Picture this: You're about to go in for a big event, a job interview, a date night, you name it. You want to look good and feel even better. The last thing you want is something to throw you off your game.
Now you've met your match, the enemy trying to sabotage you. It's not your scary new boss or your date's ex; it's you. Well, not actually, but it's coming from your head: dandruff. You can see white flakes on your scalp and your shoulders, and maybe even falling on the seat or table you're at.
This is a situation that we never want you to find yourself in.
While it's not a threat to your overall health and well-being, dandruff can be a nuisance and a bit embarrassing. We want to make sure that it's a problem you don't have to face and, if you do, that you have the right tools to tackle the problem. To do that, we must get into the nitty-gritty of all things dandruff.
So, what is dandruff?
Thankfully, this isn't a super complex problem but a common one. Dandruff is when dry, flaky skin from the top of that magnificent head of yours comes free, ending up on your scalp, in your hair, and sometimes falling on your shoulders or around you.
While usually not painful, it can make your scalp itchy or irritated, which isn't ideal.
We've got your back (and head). We’ve put together a list of reasons that dandruff can pop up. This list will help you get ahead of the game and prevent this annoyance as much as possible.
Bacteria and fungi are necessary for a healthy scalp, but sometimes, they can overstay their welcome and cause problems. One fungus, Malassezia, loves to make a meal from the oil on your head. The more it eats, the more it reproduces, leading to an overgrowth of that fungus, a leading cause of dandruff.
When you put off washing your hair for a little too long, don't cleanse it well enough, or don't use a strong enough shampoo, your hair can look and feel greasy. In addition to not being super hygienic and looking bad, oily hair can increase your likelihood of dandruff. As we said above, bacteria like to feed on this oil, and the more you give them to eat, the more of them there will be, which can lead to a fungal explosion.
Additionally, just the oil building up on your scalp is enough to cause dandruff. Oil, dirt, and grime can suffocate the skin below and cause it to flake, resulting in dandruff.
It seems counterintuitive that we just said too much oil can cause dandruff, and now we’re telling you that dry skin can have the same effect. But it's true. When our skin gets too dry, especially around this time of year in colder months, it can get flaky and itchy.
Dry skin can be caused by more than just the weather, though, and can cause dandruff in more than just the wintertime. Using a shampoo that isn't moisturizing and is too harsh, stripping more than just the excess oil on your scalp, can leave your head dry and flaky year round.
Irritation from shampoo
As we said, some shampoos can cause dandruff by being too drying, but also, your scalp might not agree with the particular products you're using. An allergy to your shampoo can cause your scalp to become itchy, flaky, and irritated after use, all tell-tale signs of dandruff. If that's the case, consider looking into different hair care solutions that work better for you.
Preexisting skin conditions
Lastly, if you already struggle with issues like eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis, you may be more likely to have dandruff. These conditions are more likely to dry out or irritate your skin, including what's under all that luscious hair of yours.
With so many causes of dandruff, it feels like the condition is inevitable. It's not unreasonable to try and prevent it as much as possible, but sadly, no one has figured out how to control the weather to make it less dry, and even if we could, there are still fungi and hair care products that can bring about the problem.
Seriously, how are you supposed to find a shampoo that's cleansing but not drying, antibacterial, antifungal, non-irritating, and safe for those with sensitive skin conditions? That's so much to ask of one product.
If you want to steer clear of dandruff shampoos chock-full of chemicals you can’t pronounce, we recommend opting for a natural shampoo for dandruff. These can leave your hair nourished and your scalp clean and hydrated, with soothing ingredients that your head will love, and dandruff won’t. Pine tar is one of these ingredients, made from carbonized pine wood that will clean your hair the natural way, and leave it smelling like the forest; fresh and rugged.
Skip the chemicals. Go natural. Enjoy the falling snow from your window…or from the slopes…but keep it off your shoulders.