Dandruff could be caused by a number of different factors. The most cited reason medically is the overgrowth of a bacterial called 'Malassezia'. This bacteria actually lives on a healthy scalp and feeds off the oils on our scalp however it leaves behind 'oleic acid'. With the overgrowth of the bacteria and excess oleic acid, some people find their scalp gets irritated and they start to notice dandruff. The over growth of this bacteria could be triggered by the following:
a. not cleansing your your hair regularly
b. hormonal changes e.g. puberty
c. poor health/imbalanced diet
There is also some research to show that dandruff could be triggered/worsened by things like:
a. use of harsh shampoos e.g. sulfate based shampoos
b. use of very heavy oils/grease on your scalp
c. high stress
d. weather changes to colder months
On to the fun part! Let's get on to what you can actually do about it:
1. You know I always preach about getting yourself right from the inside for every hair issue! Make sure you are keeping a very balanced diet full of nutrients like Zinc, Vitamin A, B & C. Also, get some vegetables and fruits in your diet.
2. Avoid using harsh shampoos including sulfate based ones if you find that these trigger your dandruff and go for sulfate free options. Try to cleanse your hair weekly or bi-weekly at the very most.
3. Use medicated shampoos with active ingredients like Zinc Pyirithone, Ketoconazole or Selenium sulfide if you find the switch from sulfate based to mild sufate-free shampoos don't help.
4. If you find that over the counter shampoos like those in point 3 do not work, then you should visit a doctor for a prescribed shampoo/medication.
5. Avoid using heavy oils/grease on your scalp. Instead hydrate your scalp with water and if you really need an oil, go with something very light infused with essential oils. Scalp massages are also great!
6. Deep condition once a week especially if you are using stronger medicated shampoos and its getting colder. Deep conditioners are great for your hair and also help keep the scalp hydrated
7. Keep the stress level down! Stress can lead to dandruff flare ups!
8. Always take the time out to really rinse out the products from your hair