Got a bit of an itch going on up top? Seen the odd white flake hanging out on your collar? Or, er, just feel like something’s not quite right in the scalp department? Girl, you could have a case of dandruff.
Dandruff is a scalp condition that is actually pretty common – nope, it isn’t only something that happens to old men who don’t wash their hair enough – and it doesn’t always manifest as an avalanche of tell-tale snow on your shoulders. So, how to know if you need to be adding an anti-dandruff shampoo to your weekly shop?
Now, we know this isn’t always something you want to bring up with your girlfriends over Friday night Aperol Spritz’s, so in the name of helping babes everywhere, scroll on for everything you need to know about dandruff – and what to do about it.
What Is Dandruff?
Dandruff is basically a mild form of a condition called seborrheic dermatitis (heard of cradle cap in babies? That’s another version of this condition) – and it occurs when there is too much oil on the scalp. All of this oil hanging about causes a build-up of dead skin cells up there, which then flake off, often causing that tell-tale itch.
How To Tell If You Have Dandruff
Dandruff flakes are typically large, oily in texture and can be white or yellow. But while for many of us, the term conjures up images of the anti-dandruff shampoo ads you see on TV, if you have dandruff, your flakes won’t necessarily be super visible. In fact, they might not be easily spotted on your clothing or in your hair, so don’t rule it out if you can’t see them easily, but still have other symptoms.
An itchy scalp often points to a case of dandruff, and the skin up there can feel tight and dry (just like the skin on your legs does when you haven’t moisturised in a while).
Oh, and this condition doesn’t just affect your scalp. Yep, did you know it’s not just your head that can get affected by dandruff – guys might also have those tell-tale flakes visit their beard, too. If that’s you (or your man), you can wash your beard with an anti-dandruff shampoo (more on these in a bit) just like you would your hair.
What Causes Dandruff?
Unfortunately, there isn’t one cause of dandruff that we can always pinpoint. Having ‘dirty hair’ isn’t the typical reason people develop dandruff, but if you’re not shampooing enough, this can cause an increased build-up of sebums on your scalp, which can trigger or exacerbate dandruff. If you naturally have an oilier hair type, this can mean you’re more pre-disposed.
Dandruff can also be triggered by various scalp conditions. These include contact dermatitis, which occurs when skin on the scalp is irritated by sensitivity to harsher shampoos and haircare products (ahem, try switching to a naturally formulated, silicone, paraben and sulphate-free shampoo like this one for a happier scalp!).
Lifestyle factors such as stress can play a part, and if you work in an office where the air con is set to an Arctic setting all day, the drying effect can also trigger dandruff (which is also why you might notice yours is worse during winter, when our skin is typically drier).
How To Treat Dandruff
It can be irritating and even embarrassing, but luckily, dandruff is easy to treat. Simply switching up your shampoo to one that’s scientifically formulated to treat dandruff can help alleviate this condition altogether.
Look for a shampoo and conditioner minus the nasties, that won’t irritate your already sensitive scalp, and keep an eye out for targeted active ingredients such as peppermint essential oil and zinc pyrithione, which can work cleverly together to soothe and whisk away flakes while also gently cleansing your scalp. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying good hair days on repeat!
Psst! You can check out our amazing, delicious-smelling Dandruff Repair Shampoo + Conditioner (free from silicones, sulphates, parabens, ethoxylates, paragons, propylene glycol, petrochemical cleansers, phthalates, DEA and artificial colours) here.