How To Get Rid Of Dandruff & Restore Scalp Health For Good

How To Get Rid Of Dandruff & Restore Scalp Health For Good

When I went natural, I spent hours on YouTube trying to find the perfect regimen and best products to care for my hair. I wanted my 'fro to be soft, long, and luscious. I washed my hair with a peppermint oil-infused shampoo and massaged my scalp nightly with an oil to stimulate hair growth. It worked. My hair grew long, and I loved it until I opted for a shorter style.

When I realized I could wash, condition, and style my hair in less than 30 minutes, I got lazier with my routine. Over time, I stopped massaging my scalp, removed oil from my routine, and shampooed my hair less. I stopped focusing on the health of my hair because I wasn't concerned about the length. If something went wrong, I told myself I would just cut my hair shorter and start over.

That was the wrong approach.

While my hair looked good, there were times I scratched my scalp until it was tender. I shampooed my hair more often to fix the issue, but it was only a temporary solution that probably made the itching worse. A healthy head of hair starts at the roots, and I was neglecting mine.

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Our scalp contains around 100,000 hair follicles that produce sebum or oil to keep it moisturized. This sebum also helps shield the skin from infection and allows hairs to grow. When the organisms that dwell on the scalp are out of balance, it can lead to breakage, thinning, and hair loss.

An itchy scalp is one of the most common signs of an unhealthy scalp. If you find yourself constantly scratching your head, it could mean that your scalp is dry or irritated. An itchy scalp may also be a sign of dandruff, a condition that causes the dead skin on your scalp to flake off. Dandruff isn't a sign that your hair is dirty. Taking care of the skin on your scalp and your hair can require different products. While dandruff can be uncomfortable to experience, it is a common skin issue.

Stubborn dandruff that is difficult to get rid of can be a sign of several scalp-related issues, such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. If you are experiencing dandruff with one or more of the following symptoms, it may be time for you to see a dermatologist and receive medical treatment:

Redness or inflammation: If you notice that your scalp is red or swollen, it could be a sign of irritation or infection. Bacteria or fungi often cause scalp infections, which can be painful and uncomfortable. Skin infections can not be treated and healed on their own. Most require medical treatment.

Greasy scales: If you notice greasy scales on your scalp, it could be a sign of Seborrheic Dermatitis, a chronic form of eczema that can last for years. It can also cause the skin to become flaky and white or yellow. It can also result in oily skin all over the body. While this condition is more common in men and adults ages 30 - 60, BIPOC people are likely to have a severe form of the disease called Petaloid Seborrheic Dermatitis.

Oily scalp: If you find that your hair is greasy or oily, it could be a sign that your sebaceous glands are overactive. An oily scalp can also lead to hair loss, as the oil can clog the pores on your scalp and prevent new hair from growing.

Hair loss: This is another sign that your scalp may be unhealthy. Several factors, including genetics, hormonal imbalances, medications, and infections, can cause hair loss.

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How to Get Rid of Dandruff

Once you speak with your doctor and they've ruled out any underlying medical conditions, there are a few steps you can take to manage your dandruff and restore your scalp health. Remember that everyone's combination of hair type and scalp could require a different approach, so don't hesitate to speak with your doctor about what might work for you before resorting to store-bought products that could damage or make the problem worse.

1. Avoid harsh chemicals.

This includes chemicals that you may use on your hair, such as shampoo and conditioner, and those that you may be exposed to in your environment, such as cleaning products or pollutants. When choosing haircare products, look for ones designed for dry and sensitive scalps, and avoid those containing sulfates, fragrances, or other harsh ingredients.

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​2. Keep your scalp clean.

For women with natural hair, moisture and conditioner are staples in our regimens, but shampoo is important too. Shampooing regularly with a gentle shampoo and avoiding hairstyles that can trap dirt and oil on the scalp helps maintain hair health. Shampoos with pyrithione zinc, selenium sulfide, and salicylic acid contain antifungal properties and help exfoliate the scalp. Just be sure to rinse your hair thoroughly after shampooing to remove all traces of soap and residue.

​3. Moisturize your scalp.

The scalp is skin that needs moisturizing too. Products such as leave-in conditioners, oils, and serums keep our scalps hydrated, especially during the old weather months. While there are many options to choose from on the market, several shampoos and conditioners have also been designed to moisturize the scalp.

​4. Avoid hot showers.

Long hot showers may feel good on the skin, but they can damage your scalp. The heat from the water can strip away natural oils, leaving your scalp feeling dry and irritated. If you wash your hair in the shower, use lukewarm water when showering or rinse your hair with cold water.

​5. Protect your scalp from the sun.

Just like the rest of your skin, your scalp can be damaged by exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. To protect your scalp, wear a hat or scarf when spending time outdoors, and consider using sunscreen specifically designed for the scalp.

A healthy scalp is the foundation of any good haircare routine. Following the tips we've shared can keep your scalp clean and promote healthy hair growth. If you're experiencing dandruff, the most important thing is to figure out what's causing it in the first place – once you know that, you can take steps to fix the issue. If you’ve been chaining your routine and don’t see the results you’re hoping for, don’t hesitate to see a dermatologist. Your hair will thank you for it.

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