Head dandruff more commonly known as head shedding is a skin condition that affects the scalp and roots of your hair. Dandruff plagues the heads of both men and women but it is more commonly found in men’s heads. Dandruff flakes are basically made up of dead skin cells that your body sheds regularly but the only difference is that when a person has dandruff their scalp sheds skin cells at a very rapid rate due to a scalp irritation which causes these dead skin cells to appear as flakes on your scalp. A common cure for dandruff is considered to be shaving your head completely but does this cure really work?
Well, the short answer is No! Shaving your head is not going to eliminate the problem of dandruff permanently, but it can help reduce dandruff and allow your skin to breathe as the layer of dead skin cells(Dandruff flakes) is scraped off with a razor during shaving. Another way shaving your head might help against dandruff is that once your hairs are removed there is less chance of sweat and dirt accumulation on the scalp making it easier to keep your scalp clean and applying anti-dandruff treatments to the scalp also becomes easier. But shaving your head will not cause dandruff to go away for good because in order to get rid of dandruff you must identify the root cause of rapid skin cell shedding and treat it accordingly.
While shaving your head will remove the hair that dandruff sticks to and cause a momentary reduction in dandruff as dead skin cells are scraped off during shaving, dandruff is a skin problem and just like any skin related disorder it requires special treatment such as over the counter anti-dandruff shampoos and medicated shampoos to cure. Simply shaving your head is not a permanent solution. Luckily dandruff is not an indicator of any serious underlying health problems but with that being said it can still be annoying and embarrassing to shed dandruff when you are around people. That is why it is important to know the exact causes and proven cures for dandruff in order to effectively fight dandruff and win. In this article, you are going to learn exactly that, so read on.
Most common causes of head dandruff
Dandruff can be caused by multiple reasons and it is very important to pinpoint the exact cause of dandruff before you can start treating it. For some less extreme causes of dandruff, shaving your head might even solve the problem while for some more complicated causes of dandruff such as fungus and bacteria-induced dandruff may require specialized treatment to cure. Some of the most common causes of dandruff include:
- Overly oily and irritated scalp: If your dandruff appears yellowish in color and your scalp is getting red and very oily then chances are you have Seborrheic dermatitis which irritates the skin and causes your scalp to replace skin cells rapidly, producing dandruff in the process. Like most causes of dandruff, Seborrheic dermatitis is also caused by a fungus that feeds off of the excess oil produced by skin but some people’s scalp might get irritated by this fungus and react by producing skin cells rapidly resulting in dandruff.
- Poor hair care: Some men neglect their hair and don’t comb or wash their hair enough which results in a buildup of dead skin cells on their scalps. In such cases shaving, your head will remove the layer of dead skin cells and proper hair care afterward can prevent skin flakes from building up again.
- Yeast sensitivity: Our scalps are home to many microorganisms and yeast is one of them. People who live in colder areas and are allergic to yeast can get dandruff due to their yeast sensitivity. In warmer climates yeast in the scalp is kept in control by Ultraviolet rays of the sun and dandruff caused by yeast sensitivity doesn’t get out of hand either.
- Scalp dryness: If you notice white non-oily dandruff flakes then chances are you have a dry scalp either due to too much shampooing that washes off the natural oils from the scalp leaving it dry or due to cold weather. While it is considered that there is no such thing as too much shampooing, washing your hair too much can also leave the scalp dry and full of dandruff.
- Hormonal spike during puberty: Recent studies have shown that hormone production during puberty can also cause dandruff as most men and women get dandruff around the age of their puberty. The good thing about dandruff that occurs during puberty is that as hormone production slows down over time dandruff also reduces in most cases as the person’s age increases.
- Lack of proper nutrition: If you are eating very little or no fats in your routine diet then it increases your chances of getting dandruff, on the other hand, eating too many bad fats such as cheese or cream can also make your dandruff worse. Similarly, lack of other nutrients such as Zinc and vitamin B in your diet can also cause dandruff, especially in men. But there aren’t enough studies to prove that poor diet can be a cause of dandruff and more research is required.
- Mental stress: Although stress is not a direct cause of dandruff it can make your existing dandruff problem worse because stress reduces our body’s immune response making it difficult for our body to fight the microbes and fungus that cause dandruff in our scalp. Stress increase dandruff production which in turn causes more mental stress, locking the person in a never-ending cycle.
- Wearing hats: If your head rarely stays uncovered because you wear hats then chances are you are providing a perfect environment for microbes on your scalp in which they can thrive and cause dandruff. Normally moisture from your head evaporates into the air but hats trap the moisture on your scalp and if you are sensitive to oleic acid you are at a greater risk of developing dandruff.
How to get rid of dandruff?
As we mentioned earlier shaving your head might seem like a cure for dandruff as there is no more hair left for dandruff to stick to when your head is shaved but to properly cure dandruff you will have to use more specialized methods. Some of the most effective dandruff remedies are as follows:
- Keep your scalp moisturized: Keeping your scalp dry is giving an invitation to dandruff to invade your head. So if you notice that the dandruff flakes falling from your head are non-oily and smaller you are probably suffering from scalp dryness and it is time you start moisturizing your scalp regularly. You don’t even have to buy expensive products to keep your scalp hydrated because you can find scalp moisturizing oils right in your house. You can use olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil to apply to your head and keep your scalp moisturized especially after shampooing. Apart from moisturizing the scalp, coconut oil also has anti-bacterial properties that are great for fighting dandruff-causing microbes that call your scalp their home.
