You shampoo, condition and mask with aplomb, your hair colour is always on point and your hairstylist dubs you buffy the split end slayer for your dedication to the healthy hair cause.
And yet, suddenly and inexplicably you find yourself having transformed into a human snowglobe every time you move. Worse still, unlike other beauty maladies such as zits or greasy hair, dandruff isn’t something that can be covered with a dab of concealer or a spritz of dry shampoo and unless you decide to bring the shoulder brush dance move back into every aspect of your life, those tell-tale flakes are destined to give you away.
So why am I getting dandruff?
“Skin cells on our scalp (just like the rest of our body) are constantly being replaced and shed. This is part of normal cell turnover and usually isn’t noticeable. However, it can become apparent if skin cells begin to divide too rapidly – and this is what occurs with dandruff,” says Anabel Kingsley, Trichologist at Philip Kingsley.
Indeed, according to Dr Rolanda Wilkerson, Principal Scientist at Head & Shoulders, 50% of us are genetically predisposed to having scalp issues like dandruff and when the susceptibility is present, flaking can show up in varying degrees although she notes that other warning signs such as dryness, redness and itching tend to appear before the flakes do. Rather than just being irritating, an unhealthy scalp ultimately produces unhealthy hair warns Dr Rolanda because the hair grows through damaged with uplifted cuticles. Even more terrifyingly a flaky scalp has actually been proven to cause hair loss too warns Anabel which means tackling the problem pronto. How? We get to the root of the issue:
For those who haven’t experienced the familiar shoulder sprinkle before, finding out you suddenly have dandruff can feel a little confusing. “The trigger is an overgrowth of a certain yeast naturally found on the scalp, called malassezia furfur,” explains Anabel.
“Natural skin secretions, such as sweat and sebum usually protect the scalp and keep these levels in check. However, metabolic shifts such as hormonal changes and stress, can disrupt skin secretions allowing malassezia furfur to thrive.” And as the scalp tries to shed this irritant along with skin cells, in just a few days a dandruff sufferer can produce as many new cells as a healthy scalp produces in a month adds Dr Rolanda. Alongside stress, Anabel notes that diet can play an important part in suddenly noticing more flakes with the most common culprits being full fat dairy products, white wine and champagne.
How to get rid of dandruff
“The best approach is a consistent and daily one,” advises Anabel. “At our Clinics in London and New York we find that daily use of a soothing, antimicrobial shampoo and a targeted post-shampoo scalp toner is the fastest way to clear dandruff.
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