Dandruff (also known as scurf or Pityriasis simplex capillitii) is a skin condition that causes the scalp to shed skin cells at an abnormal rate.
As a result, sufferers will find pesky white flakes dotted through their hair and sometimes on their shoulders, which can be very embarrassing – and very obvious if they happen to be wearing black.
Although it is unknown what specifically causes dandruff, it is thought stress, a weak immune system and some forms of dermatitis can contribute to its development. Daily habits such as washing your hair too much or too little, or using harsh products can also play a part.
Whatever the reason behind it, dandruff can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing to live with, but there are natural, simple ways to treat it and keep the pesky flakes at bay.
- Brush your hair regularly – This will aid the process of shedding skin cells, helping to prevent the build-up of flakes in your hair.
- Olive oil – Slathering warm olive oil onto your hair, gently massaging into your roots and leaving for a few hours before washing out will help to soothe dry skin and ease shedding.
- Wash with lukewarm water – Blasting your hair with hot or cold water will affect the moisture barrier of your scalp, leading to irritation and inflammation.
- Add baking soda to your shampoo – This is the secret ingredient of most anti-dandruff shampoos, but rather than forking out for special products make your own.
- Aloe Vera juice – While washing your hair, massage in some Aloe Vera juice to your roots and leave for ten minutes. Aloe Vera is another common ingredient of most anti-dandruff products as it contains antifungal and antibacterial properties.
- Get plenty of sunlight – The link between sunlight and reduced dandruff is unknown, but lack of exposure to the sun’s rays can make dandruff worse. Research suggests just 15 minutes of sunlight can make a big difference.
- Exfoliate with salt – Rub a handful of table salt into your scalp while your hair is damp to remove dry, flaky skin and improve blood supply.
If your skin is constantly irritated, dry and sensitive, you may want to consider visiting a beauty professional specialising in dermatology. To find out more, please see our dermatology page.
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