Little white flakes might seem insignificant, but not to those who suffer from dandruff. An itchy, dry scalp can make you more than just uncomfortable, it can make you self-conscious. Nobody wants too see little white flecks in a person’s hair, not to mention the stigma of bad hygiene associated with dandruff. There are countless anti-dandruff shampoos and products out there, but the task of choosing the right one can be daunting. Keep reading for important information about what causes dandruff and how to treat it plus a product review on one of the top anti-dandruff shampoos in today’s market.
What Causes Dandruff?
The skin cells on your scalp are sticky. When your body produces too many of them, they clump together and shed in white flakes we call dandruff. Oftentimes, dandruff goes hand in hand with an itchy scalp. In addition, a fungus called malassezia may also be a cause of dandruff. Although lots of people have the malassezia fungus living on their scalps, the fungus is much more abundant on individuals with dandruff.
If you notice little specks in your hair, it may not be dandruff. So before you start thinking about treatment, let’s make sure you know what the problem is. Other factors that create white flakes on the scalp include:
- Dry scalp
- How to fix it: use a light moisturizer on itchy areas
- Buildup of products like gel and hairspray
- How to fix it: shampoo thoroughly and more often or try different products
- Use of minoxidil (an ingredient in Rogaine)
- How to fix it: shampoo more often or try a different product
- Seborrheic dermatitis
If the flakes in your see are white, thick, and heavy, you’re probably experiencing dandruff. In addition, those with dandruff will experience itching all over the scalp, not just in specific areas. Dandruff flakes are visible on the scalp, in the hair, and sometimes on the shoulders. If the flakes you see look translucent, the problem is probably due to a hair product you’re using. This type of flake will appear mainly in the hair, not so much on the scalp. If you’ve noticed flakes only after using a product containing minoxidil, you know where the problem lies. Flakes resulting from this medication are skin-colored, appear scaly, and occur only in areas where the medication has been applied.
There are several ingredients used to treat dandruff. Because fungus is living on the heads of those with dandruff, you can use an antifungal agent to treat the problem. An example is Nizoral, which contains the antifungal ingredient ketoconazole. Zinc pyrithione, another antifungal ingredient, kills two birds with one stone by also destroying bacteria.
Although it looks and smells unpleasant, coal tar is one of the best anti-dandruff ingredients. Coal tar extends the life of the skin cells on your scap, making them flake off less often. A similar ingredient, selenium sulfide, works similarly but doesn’t have a nasty smell.
Salicylic acid, found in many beauty products, exfoliates the scalp and helps to clear the area of dead skin cells. In addition, salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent, making it a superstar amongst anti-dandruff ingredients. Salicylic acid is more commonly known as beta hydroxy acid (BHA).
There are several “do’s and don’ts” for those with dandruff. Adhere to the following advice when using any shampoo:
When shampooing your hair, make sure to massage. Do not scratch! When you scratch your head, you damage the skin and actually increase the amount of fungus living there. Leave the shampoo in your hair for a few minutes before washing it out. Make sure that you rinse all the shampoo out, because some of those dandruff-fighting ingredients can irritate the skin, causing even more itching.
Tip: If one medicated shampoo doesn’t work for you, try using two or three. Alternate each day and you might just find a solution. If you find that the anti-dandruff shampoos dry out your head, alternate days with a “normal” or hydrating shampoo.
If you’ve followed the above advice for a couple months and you haven’t seen any improvement, it might be time to visit a dermatologist. He or she can help determine the problem and recommend or prescribe a treatment plan.
Tip: Dandruff sufferers should never use oily or heavy conditioners. These products hold your skin cells tight to your scalp, increasing buildup. Even worse, adding oil to the scalp environment feeds the malassezia fungus and causes it spread. It’s also a good idea to stay away from heavily-fragranced hair products because they can further irritate your scalp.
Pure & Basic Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Pure & Basic’s anti-dandruff shampoo stands out from the competition in many ways. First off, it is paraben-free and sulfate-free. It has an impressive list of ingredients containing the above-mentioned salicylic acid (2%) along with organic botanicals and moisturizers. The two most important ingredients are rosemary and tea tree oil. Both are natural, dandruff-fighting ingredients that leave a light, pleasing scent in your hair. Because this is such a gentle shampoo, you can use it every day without fear of irritating your scalp. Pure & Basic is safe for use on colored hair.
Depending on where you purchase your shampoo, this product ranges from about $5.00 to $13.00. The most inexpensive deal I’ve found is on VitaCost.com.
Pure & Basic Anti-Dandruff Shampoo has a consistently high rating with users raving that this is one of the best anti-dandruff shampoos on the market. A few of the top comments are:
- This product is great for use on oily hair.
- Pure & Basic makes your hair feel squeaky clean.
- This shampoo leaves a pleasant scent in your hair.
- And of course: it gets rid of dandruff!
Pure & Basic also makes a conditioner to go along with the shampoo that contains most of the same ingredients and doubles the effectiveness of the anti-dandruff effect. We highly recommend that you use both products.
Pure & Basic’s shampoo and conditioner combo is a wonderful option for anyone suffering from dandruff, especially when compared to harsher products that irritate the scalp and leave a nasty scent behind. The last thing you need from an anti-dandruff shampoo is more irritation. Pure & Basic’s natural ingredients along with 2% BHA combine for a gentle yet effective weapon against dandruff. For the best chances at completely eliminating dandruff, find another shampoo and alternate days. If you’re also interested in how to fight against hair loss, click here.