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Do the shiny white flakes on your favourite black outfit strike you with a serious dilemma? It is understandable to be easily frustrated by scalp flaking, dandruff and an itchy scalp.

Dandruff is a normal scalp condition, often triggered by sensitivity to unsuitable hair care products. If certain preventive measures are not adopted at the initial stage, it may also be the underlying cause of facial pimples, rashes, damaged hair follicles, hair loss etc. Some of the common reasons for dandruff are-

  • Oily scalp
  • Excessive stress
  • Dry skin type
  • Lack of scalp cleansing
  • Product buildup
  • Yeast growth

Although dandruff is commonly a scalp issue, it is still a major contributor to hair fall. This is because severe dandruff causes repetitive inflammation of hair follicles which leads to-

  • Hair thinning
  • Brittle hair
  • Inhibited hair growth

One’s aspiration for healthy lustrous hair and firm skin texture is directly associated with one’s scalp condition and overall mental and physical well-being. Let’s browse through some cause-effect and preventive measures to help achieve a radiant you and dandruff-free hair.

4 Tips to follow to have a dandruff-free scalp & hair

There can be multiple ways to manage the dandruff condition triggered by excess oil, dehydration, and fungal and bacterial allergens. Let’s look at some effective ways that will ultimately help you restore a healthy scalp.

  1. Anti-Dandruff Shampoos

    A haircare routine coupled with the right products is the fundamental aspect to manage dandruff. Prefer anti-dandruff shampoos over regular ones, as they have a stronger concentration of active ingredients that specifically constitute antifungal and antimicrobial agents. They work directly on the scalp whilst protecting hair texture and strength. One may look out for the following characteristics in their anti-dandruff shampoo -

    • Sulphate-free
    • Regulates sebum
    • Reduces itching and dryness
    • Enriched with active compounds like tea tree oil and zinc pyrithione
  2. Add a conditioner that doesn’t leave any residue buildup

    Opt for a hair conditioner with smoothening and anti-build up property, that prevents any undesirable reaction to the scalp skin causing redness or allergy. Some of the ingredients known to suppress unwanted frizziness of hair whilst promoting a smoothening effect would be organic Babbasu oil and Erithritols.

  3. Reduce the use of hair styling products

    Creating new looks with hairstyling products? Well, they could be a major contributing factor to the white flakes on your shoulder. Hair styling products, when used frequently tend to build up and develop on your scalp causing oil accumulations, fungal proliferation and dandruff. The use of heat styling tools like perming, and straightening also strips off the moisture and natural oils in the hair making them inherently dry and frizzy. This directly affects the scalp’s moisture barrier leading to extreme dryness, white flakes and itching

  4. Add pre-wash anti-dandruff lotion to your haircare regime

    Recurrent dandruff issues can be demoralising. However, certain anti-dandruff recurrence lotions have scientifically proved their worth. Power-packed with active compounds like piroctone olamine and zinc pyrithione along with the non-dripping application, these lotions work best for scalp conditions like seborrheic dermatitis (yellow clunky flakes). They effectively balance sebum production and inhibit the growth of the yeast Malassezia Globosa, responsible for dandruff. Enriched with essential oils, they tend to ameliorate scalp inflammation and redness.

    It is important to understand that the contact time of such lotions is more in comparison to anit-dandruff shampoos

Top 4 ingredients known to counter dandruff & associated issues

Dandruff flakes are generally associated with a dehydrated scalp which requires essential moisture retention for the hair follicles to strengthen, regulate nourishment and prevent thinning and brittle hair. Below are the ingredients known to effectively reduce dandruff on the scalp -

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an all-time, go-to solution for dandruff amelioration. Owing to its outstanding ability to combat bacterial and fungal allergens, it is one of the best-known ingredients for scalp health, as it possesses the following properties-

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Regulates sebum production
  • Disinfectant
  • Moistening element

Zinc Pyrithione

Known to be a potent anti-dandruff agent that restores scalp health and strengthening. It soothes the scalp with its following innate properties-

Piroctone Olamine

Dandruff not only damages the scalp's health but also affects hair quality and strength. One of the clinically tested most effective ingredients to deal with seborrheic dermatitis (Dandruff) is Piroctone Olamine, which is known to scientifically deliver the following properties-

  • Prevents hair loss
  • Augments hair growth and strength
  • Strengthens hair follicles
  • Anti-fungal

Nasturtium officinal Extract

Watercress, an aquatic flower plant is known to effectively treat thinning of hair, breakage and other associated issues causing dandruff. It promotes a healthy scalp owing to the following properties-

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-dandruff
  • Removes excess oil and build-up
  • Promotes new hair growth
Difference between yellow flakes and white flakes

Basically, dandruff is dead skin cells shedding from the scalp, commonly triggered by dry skin or increased scalp sensitivity. But sometimes, you may notice a distinctive colour in these flakes.

Yellow Flakes

Yellow flakes aka wet dandruff is caused by a condition called seborrheic dermatitis caused by increased sebum production around the hair follicles. When the oil and dirt consolidate around the hair on the scalp, it results in clunkier yellow flakes that clump together. Usually characterised by-

  • Crusty yellow flakes
  • Thick in texture
  • Inflammation/redness of scalp

White flakes

These are generally caused by an inflammatory condition called scalp psoriasis, usually triggered by irregular shampooing or extremely dry weather conditions usually identified by-

  • Large white/snowy flakes
  • Itching
  • Tightness of scalp skin
More FAQs
1. Is dandruff contagious?

No, you cannot "catch" dandruff or spread it to others. It is crucial to comprehend that dandruff is a restrictive scalp condition triggered by factors like dry skin, unclean scalp, excessive sebum production, genes etc. In reality, everyone naturally possesses the underlying agent that causes dandruff, a microbe: Malassezia globosa, that forms a part of your natural skin flora. When its proliferation exceeds the normal range, it tends to infect the hair follicles and produce dandruff on the scalp. Anti-dandruff shampoos and serums are the way forward.

2. What are some natural remedies/ingredients that help prevent dandruff and restore scalp health?

Some of the natural remedies/ incidents that can be used in conjunction with best-suited hair products are-

  • Aloe vera - It is a saviour in reducing sensitivity and scalp irritation due to its cooling effect, antibacterial benefits and antifungal characteristics.

  • Neem juice - Its antifungal and antibacterial characteristics can help lessen the dandruff outbreak typically brought on by a fungal infection of the scalp. Use boiled Neem leaves or utilise them as leaf paste for best results.

  • Vinegar - It contains therapeutic characteristics that can kill unwanted fungus, making it the most convenient solution to get rid of dandruff. Additionally, this aids in the treatment of several skin-related issues like acne and scalp itching.

  • Simmondsia chinensis seed oil - Also known as jojoba oil, it treats dry scalps, prevents hair falls and effectively removes dandruff.

3. Does dandruff affect the facial skin?

Yes, dandruff can typically affect the facial skin. Although it originates on a sensitive or unclean scalp, stubborn white flakes can commonly be seen on the cheeks, ears, and other parts of the body. Although dandruff is caused by a skin fungus that occurs naturally, however, it can cause irritation, itchiness, redness, and dry eyes and can considerably notch down the confidence level of an individual. The way to tackle dandruff is hair care products with-

  • pH 5.5-6
  • Paraben and sulphate free
  • Anti-fungal properties
  • Skin ameliorating effects