What is dandruff?
Dandruff refers to small flakes of dead skin that appear on the scalp and in the hair. This is often accompanied by itching, dryness and redness on the surface of the skin making it quite an uncomfortable problem. These flakes can drift onto our clothes as we go about our day-to-day lives so it’s also a fairly visible problem that people can, understandably, be quite self-conscious about.
What causes dandruff?
In order to maintain healthy skin the human body constantly sheds old skin cells and replaces them with new ones. However, occasionally this process of skin renewal speeds up and this leads to the build-up of dead skin cells on the scalp and hair, otherwise known as dandruff.
However, dandruff is also an attempt by the body to eliminate toxins that haven’t been removed through the more usual channels such as sweat and urine – lovely!
That being said, allergies, psoriasis, stress, eczema and cold weather are just a few examples of other things that can contribute to dandruff as well.
Many people assume that because dandruff is visible, it can easily be passed on to another person however, let me clear up the confusion - dandruff is definitely not contagious! Also, dandruff has nothing to do with how clean or unclean your hair is either (though the flakes may be more visible in unwashed hair).
What’s the best shampoo for dandruff?
An anti-dandruff shampoo is usually the first port of call for those with dandruff because this stuff is so readily available. However, with so many products on the market it can be difficult to find the best one so here at Jan de Vries, we thought we’d help you out.
Many popular anti-dandruff shampoos contain harsh ingredients like alcohol that strip the hair and scalp of its natural oils. Although this is intended to help address the problem of dandruff, it can actually contribute to a dry scalp. So, you might get one problem under control only to be faced with another!
Instead of opting for a product like this, something more natural would be more beneficial for your hair and scalp. Dr Hauschka for example, does a lovely Revitalising Hair and Scalp Tonic which is 100% natural.
This contains a host of beneficial ingredients like neem leaf, arnica, rosemary (and much, much more) which together soothe and hydrate the scalp thus helping to reduce dandruff. That’s not all though, all these ingredients improve the health of the hair leaving it smooth and shiny!
Tackling dandruff the natural way
Although anti-dandruff shampoos are probably the most popular choice when it comes to addressing this common problem, they are by no means the only solution. Below I’ve listed a few simple and natural tips to tackle dandruff!
From detangling to styling, coconut oil can be used for a variety of purposes however, it’s also beneficial if you have dandruff. That’s because coconut oil acts as a moisturiser for your skin and hair, plus it has natural anti-inflammatory properties.
To try this anti-dandruff solution out for yourself I’d recommend you have a look at my blog on how to apply coconut oil to your hair. Following that you’ll need a suitable product which is where Coconut Merchant comes in. Their Organic Raw Extra Coconut Oil is cold-pressed meaning the coconut retains its natural goodness, plus there are no other added ingredients.
Here at Jan de Vries we have countless blogs on the topic of argan oil (we just love it that much!) and this includes one titled ‘Can argan oil be applied to the scalp?’ As my colleague Gill explains, argan oil is bursting with antioxidants and vitamin E which work to reduce inflammation and dryness. This, as well as the fact argan oil is a natural moisturiser, makes it ideal for tackling dandruff!
If you are wonder where to find Argan Oil then look no further than John Masters who do a lovely natural one with no added ingredients or chemicals.
The thick liquid found inside the aloe vera plant may help to sooth and moisturise the scalp thus reducing itching and dandruff. For this reason Green People’s Aloe Vera Daily Shampoo is a particular favourite here at Jan de Vries. This is not only gives you a natural hair care option, the benefits of which I’ve already discussed, but it also contains a gentle, non-irritating formula that can be used by those prone to skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
This one’s a little more unusual but if you’re searching for solutions to get rid of dandruff, apple cider may just be worth a go.
Just add 2-4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to an empty 500ml bottle then top up with cool water and add a few drops of your favourite essential oil.
After you’ve rinsed the shampoo from your hair, simply pour the whole bottle over your scalp, letting it run through the lengths of your hair. Leave this on for 1-2 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
Lifestyle tips for tackling dandruff
Regular aerobic exercise (this doesn’t have to be anything extreme – walking in fresh air is fine) and skin brushing will all help to lessen the signs of dandruff. However, a gentle head massage will also help to improve lood flow to the head which aids the removal of toxins via the bloodstream.
On top of this, there's also good reason to avoid having too many refined carbs in your diet if you suffer from dandruff. These feed on unfriendly bacteria and thereby promote both poor digestion and fungal ingestation of the hair follicles which can be another factor in dandruff. Also, avoiding the likes of refined sugar, white flour and pasta and rice, alcohol and foods with a high yeast content could prove helpful, as would prebiotic foods and probiotics.