Nearly everyone has experienced a little flaky skin on their scalp from time to time. However, when the condition is chronic, it can cause constant embarrassment and frustration. There are a number of ways to treat dandruff; the right treatment for you will depend on what is causing the condition. You may have to try a few different methods before you find the one that works, but with a little patience, you will be wearing your favorite black clothes again with confidence.
Dandruff is nothing more than dead skin cells on the scalp. Everyone sheds dead skin cells, but some people seem to shed them more often, causing large, visible white flakes in the hair and on clothing. The most common dandruff is the oily variety, called seborrheic dermatitis. However, dandruff can also be caused by any number of other factors, including fungal infections, allergic reactions to hair products, and all-over skin conditions such psoriasis or eczema.
There are a number of natural ways to treat dandruff. Milder cases may just require more frequent shampooing with a gentle shampoo to reduce a build-up of skin cells. Other home remedies that may help include rinsing your scalp with mildly acidic products such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Table salt, rubbed gently onto the scalp before your shampoo, is also thought to be effective in loosening dead skin and making it easier to wash away. Getting a little sun on your scalp also seems to help control dandruff, but remember that sunlight can also damage your skin if you get too much.
There are a number of over-the-counter medicated shampoos that are formulated specifically to treat dandruff. The medications in the shampoos usually have antifungal or antibiotic properties. However, since active ingredients vary from brand to brand, you may need to try more than one to find a formulation that works for your particular case. The key to effectiveness with any medicated shampoo is to leave it on long enough for the medication to work; a quick wash and rinse is not enough. Some brands recommend leaving the shampoo on the scalp for two to five minutes, but for tougher cases, you may want to try covering your head with a shower cap and leaving the shampoo in for several hours, or even overnight. It is a good idea to carefuloly read the directions and maybe even consult a dermatologist before doing this.
If you have been trying to treat your dandruff for several weeks and nothing seems to work, it may be time to visit your doctor or dermatologist. Prescription shampoos are available to treat dandruff that is severe or chronic. You may also have an underlying skin condition that is causing your skin and scalp to become irritated, so it is important to get checked out if your symptoms do not seem to respond to standard treatments.