6 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dandruff

Noticed a dryer scalp and more flakes throughout the cold weather? Here's why, and how to sort it.

1. Loads of people have it

Dandruff is essentially when your scalp forms scales and flakes, and according to Better Health, around 50% of the population suffer from it and its other symptoms, such as dryness and itchiness. It's not a contagious condition, just an annoying one. *Eye roll*

2. Alternating temperatures can cause flaky dramas

Apparently changes in temperature (STUFF YOU, WINTER) can heighten the dryness of your scalp. "Very hot or very cold temperatures can make a dry scalp seem worse," explains Dermatologist, Dr. Ilyse LefKowicz. That can mean going from a really icy temperature outside, to walking into a warm room with heating. You should also think about how you wash your hair as well. Dr. LefKowicz suggests turning down your water temperature so that it's not too hot for your scalp, as well as not being too vigorous when towel drying your hair. This will help save your scalp from getting over-exposed to high temperatures and minimise the effects of a dry, itchy and flaky scalp.

3. Your straightener could also be causing your flakes

If you've got a dry scalp and you use hot styling tools on the reg, then this could actually be a trigger for itchiness and flakes.

"It's common to experience a dry scalp and hair if you're overusing hot styling tools or washing your hair with a shampoo or conditioner that might not be right for your hair type. A dry and itchy scalp often leads to dandruff or flakes, so to combat this I always recommend using an anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner," explains Dr LefKowicz. "Thankfully there are also good-quality anti-dandruff products out there that can help to address hair that's feeling dry and damaged as well."

4. You don't need to sacrifice UH-MAZING hair

Most people believe that anti-dandruff shampoos are only good for keeping flakes at bay and that they leave the rest of your hair feeling dry and frizzy (two other major hair issues). The good news? Well, according to Dr. LefKowicz, you don't actually need to make these compromises. "A very common misconception about anti-dandruff shampoos is that they're harsh on hair. But nowadays there's definitely an available selection of good-quality products that are effective at combatting flakes, and also contain rich moisturisers to leave hair silky smooth and soft," says Dr. LefKowicz. "So whether you suffer from dryness or itch, you have fine hair or a colour you wish would last the distance, there are definitely anti-dandruff options out there that deliver both superior flake-free protection and a result of healthy, shiny, beautiful-looking hair."

We can personally vouch for the head and shoulders Smooth and Silky range. Its rich and intensive moisturisers help to soften and restore my hair on days when it's feeling dry and frizzy; leaving it feeling shiny and flake-free! Awesome, right? *Hand praise emoji*

5. Your age, gender, skin type and diet can all influence flakes

Flakes can generally begin to appear during young adulthood, but having oily skin can also predispose you to having an oily scalp. So if you're at a point in your life when your hormones are shooting through the roof (read: the fun time that is puberty or being pregnant), then it's more likely you'll begin to experience heightened symptoms of dandruff.

6. Commitment is key when it comes to treating flakes

Be warned: don't be tempted to switch shampoos when flakes disappear, because the great results can literally be washed away. Take some advice from Dr. LefKowicz: "When ordinary beauty shampoos or conditioners are used after anti-dandruff products, or when switching back-and-forth between the two, dandruff-fighting ingredients can be washed away. For best results, finish every wash with anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners. This will ensure that the maximum amount of active, anti-dandruff ingredients will remain in place after rinsing."


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