Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist - Written by Nancy Agrahari (Journalist) on 19th Sep 2020
Here’s How You Can Prevent Your Scalp From Itchy White or Yellow Flakes
Dry scalp and dandruff are irritating, regardless of the season. Everywhere we go, we see advertisements for numerous products to stop dandruff, but not many are a solution.
Dealing with dandruff can be both irritating and embarrassing. Here is our detailed study on dandruff, the science behind the treatments, and proven solutions.
Dandruff is a common scalp condition where flakes of dead skin fall off the scalp. Though it has nothing to do with hygiene, regular washing and brushing the hair can help you get rid of this.
Scientifically speaking, dandruff is caused by our body and is a mix of yeast and oil. The excess level of oil leads to a rise in yeast level, resulting in irritating white flakes. When you treat the yeast and oil, you get a solution on how to treat dandruff.
What is dandruff?
Irritable, itchy scalp is the most common sign of dandruff. Most people experience it during winters. For others, it is regular. It is safely said that around 50 percent of the population suffer from dandruff.
Though there has been no concrete proof, dandruff is a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis. It can appear behind the ears, eyebrows, or even near the neck.
Dealing with dandruff is embarrassing. It can appear on your outfits, hairbrush, or skin. The best way to deal with it is to avoid dark-colored clothes, use anti-dandruff or shampoo with salicylic acid, and follow the treatments below.
Cause of Dandruff
Scientifically, dandruff is caused due to :
- Seborrheic Dermatitis,
- Dry Scalp,
- Malassezia (growth of a fungus that lives on the scalp),
- Poor Hygiene or
- Sensitivity to over-the-counter hair products
Easy and effective treatment for dandruff
Dandruff has a way of coming back even after using different anti-dandruff products. This is often due to our lifestyle, diet, and not choosing the right shampoo. To curb dandruff, look for shampoos that contain anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal ingredients. You can also look for shampoos that have salicylic acid in them, followed with a conditioner to avoid drying of the scalp.
Salicylic acid is known for treating acne, pimples, or other skin problems by shedding the top layer of the skin and reducing inflammation or redness. Other home remedies reduce inflammation on the scalp, thus conciliating dandruff. You can use aloe vera gel or add foods rich in zinc, Vitamin B in your diet and make sure you follow the below:
1. Wash your hair regularly
Without a doubt, you need to wash your hair regularly to avoid dandruff. If you don’t wash your hair, then the scalp will be full of dead skin cells, and excess oil aggravating dandruff.
Since the male population develops dandruff often than women (male hormones release more oil, making the scalp greasy or oily), they must wash their hair every day. The tricky part is that regular washing the hair can also result in a dry scalp. Maintain a balance and wash your hair every other day to curb dandruff.
2. Select the right shampoo
Simply washing your hair won’t do it for you. People dealing with dandruff or dry scalp should look for shampoos with slightly acidic pH values. If you have to get rid of dandruff, look for shampoos that contain zinc or sulfur as they help reduce yeast production.
You can also look for customized hair shampoos if you have a dry scalp with dandruff. Have a look at the ingredients list at the bottle, and look for anti-inflammatory ingredients like zinc pyrithione, ketoconazole, and selenium sulfide. Tea tree ingredients can also help reduce inflammation.
If you have a dry scalp, then look for Salicylic acid in your shampoo.
3. Exfoliating the scalp
Much like our skin, our scalp loves exfoliation too. By gently exfoliating the scalp, you remove all the excess dirt, dead skin cells accumulated on the scalp. Use shampoos with Salicylic acid to remove the dead skin cells from the scalp and prevent dandruff, itchiness, or flakiness.
4. Use a Hot Oil Mask
A hot oil mask is the right way of giving yourself a relaxing head massage. Dr. Jessica Weiser, New York Dermatology Group, believes that Oil-based treatments help to balance the scalp’s excessive oil production. It acts as a definitive treatment.
When we apply oil to our scalp, it helps to draw excess oil and clean our scalp from the dirt. When we wash the hair, all the excess dirt gets washed, keeping the scalp clean. For a healthy scalp heat, few drops of coconut oil in a microwave or over a hot plate and gently massage your scalp with it. Allow it to rest for a few hours and then wash it off. Try not to over-heat the oil as it may damage your scalp or cause irritation.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a common item in the kitchen, but not many are aware of its many benefits. It is used for weight loss or used as an effective ingredient in face toner and other products.
Though there isn’t enough research on this, it is systematically used as a treatment to curb dandruff. Apple cider vinegar has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that smoothly lower yeast production and soothe any inflammation. Its acidity also helps to remove the dead skin cells from the scalp and gently exfoliate it.
Since apple cider vinegar balances the pH level of the skin while reducing the growth of fungus, it helps in fighting against dandruff.
6. Clean your scalp
When you are using customized dandruff, shampoo only uses it to gently clean and wash your scalp. Dandruff shampoo has active ingredients that can damage your hair. So, use these shampoo by directly applying it to your scalp and not the hair.
Please take a few drops, massage it in your hair for four-to-five minutes, and then wash it. Do let the shampoo rest for a few minutes for the active ingredients to start working.
7. Resist the urge to scratch
We understand how itchy the scalp feels when it is dry and full of dandruff but resist yourself.
Try not to scratch your scalp as it can lead to inflammation or redness. In case you have sharp nails, then scratching the scalp will lead to wounds inviting bacteria and other infections. Try to gently massage your hair with hot oil to control the itchiness.
8. Add probiotics in your diet
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that offer benefits when consumed. They are known to improve digestion, heart diseases, and even dandruff! Yogurt, Miso, Pickles are a few foods that contain probiotics.
A 2013 study revealed that regular intake probiotics could help decrease the severity of dandruff. Adding probiotics in diet can also reduce other skin conditions like dermatitis and eczema.
9. Use coconut oil
Celebrities swear by coconut oil and its magical properties. Coconut oil is a natural remedy to curb dandruff. Coconut oil has been used as a traditional moisturizer for centuries now.
It has proven properties that improve skin hydration while increasing the natural oil in the skin. Warm-up a few drops of coconut oil and gently massage your scalp with it. For best results, use it thrice a week to reduce itchy scalp and dandruff.
10. Aloe vera
For shiny and strong hair, a key ingredient in multiple over-the-counter products is aloe vera.
Like other benefits, it is often used as a cure to inflammation, burn, or cold sores. Aloe vera is also used to improve baldness and promotes wound healing. Due to the antifungal and antibacterial properties, aloe vera is used against growing dandruff.
If you can’t control it, hide It
Since the treatments take a while to battle dandruff, you can always hide it by a ponytail or a bun. Play it smart and bun your hair. When your hair is down, it is exposed to pollution and leads to the falling of flakes.
While all the above treatments have proven treatments that can help reduce dandruff, you can always discuss it with your dermatologist.
For best results, try the above treatments with other anti-dandruff shampoos available on over the counter products. The best way to take care of your scalp is to select a customized hair shampoo and conditioner to treat your hair problem.