We’ve all had that day: you’re sitting next to someone in a black shirt and there are white flakes on their shoulders. You can’t help it: you think, “Ew.”
Of course, dandruff happens to us all at some point or another. Or scalp sheds skin just like everywhere else on our bodies. Whether you can see it or not, you do have dandruff. The difference is whether it happens in giant flakes or smaller, unnoticeable sizes.
What Causes Dandruff?
Dandruff can have several causes, including dry skin, seborrhoeic dermatitis (called “cradle cap” in young children), not cleaning/scrubbing often enough, shampooing too often, psoriasis, eczema, sensitivity to hair care products, or a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia. But dry skin is the most common cause of flaking dandruff.
If you have prominent dandruff, you’ve probably bought into some of the hype about certain shampoos. But while those shampoos “might” work, they’re full of so many harmful chemicals that it’s probably better just to wear light colors than put that stuff on your skin.
Head and Shoulders:
But what chemicals am I talking about in Head and Shoulders? Like many big corporations, they don’t really seem to care what you’re putting in your hair, so long as it sells shampoo that “works”. If you look at the ingredients list though you’ll see some stand-out harmful chemicals.
The Harmful Ingredients List:
Sodium laureth sulphate (SLES): dries out your skin
Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS): used to remove grease from car engines.
Cocamide MEA: Skin, eye and lung irritation, contact allergies
Zinc pyrithione: Anti-dandruff properties are outweighed by the skin irritation they cause.
Dimethicone: skin irritant
Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde: causes allergic reactions in eczema sufferers.
Parfum: causes headaches, mood swings, depression, and forgetfulness. It’s also an allergen; triggers asthmatic reactions; and irritates skin.
Linalool, Hexyl cinnamal, Benzyl alcohol, Limonene, Citronellol: Can all cause severe allergic reactions
Sodium polynaphthalenesulfonate: Irritating to mucous membranes, can also release low levels of formaldehyde.
Methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone: Linked to nerve damage; and a suspected carcinogen due to its corrosive action on the skin.
Tetrasodium EDT: Skin and eye irritation, contact dermatitis.
The Natural Alternatives:
If you’re still determined not to give up your dandruff shampoo though, I have a solution. I’ve found an all-natural replacement for Head and Shoulders that can keep your shoulders clean and avoid harmful, toxic chemicals.
These solutions come under two categories: Dry Skin and Malassezia.
But some easy tips before making drastic changes are:
stop using your hair styling products:
Use coconut oil or aloe vera gel instead
thoroughly brush your hair each night
try a boar bristle brush!
wash your hair less frequently
or use this recipe
For Dry Skin/eczema/psoriasis/seborrhoeic dermatitis:
Coconut oil hair mask: use this once or twice a week to soothe an aggravated scalp
Apple Cider Vinegar: helps restore moisture to your scalp.
Baking soda: gently scrubs to remove dead skin, but also helps remove excess oil.
Olive Oil: restores moisture. Heat gently, apply thoroughly, let sit for an hour, wash it out with warm water and baking soda.
For Malassezia (Fungal Dandruff)
Use a neem rinse: anti-fungal properties. Boil neem leaves in 4 cups of water and rinse with this 2-3 times a week
Apple Cider Vinegar: Rebalances your skin’s pH levels and helps prevent fungus growth.
White vinegar: mildly acidic to help balance the pH of your skin, but also relieves itching
Tea tree oil: antifungal. Add a tablespoon to your coconut oil hair mask and let it sit in your hair.
Coconut oil hair mask: antifungal properties of coconut oil will prevent fungal growth on your scalp and