folks, in other words, waiting too long between washes is a major no-no. Boost your schedule to thoroughly coat your hair and scalp at least a few times a week; if you're already doing this, add one more day to your current routine.
When fending off dandruff, regular shampoos won't do the trick. Seek out products with pyrithizone zinc — a popular ingredient recognized for anti-bacterial and anti-fungal use. Targeted shampoos not only prevent bacteria and fungus from accumulating on your scalp, but they can also slow down skin cell growth and aid exfoliation. There are plenty of options out there; try a new bottle for at least four to six weeks before you weigh in on its effectiveness.
Your scalp is the source of the problem, so pay it extra attention. Purchase a specialized scalp exfoliator to target the area before washing; over time, this will effectively remove the top layer of dead skin. When this layer is eliminated, there's nothing left to build up and create dandruff.
It seems like apple cider vinegar can treat just about anything, and that's pretty close to true. When applied to the scalp, this easy home remedy can be an effective dandruff treatment; it has anti-microbial properties to ward off build-up and anti-inflammatory ones to ease associated pain or inflammation. Work a small amount of diluted vinegar into the scalp before washing, and watch symptoms slowly subside.
While applying coal to your head might sound intimidating, worry not. Many popular dandruff products include this ingredient for the natural relief it provides. While it won't eliminate flakes on its own, it will help control excess itching. The less you itch, the less likely flakes are to flare up, so they're interrelated. If you don't already have a coal-based shampoo or scalp scrub on hand, add it to your washing routine, using a few times a week for best results.
While flare-ups can be unbearable, itching will only make them worse. As hard as it is to avoid, holding back can have major payoffs. Scratching boosts irritation and inflammation, causing redness and increasing visible flakes. Instead of scratching, try a light massage to sooth the itch without exacerbating other symptoms.
That means scalp only, of course. While you should be washing your entire head a few times a week, focus on the scalp even more. Specialized scalp shampoos aren't the same as regular dandruff products or exfoliators; they are applied directly to the skin without even coming into contact with the hair. Do a "wash" daily, and massage for a good five to ten minutes, allowing the product to thoroughly soak in. This is a relaxing and highly effective way to help keep natural oils in check. Boost results by heading to the salon for a professional scalp treatment each month.
It seems counterintuitive, but that's part of the genius. Since the scalp overproduces oil when it's concerned there isn't enough, oil-based masks can help balance out the natural production, resulting in healthier levels and reduced flakes, inflammation, and redness. Apply a treatment mask twice weekly, and let it sit for up to 30 minutes before rinsing.
This natural ingredient has a major impact on irritation, helping soothe and balance your scalp. Try a tea tree-based scrub to invigorate your scalp while removing excess dead skin cells and impurities. If itching is a major concern, applying just a dash of this oil to your scalp each morning can make a difference in your comfort level throughout the day, so don't hesitate to give it a go. If you have sensitive skin, though, consider mixing the pure essential oil with a carrier like coconut or almond oil.
Keeping a well-balanced diet is the key to easing so many health issues, and dandruff is no exception. Poor nutrition can wreak havoc on your hair and scalp by causing glycogen to build up on the skin, and yeast will start feeding on this extra output, causing further buildup and flaking. Avoid processed sugar and excess carbs that can stimulate oil glands. If dandruff symptoms have been out of control lately, think back to whether you've been eating a bit less balanced the past few weeks.