What causes dandruff?
“Dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis, is not a fungal infection, but your body’s inflammatory response to the presence of a yeast-like fungus, called malassezia globosa that naturally occurs on our scalp,” says Dr. Rodney. “Specific skin types, like oily skin or dry skin, are more likely to get dandruff. Another leading cause is scalp and hair product sensitivity. Lastly, flaky scalp may also be due to other inflammatory skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.” Twine also notes that “seasonal changes and hormonal shifts can also cause dandruff.”
What ingredients should consumers look for in a dandruff shampoo and how do they work?
Dr. Rodney recommends looking for shampoos with pyithione zinc, coal tar, salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, and ketoconazole, which all work to fight dandruff and flaking. “The key to effective dandruff treatment is to find the right combination of ingredients that are strong enough to treat the underlying scalp issues (e.g., oiliness, buildup, congestion) without causing irritation, sensitivity, or dehydration to the scalp,” says Twine.
How should I apply an anti-dandruff shampoo?
“Try to leave the medicated shampoo on your scalp for about 15 minutes before rinsing off. These medicated shampoos can be drying to your hair, and may lead to hair breakage, so try to apply them only to your scalp; not the full length of your hair. After rinsing, you can wash your hair again with your regular shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner,” recommends Dr. Rodney.
What at-home remedies treat dandruff?
Dr. Rodney says tea tree oil, coconut oil, and aloe vera can be applied to the scalp before washing to treat dandruff. Apple cider vinegar can also be used as a treatment by diluting with water and leaving on the scalp for 15 minutes. However, with any at-home remedy or new product, proceed with caution and listen to your scalp. To expand your dandruff treatment and keep your scalp healthy in all conditions, try spritzing the Dr. Hauschka Hair Tonic to the roots after each wash. “The Hair Tonic with herbs like neem, nettle, burdock, birch bark and arnica helps balance the condition of the scalp whether it is dry and flaky or oily or a combination of both,” says Batista.