Very annoying when you are dealing with it: dandruff and (itchy) dry scalp. Opposed to what people usually think, it has nothing to do with a lack of hygiene and it is not a contagious “disease”. On the contrary being too hygienic, too much hairwashes and the use of the wrong hair products may lead to an irritated scalp resulting in dandruff. When you shampoo too often, your scalp can get so dry that it ends up being flaky. Subjecting your hair and scalp continuously to harsh hair treatments, too much heat and harsh combing isn’t at all what you need to do to avoid or treat dandruff.
Dandruff can also be caused by an inflammatory reaction in the scalp or because of certain yeasts such as malassezia or pityrosporum. If it is the result of inflammation numerous causes could be the culprit. Often the answer lies in your lifestyle choices: lack of food rich in the right nutrients with inflammatory properties or a lack of daily activity resulting in stress. When the cause is a yeast infection this could also be the result of an inability of the body to fight inflammation or to keep a healthy balance in the body so that yeast infections have free play. When you can not determine the cause yourself it is always best to go to a dermatologist to have a medical check-up. Once the cause has been found, you can then go find a natural treatment method that can gently treat the problem or go with your doctor’s advice when in your case this is not advisable from a medical point of view. Unfortunately lifestyle is still something that a lot of doctors see as a last resort, while it should be a first step to achieve and maintain optimal health.
Usually when dealing with dandruff one chooses to treat it with medical shampoos or a treatment containing ketoconazol, seleniumsulfide, zincpyrithion of corticosteroids. These products can ease the ailment quite quickly at first, but after treatment the problem often comes back even worse then before and these ingredients also have a tendency to make your hair very dry and stiff. It is better to start with a natural treatment and to treat the underlying health issues that cause the problem.
Nowadays you can find a lot of over-the-counter natural products to treat dandruff and a flaky scalp. A lot of those use an essential oil called Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia) as their main ingredient. The French brand René Furterer has excellent shampoos for the treatment of dry and greasy flakes. They have worked wonders for both me and my 11 year old daughter and I have advised them with success to a lot of my friends. Sometimes a flaky scalp is due to an irritated, dry scalp because of overwashing, too much sun, too much heat from styling, hurting the skin with a bad brush or styling tools or a lack of sebum production. This can best be treated with natural oils like jojoba, coconut or almond oil which you can spruce up with a little bit of essential oil like lavender, tea tree oil, mint or rosemary too sooth the dry and itchy feeling.
The ingredient “neem” is a very helpful ally also and is used in Dr.Haushka’s Neem Oil” and “Neem tonic.
To relieve a dry and itchy scalp cutting down on the number of washes a week and avoiding shampoos that contain sulphates can also help a big deal.
Often lice treatment can also induce an itchy scalp as I have found out a couple of times when our family had to undergo lice treatment because of a lice infestation at school. So we have switched to natural treatments in stead of the chemical treatments.
Using a poor quality hairbrush
When you brush your hair with a harsh, low quality plastic hairbrush chances may be that it damages the precious skin on your head. When you have skin damage on your scalp this is detrimental for growing healthy hair. Invest in a natural handmade wooden boar bristle hairbrush crafted with love like those from Delphin & Emerence. Your hair and scalp will thank you.
Dandruff and an itchy scalp can be caused by stress of your nutritional behaviour. As long as you don’t treat and change your lifestyle you can buy 1000 shampoos and creams but you will never really get rid of the problem. Have a talk with a nutritionist (for example Haylie Pomroy) or a medical doctor specialised in nutrition, food supplements and orthomolecular food science. They can analyse your nutritional patterns and run the test needed to find the root of the problem.
A therapist or life coach can help you find more balance in your life and to lower your stress levels. Stress induces inflammatory processes in the body and this might be one of the causes of your dandruff problem. I can recommend my personal friends and mentors Sally Gray ND and Saskia Winkler.
Everyone who read my book "The complete guide to healthy hair. A 3 step program to heal your hair" and has been following my “hair journey” knows that I am very passionate about hair and the importance of brushing. I can’t stop talking about it, because I am so convinced of the power of brushing that I just have to share it with as many people as possible.