Dandruff can be a real issue and it can damage your confidence as well as the health of your scalp. Head & Shoulders, the most recognisable anti-dandruff haircare brand, claims that as many as half of the world's population suffers with dandruff, but what exactly causes it, and what is the best cause of treatment? I found the most famous old wives tales to cure dandruff that actually work, and looked into how dandruff happens.
According to Head & Shoulders, the cause of dandruff is a fungus called Malassezia globosa. It causes white flakes to appear on the hairline, which can often fall onto clothing and shoulders. It can also cause the scalp to feel tight, dry, and itchy. The NHS also reveals that dandruff happens when the process by which your skin produces new skin cells and sheds old cells to stay healthy speeds up. This leads to dry skin flaking from the scalp and landing on the hair.
According to the NHS, dandruff can also be a symptom of conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It's not contagious, but many of us suffer with it and struggle to find an effective treatment. I looked into some of the most commonly discussed treatments, from natural remedies to lifestyle changes. Here are the five that seem to be most reliable:
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is great for things like soothing sunburn and targeting breakouts, but what about dandruff? Turns out, it has brilliant anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that can really soothe scalps, as Teen Vogue reports. You can apply it neat to your scalp and hairline before shampooing as a mask.
As Healthline reports, Baking soda has been attributed to helping with just about everything, from brightening your smile to easing sunburn, and it's also handy for a spot of dandruff. Dermatologist Lavanya Krishnan, M.D told Good Housekeeping that baking soda is one of dandruff's greatest adversaries. "In a scrub, baking soda has the ability to control excessively oily scalp skin and thus, control the excess oil production," she told the publication. Interesting.
Reducing stress levels
Everyone knows that stress is bad for health, but who knew it could contribute to dandruff issues? As Medical News Today reports a Japanese study that found that participants with atopic dermatitis reported higher levels of anxiety than those who did not have the condition. So although stress is not a direct factor, there could be a link between stress and skin and scalp conditions, meaning taking steps to reduce anxiety and stress could benefit your scalp as well as your state of mind.
Classic Head & Shoulders
Everyone's heard of Head & Shoulders, the iconic anti-dandruff haircare line, but does it actually work? Well, the NHS recommends going straight to a shampoo that contains any of the following to reduce symptoms: zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, selenium sulphide (or selenium sulfide), ketoconazole or coal tar. Head & Shoulders' normal shampoos contain zinc pyrithione, as well as piroctone olamine, an anti-fungal ingredient they include to target dandruff. Their clinical Solutions range also features selenium sulphide, making it a well-rounded range to target dandruff and everything that comes with it. My favourite shampoo is the citrusy one.