Taking care of your hair goes beyond just treating your hair follicles. There are a million and one sayings to reiterate the importance of building a good foundation and for your hair that foundation would be your scalp. Dry scalp and product build-up can be treacherous to your scalp and the health of your hair. Here’s a few quick tips on taking care of your scalp.
Real dandruff is fungal build-up.
First, a dry flaky scalp is not always dandruff. Dandruff is actually a common scalp disorder that is caused by excessive build up of dead skin cells and accompanied with an itchy scalp. According to WebMD, some believe that the fungus, malassezia is the cause of the fungus. Malassezia exists on all humans, however some immune systems overreact to the fungus, therefore causing dandruff. True dandruff can be treated with specialized shampoos.
The big myth is that as women of color, it’s okay for us to wash our hair infrequently, like once or twice a month. A clean scalp promotes hair growth. If you are focusing on growing your hair, it is helpful to wash or co-wash frequently. At the minimum, you should aim to wash your hair once a week. Use sulfate-free shampoos, regardless of your hair texture or process. You can find a bevy of sulfate-free shampoos at any major retailers, like Wal-Mart and Target, as most brands are branching out and producing this type of cleanser.
Co-washing is a great for highly texturized hair types. However you don’t want to over-condition your hair, which can result in product build-up and leave you with oily flakes in on your scalp. When you do condition, THOROUGHLY rinse out your hair. If a product’s instructions say to “rinse out” after a certain time period, then rinse it out. Don’t leave a product in your hair that is meant to be rinsed out in 30 minutes in your hour for over an hour. You will be left with a flaky residue that you might not notice immediately.
Product Junkie Anonymous
Don’t be that person that gunks every product under the sun into their hair. Just as conditioner will lead to product build-up, any product that you put on your hair can cause a residue that leads to white flakes as well. Always apply product in small amounts and add more as needed. Especially when using gels! You want to decrease the potential for flakes, but use as little as possible to get the desired affects. Start with a dime size of the product and work up from there.
Doctor Knows Best
If you have noticed an excessive amount of white flakes or possible dandruff build-up that you just can’t get rid of, visit your dermatologist to find out if the real root of your problem isn’t a medical condition. Psoriasis and Seborrheic Dermatitis are both skin diseases that include dandruff as a symptom. Per the National Library of Medicince, “most people with psoriasis have thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches.” Seborrheic Dermatitis features yellow/white flakes on the scalp. Definitely check with your doctor who can help with more severe cases of dandruff.