We love flakes that snow in on us romantically during winter holidays. But when you have a dandruff blizzard falling on your shoulders this summer, you’d probably be far from being thrilled.
Common as this irritating scalp condition is, dandruff is often clouded with many misconceptions. Read on to get the vital facts right so you can shake the embarrassing flakes off effectively.
THE DANDRUFF STORY
The common dandruff is the result of an oily, inflamed scalp (seborrheic dermatitis) and a otherwise harmless yeast called Malassezia furfur that exists on nearly of us. Turns out this fungus loves the oil-secreting glands around hair follicles; grows wild in greasy conditions and causes irritation in sensitive individuals, who react with increased shedding of dead skin cells and flaking.
It’s not infectious or contagious, and it is not due to poor hygiene. Stress, fatigue, heavy alcohol intake and reduced general health may contribute to a flare-up too.
Seborrheic dermatitis can occur in other areas rich in oil glands as well – such as your eyebrows, the sides of the nose and the backs of your ears, over the breastbone, groin, and sometimes the armpits.
FIGHT THE FLAKES
If the skin on your face or limbs becomes scaly or itchy, your first instinct is probably to reach for a moisturiser. But when it comes to dandruff, not shampooing thoroughly for the fear of stripping away natural oils will only make the situation worse – build-up of sebum, dead skin cells and styling products can cause the accumulation of the micro-organisms and irritation of the scalp.
To clean out all that gunk and get rid of the dandruff, doctors usually recommend a medicated shampoo that contains contains ketoconazole (like Nizoral shampoo), selenium sulfide (like Selsun shampoo) or zinc to tame the trouble-making fungus.
The scientists at Kérastase has now taken a holistic approach with Bain Exfoliant’s new triple technology with micro-particules to fight the flakes from all angles at the root:
Bain Exfoliant comes in two formulas – Bain Exfoliant Purifiant (for oily hair) and Bain Exfoliant Hydratant (for those with drier, brittle hair, so that your tresses wouldn’t turn out like hay like with many dandruff shampoos). Both comes with a slim professional applicator tip to allow the treatment to be applied directly at the roots for maximal efficacy.
Use Bain Exfoliant or other medicated shampoos daily for about 2 weeks to ensure that the fungus and scalp inflammation is fully under control. Be sure to massage the shampoo into the scalp well and leave it on for at least 5 minutes to give the active ingredients sufficient time to get to work. Subsequently, cut back the treatment shampoo to 3 times a week when the dandruff dusting is resolved, alternating with a soothing shampoo like Bain Vital for 4 weeks to maintain a calm, healthy scalp and soft, supple strands.
STAY IN THE CLEAR
If you’re prone to dandruff due to a sensitive or oily scalp, it’s most likely that intermittent attacks will recur. You don’t have to toss your dark clothes in despair, or wait for flakes to make a comeback before treating them – when you can take preemptive action by optimising your scalp health to avoid flare-ups.
Just like our regular facial skincare regime of using a scrub once a week, it is also important to show our scalps some love by continuing the use of an exfoliating shampoo weekly to detoxify cellular debris, stop build-up of stubborn product residues and rebalance the skin.
Especially when you consider the styling products (many of which are less than friendly to the delicate head skin) you pile on daily, as well as other environmental or physical stresses it is exposed to silently under the hair jungle without you realising…until issues like dandruff, weakened strands, slow hair growth or premature hair loss occurs!
EAT FOR HEALTHY SCALP AND HAIR
To care for your scalp and mane from within, avoid excessive alcohol intake which can further stress sensitized scalps and sap nutrients from your body. Incorporate a variety of fruits and veggies that contain zinc and B vitamins (try beans, spinach, asparagus, broccoli), to help you keep the flakes at bay.
You might also want to consider taking a probiotic – “friendly” bacteria found in yogurt or available as a supplement – to combat the overgrowth of yeast (and improve your intestinal and urogenital health!).
NOT ALL FLAKY & ITCHY SCALPS ARE DANDRUFF
When a good dandruff shampoo ain’t cutting it after a week or two, there might be another culprit. Other more common causes of an inflamed scaly scalp include psoriasis or contact dermatitis (skin irritation and sensitivity after harsh chemicals or hair treatments). So see your doctor to diagnose your specific condition for the right remedy to treat it.
– By Michelle Wenli