Treating Dandruff: Cleansers, Desensitizers and More
Dandruff is a common condition that causes the skin on the scalp to flake. This condition is not serious or contagious. However, it can be a bit difficult to treat and it can also be quite embarrassing to have.
The treatment of dandruff will depend on the extent of the problem. For example, the best dandruff for milder conditions would include a gentle daily shampoo. If that doesn’t work, then one can opt for a medicated shampoo.
However, if you are suffering from dandruff and you are looking for the right dry scalp treatment, then you first need to learn more about the condition. And we’ll help you with that today. We will also talk about the best dandruff solution.
Before you can get the best dry scalp treatment, you need to know that dandruff is a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis. Some symptoms of this condition are:
- Skin flakes present on the scalp, hair, eyebrows, shoulders, beard, and moustache
- Itchy scalp
- Scaly and crusty scalp in infants with a cradle cap
It should also be noted that these signs and symptoms can be severe during the cold and dry season or if an individual is stressed.
Usually, it’s not clear why an individual is suffering from dandruff. However, some possible factors are mentioned below.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
Individuals who suffer from seborrheic dermatitis have irritated, oily skin, and are more likely to have dandruff. This is because the skin will be more likely to be red, greasy, and covered with flaky white or yellow scales.
Apart from the scalp, dandruff can also occur at the back of the ears, the eyebrows, the chest, and other parts of the body.
- Medical Conditions
Medical conditions like scalp psoriasis, HIV, acne, rosacea, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, alcohol dependency, depression, eating disorder, fatigue, obesity, and a weak immune system puts people at a higher risk of suffering from dandruff.
- Certain Skin Conditions
Some flaking skin conditions like ringworm, eczema, contact dermatitis, and yeast also put individuals at a higher risk of suffering from dandruff.
- A Fungus
Dandruff can also stem from a fungus, which is known as Malassezia. This fungus usually lives on the scalp and feeds on the oils secreted by the hair follicles. In some people, the immune system overreacts to this fungus. This can cause the scalp to become irritated and produce extra skin cells. These extra skin cells die and fall off. These cells mix with the oil from the hair and scalp and form dandruff.
- Shampooing and Skin Care Products
There are certain shampoos and skincare products that can irritate the scalp and cause dandruff. If an individual finds a product that causes irritation, then he or she should switch to a gentle and non-medicated shampoo. Not shampooing enough can also lead to dandruff. This is often due to the build-up of oil and dead skin cells.
- Other Factors
Other factors that can increase the risk of developing dandruff include extreme winter temperatures, infrequent hair brushing, stress, age, hormonal factors, and diet.
There are some lifestyle changes and home remedies that one can follow to treat this condition. These lifestyle changes and home remedies are:
- Manage stress
- Brush your hair often
- Avoid products that contain harsh chemicals and detergents
- Follow a suitable scalp and hair-care strategy
If none of these home remedies and lifestyle changes are working, then it would be a good idea to see a doctor. The doctor will help in identifying the underlying problem and prepare a specific treatment plan to solve the problem.
For mild dandruff without a specific cause, various over-the-counter products can help in managing the condition. However, before using the product, you should try to remove as many scaly and crusty patches on the scalp as possible. This will increase the effectiveness of the scalp.
To remove the loose scales or flakes, one can gently use a comb or hairbrush. Make sure that you should not remove patches or plaques too aggressively as this could irritate the condition.
There are also some ingredients that an individual should look out for while finding shampoos that can help in treating dandruff. Some of these ingredients are:
- Selenium sulfide
- Zinc pyrithione
Beyond these ingredients, coal tar also has natural antifungal properties. It can help in reducing excess skin cell production. During long-term use, coal tar may stain dyed or treated hair. It can also increase the sensitivity of the scalp to sunlight. This is why if you are using coal tar for its anti-dandruff properties, then you should wear a hat outside. Further, it should be noted that coal tar can also be carcinogenic in high doses.
Salicylic acid also helps in removing excess skin cells. Tea-tree oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Studies have also shown that shampoos that contain 5% tea tree oil are safer and provide better results for treating dandruff. However, if you are expecting a reaction, then you should do a patch test first to be safe.
How to Use Anti-Dandruff Shampoo?
Depending on your hair type, you might be required to use a medicated shampoo a number of different times. Individuals with darker hair can shampoo their hair once a week or twice a week. If you feel as if the shampoo does not help, then you can try a different shampoo.
Also, sometimes it is possible that due to the frequent use of anti-dandruff, it might stop being effective enough. A specific shampoo can also become less effective over time. In both of these cases, it is a good idea to switch to a different shampoo. You should also make sure that the ingredients of the new shampoo should be different from the ingredients that were used in the previous shampoo.
It can also help to leave the shampoo on the scalp. The length of time that you should leave the product on your scalp can also vary depending on the ingredients that are present in the shampoo. Ideally, you should follow the instructions that are present on the shampoo bottle.