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What causes dandruff?

What causes dandruff?

Dandruff can be very irritating and frustrating! Let's talk about some easy options to help manage the condition. Before addressing dandruff, you’ll need to get clear on whether you have dandruff or dry scalp. They have the same main symptoms, but are two different conditions!

What is dry scalp?
Dry scalp is when your skin has too little moisture, and the skin on your scalp becomes irritated and flakes off. If your scalp is dry, the skin on other parts of your body, like your arms and legs, could be dry, too. 

Dry scalp can be triggered by factors like cold, dry air, reaction to products you apply to your scalp, like shampoo, styling gel, and hairspray, or older age.

If you suspect you have dry scalp, try using a gentle shampoo and then a moisturizing conditioner. A great way to tell whether you have dry scalp or dandruff is to apply a light moisturizer to your scalp before you go to bed. If you’re experiencing dry scalp, the flakes should disappear once you shower the next morning.

What is dandruff?
With dandruff, the main cause is seborrheic dermatitis, a condition that turns the skin oily, red, and scaly. Too much oil on the scalp, causes the skin cells to build up and then shed. One way to tell the difference between dry scalp and dandruff is by their appearance. Dandruff flakes are bigger and they look oily.

While dandruff isn’t curable, it is manageable. Treating dandruff with a special shampoo can manage the condition and prevent itching and flakiness.

Treatment Options
With everything, there’s a spectrum. If you’re experiencing severe dandruff it’s always best to see a dermatologist to get the best plan of action in getting relief. For mild dandruff, washing your hair every day with a gentle shampoo can reduce the amount of oil on your scalp. I always suggest trying a few different formulas to find one that works the best for you. 


Here are some tips to help prevent dandruff and dry scalp:

  • If you have dandruff, wash your hair often with an antidandruff shampoo. Make sure to thoroughly rinse out all the shampoo.
  • Avoid using hair products that contain harsh chemicals, like alcohol.
  • Avoid oily hair products that can build up on your scalp.
  • Spend a few minutes out in the sun every day.
  • Manage your stress with meditation, yoga, deep breathing and other relaxing techniques. 

I hope this information helps you get clear on what your experiencing and these tips start moving you in the right direction towards a healthy, happy scalp! 

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