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Hair & Scalp Problems: Dandruff

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

Dandruff is not a new problem and there are countless resources online to obtain remedies for dandruff.

To quote the American Academy of Dermatology Association, "Dandruff is a common scalp condition in which small pieces of dry skin flake off the scalp. If you have dark hair or you're wearing dark colours, you may notice the flakes in your hair or your shoulders. Dandruff may also make your scalp itch."

Scientifically speaking it refers to flaking and scaling of the scalp, and is a mild form or seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp. Some have pointed to the yeast Malassezia as a contributing factor to this condition.

Most of the time, the advice given to manage dandruff is by washing your hair regularly using a gentle shampoo - and if that doesn't work, then try using different types of anti-dandruff or medicated shampoos. They recommend to switch between two different types of shampoo so that they don't lose their effectiveness over time, as it tends to happen with medicinal shampoos.

Dandruff can be caused by various factors - but the most common cause is the irregular sebum (oil) production by the scalp - more specifically, an overproduction of sebum. When that gets mixed with dirt, this promotes bacterial or fungal growth. If a person doesn't wash his/her hair regularly, this issue gets exacerbated. On the other hand, if you over-wash your hair, the scalp might become more irritated and inflamed.

This usually leads the sufferer to scratch their heads and injure the scalp. This would then cause the bacteria to infect the scalp further, which results in even more irritation and dandruff. And the vicious cycle continues.

Other related skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema can cause irritation, leading to the same problems of broken skin on the scalp, fungal growth and the resulting dry skin flakes known as dandruff.

Getting to the root of the problem is the most important factor in the long term management of this condition. Start by regularly washing your hair with a shampoo that's made from gentle and natural ingredients, some synthetic ingredients like colours or scents may cause allergies or irritation. The shampoo should remove oil and dirt without calm the scalp without aggravating it further.

Our Dark Relief shampoo bar contains natural Bisabolol, an ingredient that is clinically proven to reduce irritation by 25% within 2 weeks of consistent usage. Less irritation, less scratching, less chance for infection.

The pH (acidity/alkalinity) level of the shampoo is another contributing factor that would help calm the scalp. Our bars are balanced at pH 4.5 to 5.5 to match the pH level of our scalp, in order to reduce any sensitivities to the shampoo.

One other ingredient we had to include in our bar is a naturally-derived (plant-based) Salicylic acid. This works by safely and effectively stripping away the epidermis, or the external layer of skin. Salicylic acid is known for treating acne by unclogging blocked pored. Not all products use naturally-derived Salicylic acid - so this is a pretty special ingredient! This ingredient breaks down the bonds between dead skin cells so that they can be released from the pore more easily, and breaking down oils such as sebum. It also decreases the skin's sebum production - which helps to reduce fungal infection and dandruff from developing over time.

Removing the oil from the scalp effectively is another way to reduce dandruff, which is why bamboo charcoal is included as it is well known for its deep cleansing and clarifying functions.

Finally - we've infused the Dark Relief shampoo bar with tea tree and lavender essential oils as a way to keep bacteria away and promote healing. One other oil that's great for its healing properties is black seed oil.

Calming the scalp, reducing oil build-up, healing the skin and reducing the chances of fungal infection - these are the essential steps towards reducing dandruff. So if you know someone who has this condition, or are struggling with it yourself, make sure you take these steps and you'll be on your way to managing it for the long-term!

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