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What is dandruff? And how do I get rid of it?

Everyone wants to be able to wear their favourite black turtleneck without white flakes dusting their shoulders. 

Dandruff is frustrating and can puncture self-esteem. It affects the scalp, where the main symptom is flaking of the skin. Mostly, it just sucks.

It is absolutely not contagious and typically isn’t serious. But if it is chronic and recurring, you should go and see your doctor.

So what causes it?

It’s important to remember: dandruff is not caused by poor hygiene, so leave that stereotype at the door. 

In fact, a number of genetic and environmental factors can be at play. Let’s take a look.

  • Seborrheic Dermatitis is an intimidating name for what is actually just irritated, oily skin. Often you'll find the same scaly skin in other areas rich in oil glands—like your eyebrows or back of your ears.
  • Not shampooing often enough. This allows for the oils and skin cells from your scalp to build up before they fall like snow onto your shoulders.
  • Malassezia is a yeast-like fungus that actually lives on the scalps of most adults. For some people, it causes skin cells to fall off in white flakes. Nobody knows why!
  • Winter might also make dandruff worse due to the hot air from artificial heating drying out the scalp, and creating a breeding ground for fungus.
  • Dry skin. Flakes from dry skin are generally smaller, less oily and redness or inflammation is unlikely. You'll probably have dry skin on other parts of the body, too.
  • Sensitivity to hair care products. Sometimes sensitivities to certain ingredients in hair care products or hair dyes can cause a red, itchy, scaly scalp.

What to do about it?

If you see flakes on your shoulders or when parting your hair, never fear. There are steps you can take to combat dandruff.

The right shampoo for you

Firstly, invest in an anti-dandruff shampoo specifically designed to combat a flaky scalp. 

Ingredients like tea tree oil help to kill bacteria and soothe inflammation. Hydrating coconut oil may help prevent dryness, which worsens dandruff. Look for these in your shampoo, or even use them on their own.

Change up the products you are using, in case you are sensitive to what you have now.

Consider your lifestyle

Did you know that stress affects all aspects of your health? Including your hair health!

Try to minimise stress in your life. This will actually boost your immune system, helping you fight off dandruff. 

What you eat can also be beneficial in battling dandruff. Omega-3 fatty acids are important to skin health and can reduce inflammation. Try eating more salmon, mackerel and walnuts.

How you treat your hair

Be sure to wash your hair often, in order to reduce any build-up of dead skin cells. Same goes for brushing your hair regularly to loosen and shake out and flakes.

You could even go the extra mile and treat your hair to a nourishing hair mask to give it an intense boost of hydration. 

Lastly, don’t worry about it! Most people get dandruff from time to time, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Remember, you’re not alone in the journey for beautiful, healthy hair.

Check out our full range to satisfy all of your hair care needs.

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