In a previous article, we covered that shampooing your hair too often can lead to very dry, parched strands or a very oily scalp (stripping of the natural oils lead to overproduction). Now, we will take a deep dive in all things dandruff and the dreaded dry scalp. Don't be confused - these are two different conditions, but both produce similar symptoms! Both produce flakes and are often accompanied by an itchy scalp.
WHAT CAUSES DANDRUFF:
Dandruff occurs when too much oil builds up on the scalp and skin cells regenerate too quickly. The skin cells pile up and then they shed. The most common causes of dandruff are:
Aging, Dermatitis, Malassezia globosa*, Hormones, or Stress
(*Malassezia globosa is a fungus and is a natural inhabitant on our scalps. For unknown reasons, sometimes the body reacts negatively to this microbe. To protect itself from the fungus, the scalp overproduces skin cells as a defense mechanism – causing dandruff.)
WHAT CAUSES DRY SCALP:
Dry scalp is exactly what it sounds like - the scalp is so dry that the skin cells fall off and can be seen as flakes falling off the scalp. Dry scalp can be caused by:
Aging, Contact Dermatitis**, Environmental Factors, or Hormones
(**Can be caused by using hair products that are too harsh for the scalp such as shampoos that are made with harsh detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate)
QUICK TIP: One way to tell the difference between dandruff and dry scalp is that dandruff produces oily, large flakes while dry scalp produces dry, smaller flakes.
Tips to Help Dandruff and Dry Scalp
When it comes to dandruff, using a gentle shampoo will reduce the amount of oil on the scalp. A gentle shampoo is absolutely necessary. Using a harsh shampoo will over strip the oils present on the scalp which will in turn make the scalp continue to overproduce oil circling back into the cycle.
If you have a dry scalp then applying a small amount of coconut oil to the scalp will help to reduce flakes. Apply a small amount every day until symptoms lessen. This will also train your sebum glands to start producing its natural oils again which will help alleviate dry scalp.
Most dandruff shampoos contain medicated active ingredients, such as zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, and ketoconazole. Others even contain known cancer-causing agents, such as coal tar and selenium sulfide!
A toxin-free, non-medicated shampoo alternative NIUCOCO’s clients have continually given feedback that the Hydrating Shampoo has helped lessen their dandruff and, in some cases, has gotten rid of it. NIUCOCO’s Hydrating Shampoo is rated 0 on the Think Dirty meter so it’s safe to use every day. Best of all, it does not contain toxic ingredients like other dandruff shampoos.
Pregnancy and Dry Scalp
Hormone levels during pregnancy can affect hair growth and scalp health. Hair can grow quicker and appear fuller. Or on the other hand, the scalp can become too dry or too oily leading to flakes and itchiness.
During pregnancy, the scalp can also become more sensitive to the products you use, causing irritation of the scalp (dermatitis) and that notorious itchiness. Sometimes it’s as simple as discontinuing the use of products or switching to other products. When looking to switch shampoos, look for one that is low foaming and sulfate free like NIUCOCO’s Hydrating Shampoo. The low foam makes it gentle on the scalp.
New moms often struggle with postpartum dandruff or dry scalp due to the hormones or not taking in enough fluids during breastfeeding (thereby causing dry skin and scalp). Avoid medicated dandruff shampoos while pregnant or breastfeeding. These medicated shampoos often contain active ingredients that are toxic and known carcinogens.
Stick with natural products like NIUCOCO’s hair care line. NIUCOCO only produces non- toxic products that focus on performance. Everyone deserves great hair.