Having dandruff is embarrassing, not to mention uncomfortable. As soon as you notice those white flakes dusting your shirt, you probably want to crawl under a table. You might even try to shoo away the flakes on your scalp, only to find that it makes things worse.
Want to get rid of the constant itchiness and flaking? Find out the steps you can take to finally get rid of your dandruff.
Dandruff vs. Dry Scalp
It’s easy to confuse dandruff and a dry scalp. While both cause unpleasant flakes and itchiness, there are some clear differences between the two skin conditions.
When you have a dry scalp, you’ll have an itchy scalp that sheds tiny white flakes. Most people have a problem with a dry scalp in colder months. If you’re prone to dry skin all over your body, you’re also more prone to a dry scalp.
On the other hand, actual dandruff is caused by a buildup of dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. Everyone’s scalp has a fungus called malassezia, but having an excess of it can make your skin cells grow faster. This sped-up growth causes the large, thick flakes characteristic of dandruff.
Before you treat your scalp for dandruff, make sure you actually have it!
1. Wash Your Hair With Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Your first line of defense against those pesky flakes is anti-dandruff shampoo. If you’ve tried Head & Shoulders or Selsun Blue and found that it doesn’t work for you, don’t give up – you just might need a stronger formula.
Nizoral A-D is the best anti-dandruff shampoo you can find. It contains ketoconazole, an antifungal ingredient that eliminates dandruff and puts a stop to itchiness. Use it twice a week, and you’ll see your dandruff disappear in no time.
2. Avoid Scratching Your Scalp
It’s hard to resist scratching your scalp when it’s itching like crazy, but try your best not to. Itching your head will only create more flakes. Plus, it can cause irritation and inflammation that will feel even worse than the itchiness.
3. Use a Scalp Scrub
A scalp scrub is a quick fix for a flaky, itchy scalp. Have you ever used a face scrub? Scalp scrubs work the same way – they exfoliate your scalp and get rid of the dead skin cells that cause the flakes in the first place.
Exfoliate your scalp once a week, and you’re bound to see a massive improvement in the look and feel of your hair. The above Apple Cider Vinegar Scrub contains antimicrobial ingredients that kill off dandruff and slough away any dead skin cells.
4. Don’t Wash Too Little… Or Too Often
Depending on your hair type, you don’t necessarily have to wash your hair every day. Washing your hair too much can cause a dry scalp and a bit of flaking. However, not washing often enough can result in actual dandruff.
Instead of skipping out on shampooing, start washing your hair on a daily basis. This prevents oil from accumulating on your scalp and causing more dandruff.
5. Try a Coal Tar Shampoo
For added protection against dandruff, you can also try a coal tar shampoo. The idea of coal tar doesn’t sound that appealing, as it’s a goopy, black substance that comes out of the coal-making process. Despite this, it can help reduce your dandruff by slowing your skin cells’ growth.
Neutrogena’s T/Gel Shampoo contains 0.5% tar, which is more than enough to combat the most severe flakes and itchiness.
6. Limit Your Dry Shampoo Usage
No time to wash and blow dry your hair? If you’re used to turning to dry shampoo often, getting rid of dandruff might be a little harder. Despite the fact that dry shampoo helps absorb oil and odor, it still sits on your scalp, which can clog your follicles. This leads to fungal and bacterial infections, and of course, more dandruff.
Plus, many dry shampoo products contain alcohol, which dries out your scalp. So, if you’re using it often, you could dry out your scalp, leading to itchiness and breakage.
It’s okay to use it sometimes, but always try to use it the day before you wash. This way you cleanse your scalp of all the dry shampoo particles. Also, never use it more than once between washings. If possible, opt for a ponytail or bun or wear a hat instead.
7. Use a Dandruff Leave-In Treatment
Just like you might use a leave-in treatment to take care of split ends to prevent tangles, use a leave-in dandruff treatment in between washings to limit flakes and reduce itching. These are light-weight creams, oils, and sprays that contain the same popular ingredients as dandruff shampoos. If you find yourself trying not to scratch, these can be a lifesaver.
8. Reduce Your Stress
As strange as it might sound, reducing your stress may limit the frequency and severity of your dandruff. This is especially true if you have dandruff due to seborrheic dermatitis. Stress is often a trigger that causes the condition to worsen, even when using other treatments.
Tip: Learn the mistakes you might be making when caring for color-treated hair.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my hair drying out when using dandruff shampoo?
Ironically, dandruff shampoo can be drying. If you notice your hair drying out, only apply dandruff shampoo to your scalp. Use a moisturizing shampoo on the rest of your hair. Then, condition your hair well.
Are dandruff home remedies effective?
Apple cider vinegar (mixed with water), tea tree oil, and baking soda are popular home remedies. All work well. However, use apple cider vinegar sparingly as it can dry out your scalp.
Image credit: Unsplash
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