Elisabeth King reveals how to give dandruff the flick.
Forget climate change and global warming. A German study has discovers that millions of organic detritus is choking the atmosphere, blocking out the sun, spreading disease and increasing rainfall. It gets worse. A large percentage of the fine dust particles comprise dandruff, says Dr Ruprecht Jaenicke of Mainz University.
“Whenever you brush your hair or take off a sweater, you release a cloud of biological dust,” he says. So giving the flick to dandruff is not only good for your image but, believe it or not, you’re also helping to save the planet.
Being dandruff free will also help to boost your love life, reveals the Head & Shoulders’ National Grooming Survey. Dandruff on a man’s shoulders is considered to be more of a turn-off than thinning hair, say 83 per cent of Australian women.
More than 50 per cent of the world’s population suffer from an unhealthy scalp or dandruff at some point in their lives, says Head & Shoulders, and men suffer more because they have oilier scalps. Leaving dandruff untreated can also damage your hair. Studies show that even after a relatively short time of head scratching, the cuticle cells in the hair surface (the layer that protects the hair) can be substantially damaged, sometimes breaking off altogether.
What Is Dandruff?
For a condition that blights the lives of millions, it’s surprising that the real cause of dandruff was only discovered less than three years ago by Procter & Gamble researchers, the makers of Head & Shoulders. Using DNA analysis, the multinational’s anti-dandruff laboratory fingered Malassezia globosa – a yeast named after Louis Charles Malassez, the French scientist who first discovered that our scalps are alive with tiny yeasts over 100 years ago – as the main cause of dandruff.
Yeasts aren’t the whole story, though. Scalp inflammation also plays an important role in causing flaky dandruff.
Firstly, the yeasts take up residence on your scalp, then they multiply by feeding on the oils on your head and discard the fatty adds they don’t like. One of these fatty acids – oleic acid – builds up, inflames the skin and sends it into cell division hyper-drive. Before you know it, you have dandruff.
Minimising scalp oil is an important first step in the fight against dandruff. High indoor temperatures and exercise can use the scalp to secrete more oil. Try to keep your environment cooler and get rid of sweat pronto after a workout. Limit the use of styling aids such as gels, mousses and pomades which can trap sebum and accelerate flaking. Drinking more water can also help.
The Right Conditions
Unfortunately, dandruff runs in families so many people have a genetic tendency to develop it. An over-oily scalp also springboards many cases of dandruff. Stress, illness and hormonal imbalances can also make your scalp less resistant to the incursions of the flurry-producing yeasts.
How To Treat Dandruff
It’s imperative to wash your hair three to four times a week to prevent flake build-up and to use the right medicated shampoo. Today’s products aren’t as hard on the hair as the old-time shampoos and are formulated to nourish and even retain the hair as they deal the death blow to dandruff. Head & Shoulders is the global market leader in anti-dandruff shampoos and the brand has released many variants from the Ice Fresh to Sensitive Care.