As if we don’t have enough body image areas to worry about, even our scalp can turn against us! Forget that black dress you planned on wearing. Your itching flaky scalp will have you looking like a mountaineer returning from an expedition on Everest. Never fear! I can give you tips on how to get rid of dandruff.
What is dandruff?
Dandruff is a problem of the skin on your scalp. For some reason, your skin cells on your scalp grow too fast and then die quickly. Those dead skin cells are what fall onto our shoulders like happy little snowflakes that refuse to melt. The amount of dandruff differs from person to person. Some have a mild case, while others have a more severe case called seborrheic dermatitis.
What causes dandruff?
Unfortunately, this is one of those “we’re not quite sure” or “could be from a number of different things” but “you still owe me a copay” categories. Maybe you just have sensitive skin and a product is making your scalp react. Perhaps you’re too stressed. Your scalp could be too irritated and oily, ooooor too dry. A favorite theory is that scalps suffering from dandruff may be overreacting to a common scalp fungus called Malassezia. That’s a pleasant thought (if the idea of fungus living on your scalp bothers you, be sure to never google Demodex)!
How to get rid of dandruff
Seeing a doctor is not usually necessary for most mild cases of dandruff. However, Seborrheic dermatitis can also involve the skin of the face and ears which would warrant a trip to see a doctor. Of course, there are other skin conditions that can appear to be dandruff but instead be something more like Psoriasis or Tinea Corporis. If you notice your dandruff isn’t responding to anything you try, or if your scalp is developing thick patches of scaly skin, please see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis.
The following are over-the-counter products that can help you get rid of dandruff. Most of these will be shampoo recommendations to treat the yeast. Remember, skincare is like dating; you may have to try a few before finding Mr. Product Right. Also, your scalp may get bored of Mr. Product Right, so you’ll have to switch products up for a bit just to keep some excitement in the relationship. In truth, the yeast can start to become resistant to one active ingredient, but switching shampoos can help with that. Rub the dandruff shampoo into your scalp and let it sit for 5 minutes. Feel free to use regular shampoo and conditioner on your hair. Follow instructions on how to use products.
Products to get rid of dandruff by exfoliating dead skin cells
Salicylic Acid Scalp Treatment
Used one to two times a week, a salicylic treatment is a great one-two punch when used with a medicated shampoo for yeast. Neutrogena sells two types of shampoos to treat dandruff. Its T/Sal shampoo has salicylic acid to help lift up the dead sells stuck to your scalp. There is also a product from The Inky List called exfoliating scalp treatment. This is a lightweight serum developed to help combat the itchiness and flakiness from excess oil build-up on the scalp. And for those of you who like high-end, cruelty-free/vegetarian products, there is Oribe shampoo. It also has the nice benefit of not looking like a medicated shampoo bottle.
Neutrogena T/Gel SHampoo
This is another product designed to help exfoliate the scalp and relieve itchiness. Neutrogena T/Gel treats the scalp with coal tar extract, which continues to work even after the scalp has been rinsed.
Products to treat Dandruff by treating Malassezia
Does anyone remember the movie Evolution, with David Duchovny? Monsters in the movie were defeated using selenium sulfide. It was cute. I’m not saying Selsun blue will rid you of any monsters in your life, but it does contain the fungus fighting ingredient selenium sulfide.
Apple Cider Vinegar???
Lots of people would like a natural way to treat dandruff. Maybe you saw this recommended on Dr. Oz. ACV is said to ph balance the scalp, exfoliate the dead skin cells and reduce fungal growth. Unfortunately, there has not been much research on this treatment, so much of the info is anecdotal. That just means it has worked for some people and not others. There is no harm in trying, it seems. Just be sure to dilute the vinegar in water before putting it on the scalp. Check out Healthline for more information.
Well that’s it for dandruff. Has anyone tried Apple Cider Vinegar? If you’d like me to talk about Seb Derm of the face, let me know!