All it takes is one time, and you’ll swear off black shirts forever. Do you know what I’m talking about? When a friend, colleague, or loved one brushes dandruff flakes off your shoulder, it’s enough to make you wish a hole would open up in the floor and swallow you. It’s certainly enough to make you stick to lighter colored shirts.
But, with the right remedies, you can wear black again with confidence… certain you won’t have any pesky white flakes taking up residence on your shoulder.
To put an end to dandruff, you first have to understand its causes. Dandruff affects millions of people, and almost everyone will have a “dandruff episode” in their lifetime. So it’s best to be prepared.
When you have dandruff, your body’s normal process of ridding itself of dead cells and making new ones goes a little haywire, at least in the area of your scalp. There are a number of reasons this can happen. Hormone imbalances, stress, allergies, poor nutrition, overuse of hair care products, cold weather, or poor shampoo rinsing habits—they all can lead to dandruff.
Six Steps to Beat Dandruff for Good
As you can see, there are internal and external triggers that cause dandruff.
Step 1: Recognize Your Triggers—Certain foods, certain shampoos, anxiety… they can all trigger dandruff. Often dandruff isn’t a continuous problem, but something that “flares up” in response to a trigger. Try to recognize what triggers you to have. Keeping a log of the foods you eat, the stresses you undergo, and changes in your personal hygiene habits can help you to see what sets your dandruff off.
Step 2: Proper Shampooing Habits—Shampooing your hair either too much or not enough can cause dandruff. Shampoo every other day for the best results. If you must shampoo your hair every day, use a very gentle shampoo. Make sure you rinse your hair completely—residuals from shampoos and conditioners can lead to dandruff. Also, remember to brush your hair before you shampoo. It will loosen flakes and help to remove them, which means fewer flakes to show up on your clothes later. Many dandruff shampoos work very well. If you have recurring dandruff, you might try one of the many brands available to see if it works well for you.
Step 3: Take Your Supplements—Healthy skin and hair start on the inside—that means good nutrition. B vitamins play a role in keeping the skin on your scalp healthy. Try taking a B vitamin complex supplement. Garlic also helps control dandruff. You can either add more garlic to your diet or begin taking a garlic supplement, as well.
Step 4: Increase Your Circulation—More blood to the scalp helps your body regulate the removal of dead skin cells. While in the shower, try switching the water to cold for a minute or so and then back to hot. Doing this two or three times will boost the amount of blood that reaches the skin on your scalp.
Step 5: Learn to Relax—Because anxiety can trigger dandruff, try to find ways to relax, especially in the face of stress. Healthy coping mechanisms include exercise, meditation, deep breathing, and music.
Step 6: What to Skip—Avoid shampoos that contain harsh ingredients like sodium laurel sulfate or ammonium laurel sulfate. They can over-dry your scalp, which can lead to more flakes. Avoid shampoos that contain alcohol, too. They’re also drying and can make dandruff worse. Skip the hair dryer and let your hair air-dry. When it comes to your diet, avoid sugary, starchy foods. Some kinds of dandruff are made worse by these kinds of foods, and cutting down on refined sugars and grains is a generally healthy choice, anyway.
If you follow these six steps and still suffer from dandruff, or if your dandruff is very severe, visit your dermatologist. He or she may be able to provide an ointment that can help.
Jay Brachfeld, M.D.
Photo Credit: dandruffshampooreview.com