Dandruff is one of the most common hair problems affecting both men and women these days. Apart from being a social embarrassment, it can also be a pre-cursor to bigger problems like hair loss, acne and scalp infections. From shampoos promising dandruff-free hair in a single wash to salons offering costly anti-dandruff treatments, there are a plethora of options out there. However, before you resort to any of these, just ask yourself some questions to understand what might be causing the dandruff in your case.

1. Do you have oily skin?

If your answer is Yes, then you might also have an oily scalp. An oily scalp leads to a great environment for microbes to thrive, leading to infection of the scalp. In order to avoid dandruff, make sure you wash your hair often and well with a mild shampoo.

2.  Do you sweat a lot?

If you work out regularly or your job demands you to be out in the hot polluted environment, you might be more susceptible to dandruff. Do wash your hair often with a mild shampoo that is meant for daily use.

 3. Do you like to experiment with new hair products very often?

If you notice that your scalp starts itching whenever you use a new brand of hair product, you might have a sensitive scalp. Stick to tried-and-tested brands for your hair care. New products might contain ingredients that may be causing an allergic reaction. Sometimes, they may even lead to red blotchy patches on your scalp. Discontinue using the product immediately and visit a skin specialist at the earliest.

4. Do you wash your hair the right way?

If your hair isn’t squeaky clean after a wash, it might indicate that you aren’t washing it right or that you are using large amounts of shampoo and/or conditioner and not washing them off well. This might lead to an unclean scalp causing dandruff

 5. Are you being exposed to harsh winters?

The cold winters can be particularly harsh to people with dandruff due to the increased exposure to dry air. Regular use of warm coconut or olive oil to gently massage your scalp could help.

 6. Are you using unclean combs and hair brushes?

Since dandruff is an infection, it can often spread from one scalp to the other via unclean combs and brushes. If you visit a salon for your hair, carry your own brushes or insist that they wash them. At home, use separate combs and brushes for each family member and wash them once or twice a week.

 7. Have you been going through a lot of emotional stress recently?

While the direct association between stress and dandruff is yet unknown, the hormonal effects caused by stress causes excess oil secretion in the scalp leading to dandruff. Learn to control stress with some rest and meditation.

8. Are you eating right and getting proper nutrition?

If you are one of the modern day busy-bees who just can’t find time to eat food of the nutritious variety, it’s time you decide to include these foods in your daily diet. The best dandruff fighters are zinc (from chicken, dals, nuts) and B complex vitamins (from beans, meat, chicken, fish, vegetables).  Read about more hair-friendly food here.

 9.  Are you consuming too much sugar/carbohydrates?

High sugar levels in the blood can deplete the levels of nutrients like Vitamin B and Zinc which are known to fight dandruff. It might also lead to increased growth of fungi on the scalp leading to yeast infections and dandruff.

 10. Are you suffering from other skin conditions?

Psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions that cause flaking of skin can cause flaking of the scalp as well; leading to dandruff.  Consult your dermatologist in these cases. So, there you go! A little time and effort in figuring out what’s causing your dandruff might just help you get rid of it forever.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of psorasis.

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