We don’t mean to scare you, but those annoying white flakes may be something more serious then just your run-of-the-mill dandruff. The Winter months are especially hard for those of us with dry scalp issues, but we talked to Ron Williams, master educator at Phyto Universe, to clarify a few things. Find out how to determine if your flakes are just your average dandruff or something more dangerous after the jump.
If you have dandruff, you've probably tried just about everything to get rid of it. For reader Autumns_Elegy, the best in dandruff relief is Neutrogena T/Gel Original Shampoo ($9). Here's what she has to say about this classic product:
"I love T/Gel shampoo. It has a pleasant smell and you don't need to empty half the bottle to get a decent lather. I found that initially it made my scalp flake worse. . . [but] after two washes most of my dandruff was gone, and I'm now using it once a week with a scalp hydrating deep conditioner. Other antidandruff shampoos have just made it worse or have not had any effect at all, but T/Gel is the only one that seems to work. The price isn't half bad, either."
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Copper bracelets are supposedly great for arthritis and joint pain, but can a copper brush help cure dandruff? My sister, who has long suffered from this condition, wanted to find out. While I was scoping out the hair accessories aisle, she came across the Goody Styling Therapy Reduce+Dandruff Paddle Brush ($13). "Do you think this will work?" she asked with a tinge of apprehension.
Scientists now believe that dandruff is caused from the fungus malassezia, a pesky little microbe that lives on all of our scalps. While some people aren't affected by the critters, others are, with an itchy, flaky, and oily scalp often resulting. Goody's brush is supposed to kill those suckers — 88 percent of bacteria and fungi, they claim. To find out what my sis thought, read more
Q: I notice flakes when I brush my beautiful black Persian – what should I do?
A: Don't you just wish they made Head and Shoulders for cats?! Well, actually I'm not even positive they still make it for people but those commercials sure stuck in my head ("You're head and shoulders above the rest!"). All joking aside, before I talk about treatment I want to make sure that you don't also notice scabs or crusting on your kitties' fur because that can be a sign of insufficient fat in her diet or a more serious skin condition.
Vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids are essential to healthy coats in dogs and cats. Checking a label for these nutrients is the first step, and the next is offering supplements that can improve the metabolism of fats in the skin's tissue. Find out what simple adjustment you can make your pet's diet when you read more.
While many hair issues such as graying, thinning, or balding can be caused by your genetic makeup and are out of our control, thankfully dandruff isn't one of them. This flaky skin on your scalp is the result of malassezia, a yeast-like fungus that happens to be found on the scalps of many healthy individuals.
Dandruff happens when these yeasty beasties multiply out of control. They irritate your scalp and cause skin cells to die so they flake off your scalp, making your head itch, and making it impossible for you to wear your favorite black shirt.
Some people's scalps may be susceptible to dandruff from lack of washing, illness, stress, hormonal fluctuations, or extra sensitivity to this fungus. Whatever the cause, the good news is that this embarrassing problem isn't something you have to live with. To find out how to control dandruff read more
It's a lover of lipids, a seeker of the dark. It doesn't discriminate, and it overstays its welcome. Just what is this mysterious thing of which I speak? It's called malassezia, and it's now believed this pesky creature is one of the leading causes of dandruff.
It's a common misconception that dandruff is caused by a dry scalp or by poor hygiene, which is not the case. Dandruff is dependent upon three factors: sebum production, individual susceptibility, and microbe (malassezia) by-products.
Yes, this yeast-like fungi is present on everyone's scalp, and it loves the dark and damp atmosphere on the top of your noggin. Depending on your body chemistry, this microorganism will thrive on fats produced by your oil glands. Like a hungry houseguest who doesn't seem to leave, malassezia causes irritation and redness.
For dandruff relief, look for shampoos and conditioners with pyrithione zinc, an anti-fungal ingredient. Head & Shoulders makes an excellent variety of gentle, moisturizing products that include this ingredient — and they actually smell good. (Mr. Bella is way into his bottle.) With regular usage, you should be flake-free in two weeks. Keep in mind, if treatment is discontinued, the fungus will come back with its intrusive, ferocious appetite. No, thanks.
Who knew that you’re likely to get dandruff when your hair is oily? I thought it was something that occurred in dry or dirty hair with an unhealthy scalp. Yet, according to Dr. David Kingsley (Ph.D. and trichologist), you can help reduce unsightly flakes by soaking a cotton ball in mint mouthwash and rubbing it on the affected areas. Do this when your hair is dry to absorb white specks and even some of the oil.
It is also a good idea to use a dandruff shampoo once a week until your scalp calms down and re-balances. I never would have thought about this, but hey, why not try it? Do you have any special dandruff-stopping tricks to share?
Shoulder snow - it's not pretty or fun, but in order to treat dandruff, it'll help to know what's causing it in the first place. People used to think that those flakes were caused by dry or oily skin, shampooing too much or not often enough, poor diet, stress, or the use of too many styling products.
While it's true that these can definitely not help your dandruff situation, the real cause has to do with malassezia.
This yeast-like fungus can be found on the scalps of many healthy heads, and you wouldn't even know it. The thing is, sometimes it can grow out of control, and since it feeds on the oils secreted by your follicles, it can cause your skin cells to die. These dead skin cells clump together with the oils in your hair, making them look whitish and flaky.
Why does this fungus multiply so much? Doctors aren't really sure, but it may have something to do with illness, hormonal fluctuations, not washing your hair enough, or extra sensitivity to the malassezia fungus.
OK, now my head is really itchy - is yours? What can you do to prevent dandruff? To find out read more
I've said it once and I'll say it again: the French can make anything seem fabulous, even getting rid of dandruff. Thanks to the chic (and discreet) packaging of the Leonor Greyl Bain Traitant à la Propolis ($32)—a.k.a. gentle treatment dandruff shampoo—your hair and scalp get the attention they need for a healthy recovery and balance.
This shampoo removes any existing flakes from your scalp, prevents further microbial flora from forming and stops itchiness. Your head and hair follicles receive the proper botanicals necessary to condition and calm your irritated scalp.
It's gentle enough for daily use and it happens to also smell like a beautiful bouquet of flowers, unlike lots of other brands which tend to make chemical-smelling dandruff shampoos.
To use, shampoo hair twice. The first time washes away grease, oils and impurities and the second time helps treat your scalp. Be sure to shampoo hair for a total of five minutes and finish with a cool and thorough rinse.
For two more dandruff shampoo suggestions, click here.