When it comes to a dry flaky scalp, dandruff is a chronic skin condition that can be itchy, annoying and embarrassing for men to deal with. As a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff presents as white flakes in your hair and on your scalp, and is often the result of oily skin and yeast overgrowth that irritate the skin on your head. Whether you have a bad case or not, there are several ways to treat dandruff that will get rid of this issue effectively.
Some men will want to use an anti-dandruff shampoo to cleanse and hydrate the scalp for fast results, while others may prefer natural home remedies such as tea tree oil, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar to stop fungus growth and remove dry skin. The best way is often combining different solutions for a holistic approach that ensures you get dandruff out of your hair as quickly as possible.
With so many different options, it can be a challenge choosing the right dandruff treatment. To inspire you with ideas, we’ve compiled this guide on how to get rid of dandruff for men. From shampoos and conditioners to exfoliating scalp treatments, explore the best ways to prevent dandruff to stop the white flakes in your hair and get the clean look you’ve always wanted.
What Is Dandruff?
Dandruff is a common skin condition that causes an itchy and flaky scalp without inflammation. While not a serious health condition, dandruff can be difficult to treat and the constant itching can be embarrassing. You can stop mild dandruff with a gentle daily moisturizing shampoo or visit your doctor and get prescribed a more powerful medicated shampoo.
Dandruff is caused by the Malassezia yeast, a fungus that grows on the scalp and triggers an immune system response. To be specific, the yeast thrives when men have oily scalps. The Malassezia yeast feeds off your scalp’s natural oils and produces oleic acid as a byproduct.
This acid results in an immune response, causing your body to flake off the irritated skin to protect itself. The affected dry white flakes that shed off your scalp are what we consider dandruff. Although most people associate this skin issue with the scalp, dandruff can occur all over your body, including your beard, eyebrows, nose, back and chest.
Other symptoms of dandruff are itchiness, dryness, redness, scalp sensitivity and general skin irritation, which can be annoying and tiresome to deal with. Most times, this condition is not harmful and can be managed with over-the-counter dry scalp treatments. There are many high-quality scalp and hair care products on the market designed to get rid of dandruff, offering complete solutions that actually work.
What Causes Dandruff
Not Washing Your Hair Enough
Dandruff isn’t usually caused by poor hygiene, but not shampooing frequently enough is certainly a key factor in developing it, particularly for those with extra oily hair. To manage dandruff, you will need to find the sweet spot between over-washing and under-washing.
If you have straight or thin hair, your scalp likely produces more natural oils than guys with coarser hair types, meaning you should aim to wash your hair daily to cleanse and minimize build-up.
The less oil there is on your scalp, the more inhospitable it will be to the yeast that causes dandruff. You’ll need to experiment with your wash schedule to find the perfect balance since over-washing can lead to a dry scalp, which also causes flaking.
It’s worth noting that it isn’t always frequency that’s the issue. In some cases, you may need to invest in a stronger shampoo to remove oil buildup on the scalp. Delicate shampoos designed for normal hair may not be suitable, so look at shampoos designed for oily hair to achieve the best results.
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The Wrong Products Are Causing An Allergic Reaction
It’s entirely plausible that your dandruff is linked to using the wrong hair products, which are causing an allergic reaction. If you’ve noticed flakes and sensitivity appearing after using a certain product, remove it from your routine to see if you are allergic to any ingredients in its formula. Guys who have been suffering from flaking for some time will need to eliminate products one by one. If this improves your symptoms, slowly build your hair care routine back up to include only natural, soothing products.
Dry Skin on Your Scalp
Those who suffer from dandruff find that their symptoms worsen during the winter months. Dry weather and skin don’t cause dandruff, but these factors will make your dandruff worse. Colder weather pulls moisture out of the skin, so make sure you nourish, repair and protect the skin on your scalp with a great hydrating shampoo. Although keeping your scalp moisturized won’t remove your dandruff entirely, you can minimize the itchiness and flakiness.
Undiagnosed Underlying Medical Condition
In some cases, your dandruff might be caused by another medical condition. While most just assume that their dandruff is a typical case that relates to dry skin or a lack of washing, some guys may be struggling with more serious underlying health issues. Dandruff can be linked to auto-immune diseases so it’s worth ruling more serious health issues out if you’re struggling to find the root cause.
Dandruff is often linked to other skin conditions such as rosacea, acne and psoriasis, so it’s worth visiting a licensed dermatologist if you have exhausted all other avenues. For some sufferers of psoriasis or eczema, the addition of a medicated or tar-based shampoo can work wonders.
Warm, Humid Weather
Humidity and warmth provide an excellent environment for the growth of yeast. These factors increase sweat production, making it harder to keep your scalp oil-free. If you live in a climate like this, it’s best to wash your hair daily. Although this frequency won’t suit everyone, letting oil buildup on the scalp in these conditions is asking for trouble.
Best Ways To Get Rid of Dandruff
Use An Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
An anti-dandruff shampoo is the best way to get rid of dandruff fast, providing you with the right ingredients to stop fungus growth, remove buildup and moisturize the scalp to prevent dryness. When it comes to choosing a dandruff shampoo, there are several top-rated products on the market such as Nizoral, Head and Shoulder, Selsun Blue and Neutrogena. These dandruff shampoos use unique formulas to help men eliminate dry white flakes and stop an itchy, dry scalp.
