WHAT IS DANDRUFF?
Dandruff. Even the very word has a certain grossness. Men are more blasé about those flecks scattered on their shoulders and many women sufferers have simply sworn off unforgiving LBDs. Whichever category you fall in, it’s time to nix those specks. The road to a flake-free scalp might be an arduous one but once you know how, itchy, angry scalp woes won’t st(f)reak you out.
We spoke to trichologists and dermatologists and this what they had to say. “Essentially the condition refers to any kind of skin flaking, causing redness and itching. But why are some of us more flaky than others? To answer that, you first need to understand why dandruff happens in the first place. The skin on your scalp—like anywhere else on your body—is constantly shedding and being replaced. When the shedding pattern goes awry it leads to those little clouds of white that scatters if you so much as nod.
REASONS FOR DANDRUFF
So, what causes dandruff? Plenty of things, apparently. But some of the biggest culprits says dermatologist Dr. Abhijit Desai, are hormonal changes, cold weather, junk food and stress. It’s a bit of a Catch 22 situation; you’re stressed, craving that samosa or chocolate. You end up consuming more sugar, oil or alcohol than you should. Hey presto, dandruff shows up. That doesn’t mean each time you have a drink you’ll have a breakout. It’s just that stuff like dairy and sugar are common triggers if you have a predisposition.
A change of season can cause some serious flaky drama. “Very hot or very cold temperatures can make dandruff worse.” So can washing your hair with very hot or cold water. Turn down the temp so that it’s just tepid, and don’t vigorously towel dry hair either. Overusing styling tools like straighteners and dryers can also cause flaking, as can exposure to chlorine and salt water.
What should you be doing? Dousing your hair with oil because dandruff’s a symptom of a dry scalp. Right? Wrong! The first thing, says Dr. Desai, that you should do is shampooing more frequently. Dandruff is actually related to excess oil on the scalp so get shopping for a shampoo like L'Oreal Professionnel Instant Clear Znpt+Citric Acid Anti Dandruff Shampoo with ingredients like Piroctone Olamine, which has anti-fungal properties and soothes flaking and itching, and Zinc, which slows down oil production.
Using a specially formulated hair mask can also help. Roots & Herbs Dashmool Anti Dandruff Hair Lep is an all-natural Fenugreek, Camphor, Cloves and Sesame Oil infused hair mask that nourishes the scalp while killing dandruff causing bacteria and fungus to give you a healthy, happy scalp. Use twice weekly to purify and soothe your irritated scalp and restore its oil balance. Other options include anti dandruff products & medicated shampoos like Head & Shoulders Anti Dandruff Lemon Fresh Shampoo which contains anti-inflammatory Zinc, or formulas like Schwarzkopf Bonacure Deep Cleansing Shampoo with anti-yeast ingredients like Ketoconazole.
To make any relationship work, commitment is key. When it comes to treating dandruff, you might be tempted to switch shampoos when flakes disappear, but desist! All the good work can literally be washed away while switching back-and-forth between anti-dandruff and regular formulas. If you must use a color protect or clarifying formula, always finish with an anti-dandruff product so that maximum amount of active, anti-dandruff ingredients remains on your scalp after that final rinse.
DIY DANDRUFF CURES
Are you a DIY kinda girl? Here are two tried-and-tested dandruff cures. Massage diluted Nourish Vitals Apple Cider Vinegar - With Mother Vinegar onto your scalp. It’s an expert at killing the fungus that causes dandruff and giving instant relief from itchiness. Or add a few drops of Nykaa Naturals Tea Tree Essential Oil to your regular shampoo. Footloose and flake-free!