- Try to stay away from stress: Your body’s immune system works round the clock to keep harmful microbes in check similar to ones that cause dandruff in your scalp. But stress can reduce the immune response of your body, therefore, you should learn how to manage your mental stress and give yourself a few hours every day to relax and relieve stress. Doing this regularly can reduce dandruff. Here are a few ways you can lower your stress levels:
- Exercise: Regular exercise can reduce the number of stress hormones that get released in your body and during exercise mood-enhancing hormones also get released that help in improving your mood.
- Cut down on caffeine: A nice cup of coffee Is good for helping you wake up in the morning but beverages such as coffee and tea contain caffeine that can increase stress levels if consumed in excess amounts. So if your caffeine intake is high, consider cutting down on it and you will notice a reduction in both stress and anxiety.
- Get plenty of sunlight: Direct sunlight can be great at keeping dandruff causing germs at bay and you can also kill fungus by soaking some sun every day. But make sure that you wear a good quality sunscreen to protect your skin and avoid getting sunburns.
- Keep your head clean: Keeping your hair clean by shampooing regularly is a great way to prevent dandruff flakes from sticking to your hair and scalp. If you go days without washing your hair then you are collecting all the dead skin cells in your hair which can make the condition of dandruff worse.
- Use over the counter anti-dandruff shampoos: In most cases, dandruff can be easily controlled with the help of good anti-dandruff shampoo. You can buy these shampoos from any store near you and you don’t need any prescription to buy most anti-dandruff shampoos. When you are buying an anti-dandruff shampoo pay close attention to the ingredients of the shampoo because in order to fight dandruff an anti-dandruff shampoo should have the following ingredients in it:
- Zinc pyrithione: A powerful antibacterial agent and a common ingredient found in anti-dandruff shampoos. This ingredient can fight dandruff causing germs and halts yeast production in your scalp. Zinc pyrithione reduces skin irritation caused by bacteria, yeast, and fungus which results in fewer dead skin cells and reduces visible dandruff flakes.
- Coal tar: Coal tar can be great for increasing the lifespan of skin cells which means by using a shampoo containing coal your skin cells don’t die and fall as often causing a noticeable drop in dandruff buildup.
- Tea tree oil: Some natural-based anti-dandruff shampoos contain tea tree oil which is a great natural antibacterial and antifungal agent making it a good alternative to shampoos containing the artificial ingredient.
A shampoo containing at least one of these ingredients should be very effective against dandruff but keep in mind that using a shampoo with a certain type of ingredient for a while can cause the dandruff-causing microbes to get used to it, therefore, it is a good idea to switch to another anti-dandruff shampoo once you notice dandruff returning. It is recommended to shampoo once every day until the dandruff is under control and after that, you can reduce the frequency of shampooing to maintain a dandruff-free head. Leave the shampoo on your head for at least 5 minutes to allow the ingredients to work properly to get rid of the causes of dandruff.
Note: If your scalp is covered in dandruff flakes and scales then the anti-dandruff shampoo might not be able to get to your scalp skin. Therefore if it is not possible to remove all the dandruff scales from your scalp with all the hair in the way. You should try shaving your head in order to remove the layer of scales and crust from your scalp so that the anti-dandruff shampoo can work to its full potential.
How to shave your head properly?
Shaving your head may seem like a difficult task to do but with proper tools and a little practice you can shave your head pretty easily. But before you can start shaving your head using a razor, you will need to use a trimmer to get your hair as short as possible because most razors aren’t designed to shave long hairs. Even if you have a special head shaving razor, you will first need to trim your hair as short as possible to make the job easier. Once you have got your hair short enough you will need a few items to help you in shaving your head. The things you need to shave your head include:
- Razor (Preferably a specialized head shaving razor)
- Good quality shaving cream or shaving soap
- A post-shave balm or lotion
- A towel
- Warm water
After you have collected all these things, it is time to get to work and start shaving your head. In order to get a smooth and nick-free shaved head follow the following steps:
Step 1: Rub warm water on your head thoroughly making sure all the hairs are wet. Warm water will help in softening up the hair for an easier shave.
Step 2: Squeeze some shaving cream into your hand and apply it by gently massaging it all over your hair. You are going to need a lot more shaving cream for your head than what you would use for your beard. Make sure the shaving cream covers all the hair.
Step 3: Start shaving the front of your hair by moving the razor in the direction of the hair growth. For this, you would want to start in the middle to your head then move the razor towards your forehead. The key is not to apply pressure as it increases the chances of cuts, instead, let the razor glide on your head in the direction of hair growth and shave your hair.
Step 4: Once you are done with the front part of your head, shave the sides of your head in the same way as the front by moving the razor from top to bottom. Repeat the process on the back of your head and rinse off the shaven hair under tap water to keep the razor gliding smoothly.
Step 5: Rinse all the shaved hair and shaving cream from your head under warm running tap water and once you are done apply the aftershave balm to your head to keep your head moisturized.
Can you shave an hour before laser hair removal?
It is very important that the area you are going to get laser hair removal from doesn’t have any hair or else you might have to reschedule your appointment because any existing hair in the area where laser hair removal is going to be performed can cause burns and leave pigmentation. But make sure not to shave right before the laser hair removal process and it is recommended to shave at least 24 hours before your appointment. Shaving immediately before laser hair removal can cause inflammation and redness in the area.
Try to get as close of a shave as possible before the procedure. If you are not able to remove all the hair from the area, your laser hair removal technician can remove them for you before the procedure but it might cost you a little extra for the shave. In addition to not shaving within 24 hours of your laser hair removal, it is also important to avoid putting on any tanning products on the area you need hair removed from. To get the most effective results from your laser hair removal, wear sunscreen when going out in the sun before your laser hair removal treatment.