Head & Shoulders has engineered their product with zinc pyrithione, an antifungal that works well on Malassezia yeast. Neutrogena’s T/Gel and T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoos are often recommended by dermatologists for men with dandruff and come highly-rated. The T/Gel shampoo contains tar and is better-suited for guys with darker hair.
If your dandruff is more serious, your dermatologist may recommend Nizoral. Marketed as a ketoconazole shampoo, this product is a strong antifungal that works to counter yeast overgrowth and relive flaking and itchy skin.
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Use A Top-Rated Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner
Keeping your scalp moisturized with a top-rated shampoo and conditioner can greatly reduce flakes and itchiness. If your dandruff is caused by dry skin, choosing to aggravate this by overusing anti-dandruff shampoos isn’t wise. As anti-dandruff shampoos can strip the hair of natural oils when used for long periods, you will need to retain as much moisture in your scalp as possible.
To do this, keep a hydrating shampoo on hand to use for every other wash. If you’d rather stick to natural products to alleviate dandruff production, opt for a tea tree oil shampoo. These shampoos are antifungal and will keep yeast production under control.
Be sure to avoid styling products that contain heavy oils. These oils can make dandruff worse as they weigh the hair down and prevent adequate cleansing at the end of the day. The inclusion of a clarifying shampoo may help to keep these products in your routine, but they are best avoided until your dandruff is under control.
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Massage and Stimulate Your Scalp
Massaging and stimulating your scalp can be a great way to prevent dandruff over time. You can use your fingers or a scalp massaging brush to boost blood flow to your scalp. Not only will this help improve circulation, but it can increase hair growth and lower your stress levels.
Physical exfoliation gently lifts any loose flakes and will help relieve the worst of your itching. Additionally, massaging brushes work anti-dandruff shampoos deeply into the hair follicles. This will give you a thorough and satisfying clean.
It may be tempting to press down hard with your massaging brush, but it’s best to work in gentle circles with light to medium pressure. Despite providing short-term relief, pressing too hard may make sensitive skin more reactive. This will worsen your dandruff in the long run.
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Improve Your Immunity
Poor immunity can contribute to dandruff. If you want to improve your immunity, you can add probiotics to your daily routine. Unstable gut flora can wreak havoc on immunity, so choosing a strong and effective probiotic is an excellent idea. Although probiotics don’t work the same for everyone, they often reduce the symptoms of dandruff by improving general skin health. Up your probiotic intake by eating fermented foods or taking a probiotic rich in lactobacillus. This probiotic is said to reduce Malassezia colonization, making it easier to maintain low yeast levels.
Apply Hydrating Hair Products
It may feel counterintuitive to add moisture to hair when you have dandruff but applying hydrating products can reduce itching and minimize flaking. Moisturizing hair care products can rebalance the scalp and calm any redness and irritation. Products containing menthol and peppermint oil can also soothe and protect dry skin and provide a pleasant, cooling effect.
Keeping hair strands healthy can be difficult when treating dandruff as most treatments prioritize yeast reduction. Investing in hydrating hair products will keep your locks well-moisturized while combating scalp dryness.
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Try Tea Tree Oil and Coconut Oil
Both tea tree oil and coconut oil can be very beneficial in treating dandruff. Tea tree oil is anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal, making it a powerful ingredient in any dandruff treatment. When applied regularly, tea tree oil should reduce symptoms and gradually heal the scalp.
If you have more sensitive skin or struggle with dandruff caused by a dry scalp, then coconut oil is an excellent alternative. Known to improve skin hydration, this oil is one of the best for reducing the irritation and itchiness caused by dry skin. As well as being soothing, coconut oil has antimicrobial properties that may reduce the severity of dandruff.
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Increasing the amount of healthy fat in your diet can drastically improve your dandruff. Not only do Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to healthy skin and optimal immunity, but they also reduce the likelihood of developing dandruff. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation and irritation from the condition. If you don’t like eating fish, then you can take cod liver oil as a supplement. Alternatively, you can sprinkle flaxseed or chia seeds onto yogurts or smoothies to improve their nutrient profile.
Get The Right Men’s Hair Styling Products To Avoid A Dry Scalp
Avoiding products that dry out your scalp will significantly improve your dandruff. Reducing oil is always a good thing when it comes to fighting dandruff, but utterly stripping the scalp of natural oils is counterproductive. If you use products that flake on the scalp throughout the day, you may find that this contributes to your dandruff. Adding products to your routine that increase flaking may make it look as though you are shedding more. Therefore, you should stick with moisturizing products that don’t increase oil production.
Lower Stress Levels
Minimizing stress can help with dandruff since and allow your body to better self-regulate. Too much stress can put a strain on our immune systems, making it easier for yeast-like Malassezia to take hold. Chronic stress may also alter your hormone balance, which can increase oil production on the scalp. To lower stress levels, guys can exercise regularly, meditate throughout the week, take up a hobby or get more sleep.
When possible, take note of how your dandruff responds to stressful situations. If you notice larger or more frequent flakes, then you’ll know you’re your dandruff is influenced by your stress levels. Although stress isn’t usually the sole cause of dandruff, it can make symptoms more severe.