Here is a question that many of you have asked us! This is perhaps one of the most common hair & scalp problems faced by most of us at one point or the other. As common as it is, if you don’t treat it right and have the right hair care regimen in place, you will find the issue haunting you repeatedly.
So here we are, yet again, with the ‘Ask the Hair Expert’ series, to give you some answers and clarity.
You asked: ‘Is there a way to truly get rid of Dandruff? Can I ever say ‘Dandruff? Not anymore!’
Here’s the answer from the Hair Experts.
YES! You can!
Get to the root of the problem with the help of a Trichologist!
Let’s first understand what dandruff actually is, what are the common causes, symptoms and then, move on to how it can be tackled.
What is Dandruff?
Dandruff is a scalp problem caused by flaking of skin tissues of the scalp, resulting in white flakes appearing all over the scalp and on the hair shafts. This is a very common concern because it is in a way a natural process of peeling of dead skin cells off the scalp. However, it is the extent and intensity that creates an issue. High and chronic levels of dandruff need fair attention, making tricho anti-dandruff treatment and hair care, a significant need.
If you have a normal scalp condition, you will not even realise the ongoing process of sloughing off old cells, and the manufacturing of their replacements. It will happen in an orderly and complete process, that you are unaware of.
However, if you are someone with a dandruff-scalp, this process faces a mass disorder and often the departing cells are not even dead before leaving the scalp. It’s the irritated scalp shedding the skin cells faster than normal, building up into flakes. It is in a way the natural response of the skin to the increase in cell turnover (note: there is always a trigger cause for this), to replace the damaged cells.
Most associate dandruff with dry scalp. But in truth, it is those who have oily scalp that suffers the most on this front.
Dandruff can cause either an overly dry scalp with itchy white flakes that may be waxy or greasy, or it can manifest as an oily greasy scalp with scales.
What are the causes & symptoms?
Here are perhaps the usual causes of dandruff, that you can easily relate to.
- Stress & pollution
- Overuse of hair products and styling equipment
- Irregular/ imbalanced diet
- Irregular hair care regimen – leaving oil on hair for days, improper washing/shampooing
- Not brushing hair enough
- Exposure to hard water
- Exposure to bad weather or arc lights
- Constant use of scarves or bandanas
- Certain medical conditions
The most common signs of dandruff that everyone can relate to, simply put, are an itchy scalp and flakes coming off the head. The flakes may be white & powdery, or greasy & scaly as mentioned above.
These flakes are nothing but dead skin cells that appear rough and gradually fall off the scalp, especially when you scratch it. It can lead to a lot of discomfort and embarrassment making it important to personally focus on how to remove dandruff quickly.
The other signs to spot are a sudden outbreak of acne and also, more hair strands coming off every time you stroke it.
If the dandruff is seeming very stubborn, and your scalp becomes red, swells up, you may be facing a more serious concern such as psoriasis, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis or fungal infection. These are not conditions to be dealt with using OTC treatment but needs a trichologist’s attention.
Some conditions like seborrheic dermatitis are closely linked to the microbe named ‘malassezia’ which feeds on the natural oil on our scalp. In this process, it generates an acid that our scalp, when in excess, treats as an irritant, resulting in extra skin cells. And these get shed off. This results in what you may assume as seasonal dandruff. But it’s clearly not.
Such condition can also arise because of improper shampooing or not shampooing enough, which results in skin cells accumulation, further leading to the creation of flakes and terrible itching. Even personal care products or chemicals used on the scalp can lead to dermatitis. It also makes your scalp red, and even painful.
Thus the signs need to be carefully watched out for. Anything that exceeds, let us say, a certain personal threshold and causing concern, should be treated with immediate professional help.
Can dandruff be cured?
We will need to first set the expectation right. What you need to really understand is that dandruff is not a disease to be cured, but a condition that needs care and treatment. Since dandruff is a natural process, it cannot be eliminated. It can only be managed and controlled. But let us assure you, it can be very effectively dealt with provided you take the right steps.
If you believe you have any of the symptoms discussed above, the first thing you should do is to consult a Trichologist. You will need to undergo a thorough hair and scalp analysis, along with a detailed discussion on your medical history, diet & lifestyle. This will not just help the hair doctor make the right diagnosis but also help you get a clear understanding of your condition.
Conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis need specific treatment, internally, externally and therapeutically. In case the severity isn’t as much, the line of treatment is different. Trichologist will guide on way forward based on the diagnosis drawn.
RichFeel’s approach to dandruff is a medically designed regime, using special keratostatic agents along with ultrasound. This helps in controlling seborrheic dermatitis, pityriasis commonly known as sticky and dry dandruff followed at regular intervals. It is an adjuvant therapy in cases of stubborn dandruff.
The process, in brief, involves disinfecting the scalp, conditioning it, and giving keratostatic effect to control the scaling. Hair supplements are also given to internally boost the process. Depending on the severity, 3-12 sittings are prescribed. There is a periodical review conducted by the trichologist to check on progress.
Apart from the therapeutic treatment to tackle the problem on hand, guidance is also given on home care, diet and lifestyle modifications where needed, to ensure the problem doesn’t recur.
How can it be prevented?
Some simple checks on hair care regimen, diet and lifestyle can go a long way in maintaining your hair and scalp’s health.
Here are some tips from us:
- Balanced diet – Include hair foods that can boost your hair’s health. Include plenty of B vitamins and zinc in your diet. Garlic and oil of oregano are also excellent for fighting dandruff. Cutting down on sugar, salt and trans-saturated fats would help. Avoid processed food and go for those fresh fruits & veggies.
- Haircare regimen – Different types of hair need a different type of hair care! The right way to oil, shampoo, wash and comb your hair is very key to the good health of hair and to prevent dandruff. Do read on our blogs on hair care that can give you some great advice on this.
- While showering, alternating hot and cold water on the head increases blood circulation to the scalp thereby controlling dandruff. This is a very simple tip that is easy to follow!
- When life gives you dandruff, make lemonade! Funny as that sounds, it is a true dandruff-hack! This can do wonders for your scalp. The mixture of coconut oil and lemon juice maintains the right pH in the scalp and also prevents the yeast infection that may cause dandruff.
- Tea tree oil, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, salt, aloe vera, garlic and olive oil are some of the commonly used home ingredients to tackle dandruff. But the usage of each or any of this, and the ‘how’ of it would be best supervised by your hair doctor.
Remember, each individual’s scalp condition is different from the other. One solution doesn’t fit all! While one home remedy may work for your friend, it may not quite do the needful for you!
Dandruff treatment and remedy for you can be best decided by the trichologist after understanding your dandruff type and its severity. Many suffer from hair fall problems as well due to dandruff. It then becomes even more important to focus on treating the hair fall due to dandruff simultaneously, with the help of the trichologist.
So don’t hesitate. Don’t self-medicate or self-treat with off-the-shelf oils and serums. Seek professional advice to get rid of dandruff and related hair fall. Tackle the condition right and follow our tips on hair care regimen to stay clear of dandruff worries always!
Connect with us on social media on the links below. Do leave your questions & comments and we will address them all, just as we have done today!