Do you notice those embarrassing flakes on your shoulder often? Have you had an itchy scalp for some time now? If you answered any of those questions with a ‘yes’, then there’s a good chance that you have diagnosed your hair with dandruff already.
But before we go on to explore that possibility, it’s probably a good idea for you to consider the possibility of having a dry scalp as well. For starters, dry scalp is when the skin on your scalp loses its moisture. This is paired with a feeling of tightness around your head and an itchy, flaky scalp.
But lets for a moment, without judging your scalp or diagnosing it, try to understand what dandruff even means.
What Is Dandruff?
A particular type of microbe called Malassezia globosa lives on your scalp. Don’t freak out just yet. This microbe, or you can say a type of fungus, is present on most adult scalps, and usually in peaceful co-existence.
Now, your scalp produces a naturally occurring oily substance known as sebum. This is what keeps your hair and scalp moisturized. The thing about Malassezia globosa is that it feeds on this sebum, which leads to the sebum being broken down.
Doesn’t sound like much so far, does it? Well, the broken-down sebum then goes on to produce a byproduct called oleic acid. About 50% of the people in the world are sensitive to this oleic acid and we know this because their scalp responds by becoming irritated. This is followed by the brain sending a signal to your scalp skin cells, signaling them to shed faster than usual. And, ladies and gentlemen, it is this shedding that causes visible flakes to appear on your scalp and fall on to your shoulders!
When this happens, you have what is usually referred to as dandruff symptoms. But as mentioned above, don’t just diagnose dandruff yourself. Think about the whole ‘dandruff vs dry scalp’ angle and analyze what it is that your scalp is exactly going through.
How To Recognize If It’s Dandruff?
Now that we know what hair dandruff means, it gives a whole new dimension to the ‘dandruff vs dry scalp’ debate, doesn’t it? Let’s get into dandruff symptoms and learn what are the signs for recognizing dandruff.
Yes, we know that this is a tad bit obvious. But it is also a salient feature of hair dandruff. Those powder-like flakes that appear in your hair and your shoulders are, without a doubt, one of the top signs of dandruff.
Your scalp can get itchy because of a lot of different reasons. So, if the itch is what you are feeling, don’t jump to the conclusion that you have dandruff. But at the same time, it is important to know that this is one of the most dominant dandruff symptoms there is.
When you give in to the itch and the irritation, there is one other thing you might encounter and that is scalp redness and sensitivity. It is to be noted here that this redness can occur before dandruff happens as well. So, it can also be a warning sign.
Because dandruff manages to damage your skin quite a bit, it leads to a moisture leak wherein your scalp skin becomes devoid of moisture. Now, we do realize that this is the place where you feel the most tempted to diagnose yourself with hair dandruff. But it is important to be mindful of that and possibly get professional advice as well.
What causes dandruff?
It is only when we get to the bottom of this and understand the reasons for dandruff that we can deal with it. At least, that is the general approach we take towards any condition. But here’s the twist in the story.
As mentioned above, dandruff is a condition caused because of a person’s sensitivity towards oleic acid. This means that it is a naturally occurring condition that you can’t do much about. So, rather than focusing on what causes dandruff, let’s talk about what can make this condition worse.
It’s strange how most causes of any condition root from this culprit, which is essentially a state of the mind. But the truth remains that stress has a knack for making dandruff worse. Moreover, if you are already prone to dandruff, then you are even more likely to trigger it just by taking stress.
Dry air, whether hot or cold, can dry out your scalp. It is important to note here that this might just be your good old dry scalp. But if you are someone who is already allergic to oleic acid, the weather might just aggravate your condition. And well, then it’s just, ‘Say hello to dandruff problems’!
Among the most unlikely reasons for dandruff, hair accessories can actually have quite an impact on the health of your scalp. To elaborate, wearing headscarves or hats gives Malassezia globosa a microclimate for survival and thriving. So, you might want to be careful about what you wear on your head.
Needless to say, being in contact with pollutant-infused air or water can undoubtedly exacerbate your problem. In fact, pollution tops the list of reasons for dandruff. Having said that, it is important that you take good care of your hair and actually pay attention to your scalp.
Finally, it is important to note that dandruff is not the end of the world and while it is going to reoccur, there is a way to keep it at bay. Try going for hair products that are anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Now, while it is not the fungus itself that causes that horrifying dandruff, using a shampoo that counters the fungus does help by slowing the production of the excess skin cells, thereby putting a halt on to those flakes.
Head & Shoulders shampoos contain Zinc Pyrithione, which is primarily an anti-fungal ingredient. Moreover, we have also come out with the Head & Shoulders 2-in-1 product range containing, both shampoo & conditioner. So, make a wise decision and stay a few steps ahead of that evil dandruff! We hope you have great scalp days more often than not!