Dandruff is the small white specs you find in your hair and scalp. They are dead and dry skin cells and are a common occurrence for most people. Although it is not a significant health concern, nor is it contagious, dandruff can be irritating, hard to manage and can also heavily damage your self-esteem should it be noticeable.

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Before we can go about resolving our dandruff issues, we have to understand the reasons for what causes dandruff and why we get it.

So What Causes Dandruff?

What Causes Dandruff

1. Poor Hygiene

If you aren’t washing your hair correctly or as much as you should be, this can lead to a dirty scalp and hair. The oily sebum secreted by the scalp can cause itchiness. This is when dead skin cells start to flake. It is why it’s important to shampoo and condition regularly.

2. Dehydrated Scalp

Due to the hot weather of the UAE all year round, it’s easier for the skin and body to be drier in general. This can cause skin cells to dry out and shed, while pushing the scalp to produce more oil, in turn making your hair dirtier quickly.

3. Skin Conditions

Certain skin conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis may be the cause of dandruff and other hair concerns. This particular skin condition is associated with increased growth of yeast in the skin, which causes dandruff. Contact dermatitis is a similar skin condition; however, it is associated with allergic reactions to surfaces and external variables that cause a response to the skin.

4. Eczema

Dandruff can also be the result of eczema. This is a condition where not only your scalp will become inflamed, but also other parts of your skin. In the UAE, eczema is quite common in young people and adults. However, UAE based medical facilities have an abundance of resources to treat them. This type of reaction needs proper treatment and may also require a prescription antibiotic from a medical professional.

How to Prevent or Get Rid of Dandruff

What Causes Dandruff

1. Improve Your Diet

By eating healthy foods that can benefit the skin such as Vitamins A and C, Fiber and minerals, your skin overall skin can significantly improve. Having a diet rich with nutrients will provide your scalp, hair and whole body with the resources it needs to stay in its best condition.

According to Dermatologist Dr Alexiades-Armenakas, “High carb foods may spike glycogen levels in the skin that will feed on yeast.” So by cutting down your carbohydrate intake, the amount of dandruff your scalp produces can decrease.

2. Stay Hydrated

The most important way to keep your skin healthy and to protect it from the strain of the hot and dry weather of the Middle East is to keep it hydrated. It means drinking enough water and fluids. Enough fluid consumption will help keep skin feeling elastic, durable and supple.

It will also keep your scalp and hair follicles nourished in the long term and preventing it from shedding dead skin cells on the scalp and inflammation from bacteria that is accumulated by your hair.

3. Wash the Hair Properly

By following the above dietary steps, you can well prevent dandruff from occurring; however, to take extra precaution, make sure you’re washing your hair properly. Using high-quality shampoo and conditioner for your hair can maintain its health, cleanliness and aesthetic appeal.

If you already have dandruff, there are shampoos available to help you get rid of them. For some people shampooing once a day helps. For others, 2 or 3 times a week is ideal.

4. Exfoliate the Scalp

Just like shampooing, this is something that can be applied in your shower routine. Exfoliating your hair follicles and scalp will help to remove the dirt, grime, and oil that is building up in the root of your hair. Scalp exfoliation will remove dead skin cells in your hair. This treatment can be done whenever you feel your hair is becoming oily dirty, or itchy.

5. Don’t Touch the Dandruff

When you have dandruff in your hair, it’s very tempting to scratch them off. Especially when your hair is irritating, itching and bothering you. By touching and scratching your hair and scalp, you’re transferring bacteria from your hands and into your hair.

If you have long or sharp nails, you may even scratch to deeply into the skin and cause a scratch or wound and trigger further inflammation. The best thing to do is to wash and shampoo your hair at the nearest opportunity.

Dandruff is never a serious health complication and is not concerning enough to be brought to the attention of a doctor. However, dandruff may be a symptom of a more serious health concern such as dehydration or head lice. In these instances, it would be recommended to seek medical attention.

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.