Contrary to many people’s thinking, dandruff is not the same as dry skin. While both of these conditions can cause your scalp to itch and peel, dandruff actually tends to be the result of overproduction of oil and yeast, which is in stark contrast to the dryness you may be mistaken for — and the wrong treatment will lead to the risk of making things worse.
Mona Gohara, MD, a Council-certified dermatologist based in Connecticut, said: “Dandruff can be a symptom of a skin condition called sebum dermatitis, which is the governing of a yeast on our body called Malassezia furfur.” She explains that the overdriving of yeast causes disruption in the microflora on our scalp. In other words, the good bacteria on our skin have the effect of keeping it healthy,
can be overtaken, leading to peeling, odor, and discomfort. You’ll know you’re dealing with dandruff (instead of the usual dry scalp), if your scales are accompanied by other symptoms such as grease, inflammation, or a stench.
There are a number of things that can cause an overgrowth of yeast, including your products, shampooing habits, and even your stress levels. But because – let me reiterate – dandruff is not the same as dry skin, there are some common mistakes that doctors want you to stop making in your hair care routine to avoid making things worse. Keep scrolling to find out what they are.
1. Washing your hair is not enough
“Many people with dandruff mistakenly believe that they should wash their hair less often. This is a misconception, washing your hair regularly is necessary to clean dandruff scales and remove dirt on the scalp.” Wash your hair daily and use dandruff shampoo twice a week,” said Stacy Chimento, MD, a Miami-based board-certified dermatologist. She’s a fan of dandruff products like Neutrogena T/Gel Dandruff Shampoo ($6), Head and Shoulders Clinical Strength ($18), and Oribe Serene Scalp Anti ($46) to keep the scales peeling. On days of non-dandruff shampoo, look for products that don’t contain selenium sulfide, parabens, formaldehyde, triclosan, sulfates, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances, all of which will irritate your scalp. Moreover. Our choice? SEEN skincare shampoo ($29), will gently cleanse your hair while helping balance select production on your scalp.
2. Skip shampoo after sweating
When it comes to washing your hair, when you’re dealing with dandruff, it’s extremely important to wash your hair after a workout. Cause? Yeast thrives in humid environments, which means that sweaty scalp is basically its paradise. Stylist Kristine Cruz said: “The sweat glands that are secreted are both bacteria and if not washed, which can lead to the formation of infections. Therefore, you’ll want to remove moisture and bacteria as soon as possible after each sweat, which means soaking in a shower to foam and rinse.
3. Try to remove scales
While it can cause your scratching or flaking (not to mention the fact that it feels pretty good), this method of removal can actually make things worse. Iris Rubin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of SEEN, said: “With dandruff, the scalp is often inflamed and rubbing can cause further skin irritation. And this, Dr. Chimento adds, can lead to infection. Refrain from exfoliating, and instead leave dandruff shampoo on your behalf.