Dandruff is the excess shedding of the skin on the scalp, eyebrows, and the sides of the nose. The top layer of the skin is made up of dead cells, protecting the more vulnerable cells beneath. Normally, these dead cells are shed as the body produces new ones. With dandruff, however, the shed skin comes in the form of large scales and at an increased rate.
While aesthetically problematic, it is not a grave concern. It does not signal an even larger disease, nor does it cause baldness. It can cause itchiness, however, but not enough to cause infection in the scalp or hair follicles.
Men and women, particularly adults, experience dandruff. Those with acne or oily skin have a tendency to have worse cases of it.
The excessive shedding usually improves during summer months, but worsens with hot and humid weather. Typically, exposure to sunlight and reduced stress can help control dandruff.
Lifestyle-Based Treatments for Dandruff
- Use Shampoo Properly: The use of shampoo is the most important way to begin treating the condition. Using shampoo removes scales as they form, leaving only smaller and less visible scales to be shed. While helpful, be mindful not to overexpose your scalp to shampoo chemicals by reading the instructions per shampoo type.
- Rethink Your Hair: Washing Method: Lather your hair twice. This time will allow the shampoo to work as intended. However, shampoo with coal tar has the potential to increase your scalp’s sensitivity to sunlight.
- Aim for a Less-Oily Scalp: People tend to think that a dry scalp causes dandruff and that it will improve if they use shampoo infrequently and apply oily substances in the scalp. This will actually worsen your current condition as an oily environment will prevent the natural shedding of cells.
- Keep Yourself Hydrated: Drinking your recommended amount of water (8 glasses) can help hydrate your scalp, lessening chances of worsening the flakiness and itchiness caused by dandruff.
- Massage Your Scalp: Massaging without scratching or rubbing your scalp too hard can help break up flakes. Doing so with coconut, almond, or jojoba oil will help soothe your scalp.
Dietary Treatments for Dandruff
- Reduce Bad Fats in Your Diet: Tweak your consumption with less dairy and chocolate while adding more vitamin B into the mix. Green vegetables, protein, and grains are good sources of vitamin B, whose deficiency can cause dandruff.
- Include Good Fats in Your Diet: Omega-3, while not studied extensively when it comes to dandruff, generally helps improve hair and skin.
- Limit The Consumption of Some Types of Food: Adapt an anti-inflammatory diet by moderating the consumption of refined carbs (white bread, white pasta, crackers, etc.), red meat, sugary, processed, and fried food.
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