Dandruff: What It Is & Why You Get It& How To Prevent
Dandruff is a skin disorder that typically affects the scalp, resulting in flaky patches of skin, itching, and irritation.
Although the condition is rarely serious enough to warrant medical attention, dandruff can be pesky nonetheless. On top of the irritation of an itchy scalp, the unsightly flakes are often a source of embarrassment.
We discuss the symptoms, risk factors, and causes of dandruff. Discover DIY treatments and ingredients that can help, as well as how to keep your scalp flake-free.
Dandruff Symptoms and Causes
Symptoms include white or yellowish flakes which usually appear on the scalp accompanied by persistent itching. Some people have dandruff on their eyebrows or on facial hair too.
Seborrheic dermatitis (SD), a type of skin disorder, is the most common cause. However, there are several other potential culprits:
Other Skin Disorders
SD isn’t the only skin condition behind dandruff, although it’s arguably the most pervasive one.
Psoriasis is a chronic disease that can cause a scaly scalp, although it usually manifests more intensely with unbearable itching and larger flakes.
Eczema or contact dermatitis (an allergic reaction to a product) are also possible sources.
Dry or Oily Scalp
Just like your skin, your scalp can suffer from imbalances. If it’s too dry or excessively oily, dandruff can occur.
Common fungi such as Malassazeia can exacerbate existing dandruff, especially if they replicate in high quantities.
Parkinson’s Disease, HIV, and certain other neurological and autoimmune illnesses are often associated with dandruff.
- Infrequent hair washing: It’s a myth that dandruff is a natural consequence of poor hygiene. However, a buildup of products on your scalp can worsen it.
- Inappropriate products: Using products that irritate, dry out, or oil up your scalp should be avoided.
- Poor diet: A lack of vital nutrients such as B vitamins and zinc is linked to seborrheic dermatitis.
- High stress: Chronic stress worsens almost any health condition, including skin disorders.
Am I At Risk?
Dandruff can affect anyone from infants to adults, although it’s more prevalent in adults over 50 years old. Men are also somewhat more at risk for it.
Home Remedies for Dandruff
Coconut oil can help to soothe a dry scalp and promote healthy hair.
Tea tree oil is another potent weapon against dandruff, although you should be careful making shampoos—too much oil can irritate the skin.
Apple cider vinegar is a DIY dandruff remedy that’s best avoided: it’s more likely to inflame skin than to eliminate flakes.
How to Treat Dandruff
Fortunately, there are many dandruff shampoos and preparations on the market.
Most are available over-the-counter, although if your symptoms are debilitating, you might want to ask for a prescription-strength solution.
It’s important to follow treatment instructions and stick with it: consistency is key to eliminating dandruff.
These are common ingredients to look for:
Tea tree oil, aloe vera, and other beneficial plant extracts are popular ingredients in anti-dandruff products.
Coal tar encourages the shedding of dead skin cells and slows down skin cell growth to reduce flakes. You’ll usually find it available as a foaming shampoo to allow it to penetrate the scalp.
This drug is an anti-fungal that works to reduce itching and flaking over time by slowing fungal growth. It treats common infections such as Athlete’s foot and ringworm and is just as effective on dandruff.
You might be aware of salicylic acids as an acne treatment, but they can also fight dandruff.
The ability to exfoliate and break down oil buildup helps control a scaly scalp, and limits inflammation too.
This compound has both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial effects. It’s often used against seborrheic dermatitis and is in plenty of dandruff shampoos.
Selenium sulfide is another anti-fungal agent that is an effective agent against dandruff. It can also alleviate symptoms such as inflammation, itching, and dryness on the scalp.
Unless you have a severe case of dandruff, prevention is relatively straightforward. Here’s our advice:
If you find dandruff rears its ugly head, confront it. Invest in a quality shampoo or treatment and use it until you see improvement.
You might also want to use an anti-dandruff shampoo regularly (e.g., every other day) to prevent recurrences.
Certain hair cosmetics can irritate your scalp and result in dandruff. If you notice a bad reaction after using a serum, gel, or conditioner, cut it out of your routine.
Practice good stress management techniques. Meditation, exercise, and journaling can reduce stress in your life, which can improve your dandruff.
A nutrient-rich diet can combat vitamin deficiencies that might be a precursor to dandruff. Balance it out with lean meats, fruit, veggies, and healthy fats.
My AM routine while rocking cherie merch!
@cheriethanks for the cute sweatshirt! I am obsessed. Here is my am routine! sisley - FLORAL TONING LOTION First I tone and prep my skin with this toner. I love this toner so much because it is so hydrating and doesn’t strip the skin. It also moisturizes while helping to clean and prep it to absorb other products. NATURIUM - Hyaluronic Acid Essence 2% Then I use this essence. I love this brand so much and this essence is so hydrating and light. It helps plump and prepares it for the serum. NATURIUM - Niacinamide Serum 12% Plus Zinc 2% Next I use this serum which I have been enjoying. It is super gentle that I can even use it during the day. So far my skin has been tolerating it very well. I also notice my dark spots decreasing much quicker. LORD JONES - Acid Mantle Repair CBD Moisturizer Then I use this moisturizer that I am obsessed with. It so far has been my favorite product of the year. It’s so hydrating and calming. It feels amazing on the skin as well. Last I finish off with a sunscreen. I previously reviewed this before! It’s from Korean brand Corthe. ^^ what do you like to do in your morning routine?
