If we see traces of dandruff in our hair or on our shoulders, we tend to panic and bring out the big guns to get rid of it. We give you the lowdown on what not to do and how to banish those flakes once and for all.
Mistake number 1: Feeling guilty
Dandruff is beyond our control, and it is by no means the result of poor hygiene! While you may be embarrassed of those pesky flakes, know that you’re not alone—a third of the population suffers from the condition, too. But whether your scalp is oily or dry, the cause of dandruff is always the same: excessive secretion of sebum by the secaceous glands, which leads to an increased production of yeast on the scalp’s surface. Dermatologist Michael Le Maître explains that in large doses, this natural yeast can irritate the skin and make the scalp sensitive and flaky.
Mistake number 2: Aggressive washing with the wrong products
Don’t try to solve the problem by washing your hair too frequently or aggressively. Over a long period, this approach will only make your scalp inflamed and more sensitive. Instead, try washing your hair every other day with products specifically formulated to treat dandruff, such as an anti-dandruff shampoo that is pH neutral. This special shampoo will help restore your scalp’s acid-base balance, explains Delphine Courteille, a hairdresser and regular catwalk stylist. Finally, opt for new textures – sulphate-free shampoos, for example – which respect the hair fibre and are kind to sensitive scalps, and look for active ingredients that are proven to be effective on dandruff.
Mistake number 3: Trying your hand at being a chemist
By concocting your own shampoo from essential oils, you will most likely only make things worse. Essential oils are often allergenic and can aggravate sensitive scalps. Michel Le Maître confirms that it’s much safer to opt for the calming, soothing products available at your pharmacy, from Boots or an approved online stockist.
Turn down the heat
When you wash and blow-dry your hair, use cool water or air. This will calm and soothe any feeling of inflammation. Remember that heat stimulates the sebaceous glands.
Forget the accessories
Scarves, hats and headbands all make the scalp hot and sweaty, which can aggravate the sebaceous glands that cause your dandruff in the first place. Finally, avoid touching your scalp too often and don’t use excessive amounts of styling products, both of which could irritate the scalp even more.
If your scalp is prone to excess oil, then consider a specific product for targeting dandruff and oily scalps.