Dandruff -the very word sends a chill down my spine. We all hate it! Not only is it embarrassing when one of those flakes randomly fall out of the head, but they usually come with that horrible itch and the pat_it pat_it pat_it syndrome! It keeps you in such an uncomfortable state that you turn into a ninja within 0.25 seconds of something coming into contact with your tresses. Well, no more. Dandruff can be treated, the trick is knowing which kind of dandruff you have and what causes it.
There are 4 causes of dandruff:
- hair products
- Dryness of the scalp
- unbalanced scalp pH
- vitamin deficiency
Some hair products are great for hair and some are not beneficial for hair at all. Either way, any leave-in product can accumulate on the scalp and hair and cause product build up. This is very common in African hair care products since they usually contain petro-chemicals, mineral oils and parabens. These ingredients literally just sit on the hair since they can’t penetrate the hair shaft.
It is important to cleanse your hair and scalp on a regular basis or better yet, make your own hair care products. Browse the website for some DIY recipes for moisturisers, oil sealants, deep conditioners and cleansing alternatives. These recipes will reduce product build up to a significant minimum. Shampoos also have a huge role in causing dandruff. Read up on the Cleansing eco diva style post.
Dryness of the Scalp
Skin and hair naturally go through a 3 phase cycle that ends with shedding (explanation coming in shedding vs breakage post), however, if the scalp is dry, this cycle seems to speed up because the scalp produces more and more dead skin cells that flake off and can cause dandruff.
- Moisturise and seal your hair and don’t ever let your scalp feel dry. This may prove to be difficult to do with straight hair since the hair becomes greasy when it comes into contact with any kind of oil, but the alternatives below will help.
- Pre-shampoo treatments. This means coating your hair and scalp in an anti-fungal oil that doesn’t contain Oleic acid and covering with a shower cap for about 1-3 hours before you use a cleansing shampoo on it. This will ensure that the shampoo doesn’t strip the hair and scalp of much needed moisture while rejuvinating your scalp.
- use sulphate free shampoos or your own DIY cleansing alternatives on the cleaning your hair eco diva style post
Unbalanced scalp pH
The sebum secreted by the scalp has a naturally slightly acidic pH which prevents Malassezia from breeding and multiplying on the scalp. A disturbance in this pH puts the scalp under stress to produce more sebum to restore the pH. This continues and causes excess sebum build up and excess skin shedding on the scalp causing more dandruff.
- avoid alkaline products and opt for natural ones
- use sulphate free shampoo’s
- incorporate Apple cider vinegar, baking soda and lime juice into your cleansing regimen. (See clean your hair eco diva style post) these will restore you scalps pH.
Malassezia can start breeding on a slightly alkaline scalp with excess sebum and shed skin.
- deep condition your hair with yogurt (anti-fungal) and mayonnaise to stop it from breeding.
- incorporate apple cider vinegar into your cleansing regimen
- do pre-shampoo treatments before cleansing your hair with anti fungal, oleic acid free oils.
- keep your scalp moisturised.
This may include eczema and psoriasis to name a few. Infection related dandruff is usually very itchy, may form scaly skin, scabs, sores is very stubborn. You will need to see a dermatologist about this one and try some of Nicole’s eczema relief recipes.
Now before you can treat your dandruff you need to find the cause and type first. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What products do you use and what ingredients do the contain?
- How often do you moisturise your hair and with what?
- How often do you cleanse your scalp and does your shampoo contain sulphates?
- Does your scalp have a horrible itch?
- Do you have scabs or scaly skin on the skin?
After answering these questions in reference with the information above, you can develop your own cleansing regimen that will get rid or your dandruff for good.
This is my own personalised cleansing regimen to give you an idea of how to incorporate those natural alternatives into your cleansing regimen from week 1 to week 8. Yours can differ from everyday to every two or 4 days depending on how frequently you cleanse your scalp. The idea is to substitute your shampoo with these alternatives. You will master your regimen by listening and paying attention to how your hair reacts to the changes.
- Clarify with your favourite shampoo -do a pre-shampoo treatment before shampooing (to cleanse and remove excess sebum). Follow with a moisturising deep treatment conditioner (restore moisture, soften hair, prevent frizz)
- Do a baking soda + apple cider vinigar rinse (restore pH)
- Co-wash (conditioner wash) with my favourite in shower rinse off conditioner
- Do a bentonite clay wash and follow with a banana + avocado treatment
- Do a rhassoul mudwash + protein treatment
- Clarify with favourite shampoo with pre-shampoo treatment and moisture deep conditioning.(Back to 1)
I’m usually washing/rinsing the hair with just warm water in between the washes.
Some oleic acid free carrier oils include: sweet almond oil, jojoba oil.
(You can also add a about 5 drops of tea tree oil and 5 drops of lavender (please alternate these) essential oils to your DIY cleansing alternatives.)
With every recipe that needs oils (like oil sealant mixtures or some deep conditioners or mudwashes) substitute those carrier oils for these ones so that you can benefit from their anti-fungal effects.
A deficiency in vitamins and minerals like iron,among many, can actually take a toll on your hair and scalp so don’t forget to take your vitamins and eat healthily.
All the best in treating your dandruff. Do tell us how it goes on twitter, facebook. Have any queries or comments or remedies of your own? Drop them in the comment box below.
#teaser :The next post will be a #knowyourhair_sa healthy hair journey post to tell you about my personal hair goals and growth challenge I told you about earlier. You can get some more info about african hair there. Perhaps you could join in. Until then
Know your hair, Grow your hair.