Ok, let's talk about the annoyance of dandruff. First off, dandruff is not as prevalent as the makers of commercial dandruff shampoos would have us to believe. Many people believe that the white flakes taking over their scalp and cascading down their shoulders blanketing their clothes is dandruff, however, it is not. That's more likely dry scalp. So before you attempt to treat your scalp, it is best to know what you are treating: dandruff, dry scalp or product buildup. Dandruff is a contagious disease caused by bacteria. So please be cautious when sharing combs, brushes or hats. Also, the misconception of applying and leaving oils on the scalp is a setup for scalp issues down the line. Because the scalp produces its own oil (sebum) and has pores, the application of additional oils will tell the scalp that it does not need to produce its necessary oils and will clog the pores of the scalp as well leading to issues of dry scalp and/or dandruff.
Before we get into preventative measures, let's first distinguish the difference between dandruff and dry scalp.
Distinguishing The Difference:
- Dandruff is a mixture of sebum, sweat, bacteria and scalp tissue. It is ALWAYS yellow or orange colored due to the sebum and sweat.
- Dandruff flakes out of the hair or sticks to the scalp. This is known as honeycomb dandruff. It usually appears in large areas of the scalp at a time, and is distinctly different than dry scalp when you see them side by side.
- Dry scalp is an overshedding of dead and dehydrated skin cells on the scalp caused by itching, scratching, over combing and severe hydration of the sebaceous glands. This shedding is of a white color. In fact, this white color is what you may see in the dandruff shampoo commercials.
- Dry scalp is the opposite of dandruff. Although, similar treatments can be used for both. Dry scalp is easier to battle and is usually attributed to bad products being used.
- Keep your hair CLEAN. People who do not keep their hair clean and washed are more susceptible to dandruff. This is due to bacteria that sits on the scalp too long mixes with the sebum.
- Stay clear from harsh products. People who have overactive sebaceous glands need to avoid using any product that can cause waxy buildup: hair greases (petroleum and mineral based), balms and oily styling products. People with this situation need to wash hair every other day to keep it free from bacteria. Look for shampoos with Tea Tree Oil in it or add Tea Tree Essential Oil to your shampoo.
- Scratching and Digging into scalp. Try not to scrape, dig or claw at your scalp or at dry patches on your scalp...this can let bacteria in. It also causes more aggravation of dry scalp and can spread dandruff.
- Do Not Share Combs: Just as it was mentioned earlier, dandruff is contagious, so keep your hair toys to yourself and do not share others.
- Keep your scalp moisturized. Use natural moisturizers and oils. Be sure to condition. Ahemmm.. for those of you who do not feel the need to use a conditioner. Even the most professional shampoos are drying, so you need a good conditioner to restore moisture back into your hair. Deep conditioners are excellent for doing this. Adding carrier oils and essential oil to your conditioner or deep conditioner is an excellent way to add even more moisture and prevent the trespass of bacteria.
O'Natural Ways To Prevent Dandruff:
- Hot Oils: Massaging with hot oils (extra virgin coconut and olive oil) help to rid the scalp of flakes. Just heat up some oils, you may add some essential oils as well (peppermint, tea tree, rosemary, lavender), leave the solution on for 30-40 minutes. This is a wonderful treatment that can be used weekly.
- Become a Henna Head: Henna is a natural product that, in addition to providing extreme moisture, helps to control dandruff infections. Please be sure to use good quality henna, jamila henna is one..if you are relaxed, be sure to use BAQ (Body Art Quality) Henna.
- Wash..Wash..Wash: Washing never harms the hair. It is the use of harsh shampoos that does. The hair should be kept scrupulously clean, and this is done by washing at least twice per week. When dandruff is concerned, be sure to keep combs, brushes, pillowcases ad towels clean, because there are chances of re infestation.