Sometimes I do some guest blogging for the squad down at the My Natural Hair HQ. Recently I did an investigation into dandruff and dry scalp (spoiler alert- they’re completely different thangs!) and I’m still getting messages asking for advice on this issue. Have a read, and if you want to read more check out the My Natural Hair blog spot– it’s a great resource for anyone looking to get haircare advice!
We’ve all been through it- a few days away from wash day and your scalp starts that not-so-lovely little song, itching all the day long. At least when your hair is loose you can find a quiet corner (and some relief!). When you’re living that protective styling life you’re restricted to that pat manoeuvre to ease that itch.
And heaven forbid you get the flakes too! ❄❄❄❄❄ A girl will be out here just having a snow day in Africa- dandruff is very much not a winter wonderland kind of experience. Now if any of this sounds familiar, don’t even worry. Lots of naturals experience dry scalp and dandruff, and as always, MNH got your back to help calm that hair farm 🐄🐏🐃🐎🐓🐖
Okay but like, what is this even?
So dandruff and dry scalp are actually two different things #IKR #shookt 😮 😮
Dry scalp is simpler to understand: when a scalp does not have moisture and is dry (duh), it becomes itchy so you scratch at it. The scratching causes dry skin flakes to shed, which is the white dust that makes you look like you work at a cocaine den.
Dandruff is the trickier bugger. It actually is a problem when your scalp is too oily. If your scalp over-produces sebum, you then become prone to dandruff. Because there’s an excess of oil, a particular yeast-like fungus called malassezia begins to feed on the excess oil and scalp skin cells. This causes the scalp to renew more skin cells quicker than it ordinarily would. This rapid cycle makes skin cells shed quicker, and clump into the flakes we recognise as dandruff. Dandruff is greasy, not dry. In severe cases it can have a yellowish tinge and even an odor. Smelling like a snack, I think not 👀
Ehhh. Okay but what did I do to cause it?
Dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture. A range of things can dry out your hair and scalp, including:
- harsh shampoo (sulphates are the devil fam 👿),
- product build-up; and
- bad diet choices (slow down on the caffeine ☕, dries you out like a mo-fo)
You know your hair best and what tends to make it feel dry is probably the cause of your dry scalp.
Dandruff. Oh dandruff 😨 The litany of things that can be the cause include:
- excess fats and oils consumption – time to rethink those lunchtime slap tjips 🍟
- hormonal imbalances, such as a new birth control pill
- hypersensitivity towards a product; and
- product build-up (or not shampooing enough)
GET IT OFF MEHHHH!:
Keep your weave on, dry scalp is very treatable. On second thought, don’t keep that weave on too long- Your scalp needs more than just the spray you bought in the shop to stay fresh 🙈 Regular scalp massages with oil will bring back the moisture balance. Remember to clarify your hair with a good sulphate-free shampoo. Another pro tip is to focus your product application from mid-shaft to tip, so you don’t cause product build up at the scalp. The My Natural Hair range is perfect because not only is the shampoo sulphate-free, but the entire range is silicone-free as well. Silicone is useful for taming frizz, but can only be removed with sulphates. So if you’re using products with silicone, you have to be clarifying with a mild sulphate shampoo. Otherwise you’re prone to build up and these problems.
A big DON’T is to try using oil to alleviate dandruff- excess oil is what done caused yo problems gurl! This is why it’s imperative to diagnose if you have dry scalp or if you’re plagued by dandruff; the treatments for the two are vastly different. Dandruff requires a medicated shampoo, with antifungal properties to reduce the yeast-like fungus causing the problem. If these are too harsh for your hair, try using the medicated conditioners, which still have mild surfactants to lift dirt. More organic treatments recommend a few drops of tea tree oil in your shampoo which helps restore pH balance. In severe cases its best to consult a medical professional for the best way forward.
Healthy hair needs a healthy scalp, so make sure you’re giving your scalp the attention it needs 🙂 Hopefully this cleared a few things up for you and maybe your scalp too! 🙌