Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dandruff
Dealing with an itchy, flaky scalp is embarrassing and annoying, so here’s some information to help you eliminate the issue! The first step is figuring out whether the problem is actually dandruff. It could be something else altogether!
How to identify dandruff
- Dandruff causes white flakes that are noticeable in the hair and on the scalp. If it causes itching, the whole scalp (rather than parts of the scalp) tends to itch.
Although dandruff is the most common cause of scalp flaking, there are plenty of other reasons your scalp could be feeling dry:
- Changes in weather or dry climates
- Washing hair too frequently: If you wash your hair every day, try washing every other day. Another thing to avoid is shampooing more than once per wash (even though the shampoo bottle’s directions instruct you to), it’s unnecessary and dries the scalp out.
- Certain medications: They’re great for treating hair loss, but dry scalp is a common side effect of medications containing minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine). Usually, you want to avoid washing your hair every day, but it’s actually helpful if minoxidil is causing flakiness. This washes away the medication you applied the night before and gives your scalp a break.
- Harsh shampoos or styling products: Products containing fragrance or essential oils often cause scalp irritation. Look for mild fragrance-free products, especially shampoo.
- Buildup of styling products: Products like hairspray and gel are particularly prone to buildup, try skipping them for a few days to see whether they’re causing the problem.
If you can eliminate environmental causes like these, it’s safe to assume you have dandruff rather than a dry or flaky scalp.
How to treat dandruff
One of the only good things about dandruff is that it has plenty of effective treatments:
- Antifungal treatments like Nizoral are easy to find at the drugstore. Products like Head & Shoulders and Selsun contain an ingredient that has both antifungal and antibacterial properties.
- If you can handle the strange smell, Coal-tar shampoos are another effective dandruff treatment which you can find at the drugstore. Try Neutrogena T-Gel.
- If over the counter treatments aren’t working for you after a couple weeks, see a dermatologist to figure out exactly what the issue is. You may need a prescription treatment.
Hopefully you found this information helpful! Have you had any experience with dandruff or other scalp issues? What did you find helpful?