Don’t be a Flake! How to Prevent or Treat Dandruff
It happens to all of us. You wake up, pull on that favorite black shirt, scratch your head to get the ol’ brain moving and you see a hint of white falling onto your shoulders. You see them powder your black shirt like fresh powdered snow in winter. I know what your thinking: “Oh no, DANDRUFF!” The bain of what had to be every commercial from the 90s. You then run through your personal inventory of what you’ve been told; how to treat it, shampoo (like Head and Shoulders), you stopped using alcohol-based gel, you use a blow dryer when you style, WHY DO I HAVE DANDRUFF?? Fret not, dear reader, chances are you don’t. What you might be experiencing is actually just dry skin. The skin on your scalp is no different than the rest of your body, so it stands to reason that it should be treated as such.
How to know if you have dandruff
Our skin is an amazing organ when you think about it. Not only is it the largest organ in the body, but it also keeps us cool and has the amazing ability to regenerate and heal! It constantly creates new skin cells and the old ones just fall off as we go through our daily lives. The skin on the scalp, as previously established, is no different from the rest of the body. Many of us have a dense layer of hair (some more than others). This type of hair often traps the old cells and they typically need some assistance in their journey. Many often mistake this for dandruff which is something very different.
Dandruff is a type of fungal infection; kind of like athlete’s foot. The skin can become dry, irritated, and flaky. To combat this, the skin’s natural defense would be to create more oil, which causes the flakes to sometimes stick to the hairs and keep the skin from drying completely, as it needs to. You can tell if you have dandruff, by lightly wetting your hair. If you smell a mildew scent, yup, you’ve got dandruff! This is where products such as Head and Shoulders come into play. However, there is no scent then it’s more likely that your powdery shoulders are thanks to just plain old dryness.
How to prevent or treat dandruff
Step 1 | Brush Your Hair Before Showering
So how do we prevent or treat dandruff? The answer is a lot easier than you think. Let’s start with before you jump in the shower. While the hair is DRY, grab a boar bristle brush, one with soft but firm bristles, and brush from the back of the head to the front, following the hairs’ natural growth pattern. This helps to fleck off the dead skin that’s been sitting on the scalp the whole time. You’ll see quite a bit of it, this is normal, so don’t panic. Use firm but short even strokes to make sure you’re getting as much of it off as you can. Also, make sure you’re getting all the way down to the scalp and not just combing the hair itself. After about 4-5 minutes of brushing, hop into the shower and shampoo as you normally do.
Step 2 | Use Conditioner and Ponder on Life
After you’ve shampooed, apply about a quarter-sized amount of conditioner to wet hair. If you do not use conditioner, time to start! What conditioner does is help to hydrate the scalp. This will help to prevent or treat dandruff further. Work it evenly through the hair and let it sit there for about 2 minutes to let it really soak in. While you’re there, maybe you can use this time to ponder on things you don’t often have time to. For instance, “why is the sky blue?” and “what is the meaning of life, the universe, or anything?”
Step 3 | Thoroughly Dry Hair
Finally, after you’ve rinsed off, and I assume you soaped up and washed off, (did you wash behind your ears?) Towel dry your hair thoroughly. If you use a blow dryer go ahead and style as you normally do. If not, just let the hair air dry, and DO NOT put a hat or scarf on. All that will do is trap the water sitting on the scalp and hair to absorb the water back into the skin and further dry it out. Follow this and practice for about 2-3 weeks every time you shower and you’ll start to see some results in the form of your hair looking less like a ski slope. Good luck!
-Written by our very own COVINA BARBER TIM DREW