The 3 biggest dandruff mistakes doctors say you can avoid

Dry skin and dandruff are not the same thing, despite popular belief. Despite the fact that both conditions make you itch and flake, the true cause of dandruff is caused by an excess of oil and yeast, not by dryness. Therefore, treating it the wrong way will only make matters worse.

Dandelions are a symptom of a skin disease called seborrheic dermatitis, which is caused by the overgrowth of yeast called Malassezia furfur on the body, explains Mona Gohara, MD, a dermatologist in Connecticut. It is due to the overgrowth of yeast on our scalp that a disruption of the microbiome occurs. It’s possible for our skin’s good bacteria to become overwhelmed, causing flakes, smells, and discomfort. If you notice extra symptoms like grease, inflammation, or a funky stench, you’re dealing with dandruff (instead of just a dry scalp).

A few different factors can contribute to yeast overgrowth, including the products you use, the frequency with which your hair is washed, and even the level of stress you are under. In spite of this, dermatologists strongly suggest you avoid exacerbating things further with some common hair-care mistakes to prevent the occurrence of dandruff. See what they are as you scroll down.

1. Hair being not washed enough

There is a myth that people with dandruff don’t need to wash their hair as frequently. However, regular washing is essential to eliminate flakes and scalp debris. According to board-certified dermatologist Stacy Chimento, MD, dandruff can be controlled with regular shampooing and an anti-dandruff shampoo twice a week. For preventing flakes, she’s a fan of products like Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo ($6), Head and Shoulders Clinical Strength ($18), and Oribe Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo ($46). You should avoid shampoos that contain selenium sulfide, parabens, formaldehyde, triclosan, sulfates, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances when you aren’t experiencing dandruff. Which one? This dermatologist-formulated shampoo ($29) gently cleanses your hair while also balancing the sebum production on your scalp.

2. Skipping the post-workout shampoo

As a side note, when you have dandruff, washing your hair after working out is vital. Why? Sweaty scalps are the perfect environment for yeast, since it thrives in warm, moist conditions. According to Kristine Cruz, “Sweat gland secretions are mixed with bacteria if not washed, causing fungal infections.” Therefore, after every sweat session, you need to get rid of moisture and bacteria as soon as possible, which is why you should hop in the shower and give it a good, old-fashioned scrub.

3. Scrubbing away the flakes

Even though scratching or sloughing away flakes can be tempting (not to mention the fact that the feeling is pretty nice), this method of removal actually serves to aggravate the condition. Iris Rubin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of SEEN haircare, says when the scalp is inflamed, scrubbing can aggravate the problem. According to Dr. Chimento, infection can result from this. Allow your dandruff shampoo to take care of the job for you instead of scrubbin’.

For more insight on how to deal with dandruff, check out the video below.

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