Why You Suddenly Have Dandruff (and How to Fix It)
Dandruff is tough, especially when you’re dressed in a chic black outfit and there are white flakes dotting your shoulders and back. So what can you do about it? There are tons over-the-counter treatments and shampoos to help remedy your scalp situation—but first, you’ll have to figure out what’s causing the snowfall.
If your flakes are caused by an oily, irritated scalp (what dermatologists refer to as “seborrheic dermatitis”), try a shampoo with zinc pyrithione. It’s an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in most flake-fighting formulas. Right now, we like L’Occitane’s Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, a silicon-free cleanser that relieves itching, calms the scalp, reduces flaking, and prevents dandruff from recurring.
Another alternative? A shampoo laced with peppermint or menthol extracts, which not only cool your scalp instantly, but also deliver an antibacterial treatment. Check out the Scalp Care Deep Cleansing Shampoo by Korean import Kerasys. Formulated with climbazole, sodium salicylate, and black coral, this shampoo soothes the itchies n’ scratchies, curtails dandruff production, and mops up an excessively oily scalp.
Did you know that a dehydrated scalp is one of the most common causes of dandruff? So if you happen to notice dry, coarse patches all over your arms and legs, your scalp is probably going to be equally affected (and vice versa!). For deep-down-and-decadent moisturization, try Aveeno’s Nourish + Dandruff Control Shampoo.
This formula contains crime-fighting pyrithione zinc and a combination of oat peptide and oat extract, giving you a super-nourished scalp (and super-soft hair, to boot).
MALASSEZIA, THE MYSTERIOUS FUNGUS
Malassezia is a yeast-like fungal infection that lives on everybody’s scalp (believe it or not!). Normally, malassezia causes no problems. But for some people, it irritates the scalp, which sparks the production of excess skin cells that fall to their demise in the form of dandruff. Got this? Our number one reco is a household name: Head & Shoulders.
Why? This baby boasts of a dual zinc action formula that fights fungal and bacterial infections while maintaining scalp moisture. We like the Apple Fresh version best for its fruity, feminine fragrance.
For some, dandruff is simply tantamount to product buildup. This residue unfortunately flakes off whenever you brush your hair, scratch your head, and so on and so forth. To clear out the riffraff, you’ll want a clarifying scalp treatment, like Davines’ Purifying Gel.
It helps soothe dryness and itching, reduces scalp exfoliation, and wipes out residue with an antifungal/antibacterial formula.
Know what else can cause a brief spell of dandruff? Exposure to extreme heat. When the weather takes a turn for the sizzling, your scalp either gets really oily, really dry, or both! In that case, a gentle, all-natural remedy should address this temporary blip in your hair history.
Zenutrients’ Tea Tree Scalp Care Shampoo is made with organic tea tree tea tree extracts that are both antifungal and antibacterial, while Hana’s chemical-free Shokubutsu Anti-Dandruff Shampoo (below) removes dandruff flakes, pollutants, and irritation caused by UV rays.
A FINAL, FLAKE-FIGHTING TIP
When applying your anti-dandruff shampoo, make sure it stays on your scalp for a few minutes before you wash it off. This will give the active ingredient enough time to do its magic. If you’re still suffering from dandruff after several weeks of using over-the-counter treatments, well, it’s high time to see your dermatologist.
Photo of Angel Locsin: Head & Shoulders