This year was definitely wild, but I’m so grateful for my family’s health. I miss seeing them for the holidays, but I’m happy they are safe and healthy! On another thankful note, I am so grateful for all of the opportunities this weird year has given me. From my new job, to meeting all the lovely people I’ve met right here on Cherie!
Glass skin? Uhm YES!
This mist is so fun to use. You can use it with makeup or on its own! I tend to use it on bare skin for a natural glowing look. It is a fine mist that moisturizes, nourishes and helps fight damage. It also helps fight irritation and calm the skin. I will be posting a video a little later of me using this before makeup application! Makeup glides on after using this to prep the skin. What’s in it: ￼peach extract ￼Hyaluronic acid ￼Reishi mushroom ￼lotus extract ￼cica ￼ceramides ￼much more! This product has so many awesome ingredients, it’s hard not to love! PEACH & LILY - Glass Skin Veil Mist I will give this a 5/5! Pros: ￼can be used to refresh makeup ￼can be used on bare skin ￼hydrating ￼calming ￼gives a wonderful dewy glow ￼smells nice Cons: ￼$30 for a mist is a bit pricey but this mist does so much in return 💞 let me know a mist you love!
🎯Ingrown hairs—these two little words conjure🎯
In our quest for smooth, stubble-free skin, ingrown hairs are an annoyance at best and cause for concern at worst (trust me- you don't want to see what they look like when they get infected)🤐 The cause of ingrown hairs isn't complicated. Simply put, when your hair starts to grow, sometimes it curls inward and gets trapped back under the surface of your skin. This can happen because dead skin cells clog up your hair follicle (so always, always exfoliate), but ingrowns also exist just because of your hair's natural growth pattern—so, unfortunately, those with curly hair may suffer the most! ￼Aspirin-Honey Treatment This recipe is a double whammy. Not only does aspirin naturally contain salicylic acid, but honey also has antibacterial properties, which can help reduce the possibility of inflammation and infection. 🔎Ingredients: 3 uncoated aspirin tablets 1 tsp. honey 1/2 to 1 tsp. water or oil Directions: Add warm water or oil to a bowl Add honey Crush aspirin tablets Mix together Leave mask on for 10 minutes Wipe off entirely with warm water ￼Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub Coconut oil, for example, is hydrating, keeps skin moisturized, and reduces inflammation.4 It's basically our winter skin savior. Mix it with raw sugar and you've got a winner. You can use this scrub daily until you see an improvement, and then you can switch to two to three times a week. Just be careful that the scrub isn't too abrasive. 🔎Ingredients: 1 cup of raw sugar 1/2 cup of coconut oil 10 drops of tea tree oil, or your preferred essential oil Directions: Combine sugar and coconut oil in a bowl Add in essential oil Mix together Apply and then rinse using warm water Dry with a clean towel ￼Baking Soda and Oatmeal Treatment I am huge fan of baking soda and how amazing this ingredient is! And rediciliously cheap. Baking soda, which is a great exfoliator, helps reduce and prevent ingrown hairs. Oatmeal has a soothing effect, reducing redness and irritation caused by exfoliation. 🔎Ingredients: 1 tbsp. baking soda 1 cup of water 1 tbsp. ground oatmeal Directions: Mix baking soda and oatmeal together Add water to the bowl Stir until it has a paste-like texture Using a cotton pad, scoop up the mixture Apply to the affected area and let sit for 10 minutes Rinse with warm water ￼Oil-Based Serum if you're particularly sensitive, it's best to avoid overly harsh scrubs. Abrasive scrubs like sugar and salt scrubs do exfoliate the skin but often at the expense of causing excess skin irritation 🔎Ingredients: 1 tbsp. castor oil 1 tbsp. hemp oil (optional) 10 drops tea tree oil Directions: Find a reusable glass bottle Combine castor oil and hemp oil Add tea tree oil to mix Apply combination after shaving to prevent irritation alba BOTANICA - Acne Dote, Face & Body Scrub Oil-Free CeraVe - SA Moisturizing Cream For Rough & Bumpy Skin GLYTONE - KP Kit Amlactin - Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion
Tips from a dermatologist on sunscreen ☀️
Let’s talk about sunscreen ☀️ What’s a good sunscreen to wear? One that is: * Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays) * SPF 30 or higher * Water resistant This will help protect your skin from early skin aging, sunburn, and skin cancer. What is the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens? Chemical sunscreens work like a sponge, absorbing the sun’s rays. They contain one or more of the following ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. These are often easier to rub into the skin without a white cast. Physical sunscreens (aka mineral sunscreens) act like a shield, sitting on the surface of your skin and deflecting the sun’s rays. These can come on white. They have the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide Reapply every 2 hours when outside in the sun ☀️ Some of my favorites: Tinted: Cerave tinted, la roche posay tinted, alastin CeraVe - Face Sheer Tint Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30 LA ROCHE-POSAY - Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50 ALASTIN SKINCARE - HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36 Not tinted: colorescience, drunk elephant colorescience - Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield SPF 50 Sunscreen DRUNK ELEPHANT - Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 What’s your favorite sunscreen?
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