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Scratching Dandruff - The Do's and Don'ts of Treating a Flaky Scalp

Reviewed by
Dr. Sayantani Chakraborty 85% (13 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Dermatology
Dermatologist, Kolkata  •  14 years experience
Scratching Dandruff - The Do's and Don'ts of Treating a Flaky Scalp

Scratching dandruff or a flaky scalp is a common problem that can be quite embarrassing for the person concerned. You comb your hair only to find white flakes all around your shoulder (more visible, if you are wearing a dark colored dress). Men as well as women, can both suffer from a flaky scalp. The characteristic white flakes associated with the condition are nothing, but the dead skin cells that your scalp sheds from time to time.

The trigger for a flaky scalp can be due to myriad of reasons ranging from from stress, to unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits. A flaky scalp can also be an outcome of using harmful hair styling products, hormonal imbalance or certain medical conditions.The condition, though annoying, can be treated successfully. There are certain do's and don'ts associated with a flaky scalp, which if followed diligently, will ensure better and faster results.

The most common mistake that people with a flaky scalp make is scratching their scalp vigorously. The temporary relief is sure to aggravate the condition more, with the possibility of a scalp infection. Resist the temptation, no matter how itchy it gets.

  1. Avoid self-medication. Just because someone with a flaky scalp benefited from certain medications does not guarantee success in your case. The trigger in your case may be different. It would be foolish on your part to try any medication without consulting a physician. It is better to be cautious now than to regret later.
  2. Stress can affect your life in more ways than you can think. In many cases, stress has been found to be a contributing factor resulting in a flaky scalp. Try to live a stress-free life as much as you can. Do not compromise with your sleep for anything. A sound sleep can work wonders to keep stress at bay. It is important that you maintain a healthy sleep cycle (a daily sleep of 6-8 hours is a must). Meditations, yoga, exercise, or physical activities are known to be great stress busters.
  3. Your diet may have an important role to play in a flaky scalp. Fast and processed foods, foods rich in sugar or simple carbohydrates are what most people drool over. However, these foods can spell doom for the overall health. In addition to the many harmful effects, most of these foods are known to trigger an elevated production of sebum by the sebaceous glands. Increased levels of sebum can worsen the dandruff problem. Include more fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables and those rich in vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Keep your body well hydrated. Drink water and healthy fluids (fresh fruit juice, coconut water, soups, to name few) at regular intervals of time.
  4. Follow a healthy hair care routine. Oil massage (warm oil) your hair at least twice a week. Use mild shampoos or those recommended by the doctor. Avoid over shampooing. Also, avoid the extensive use of hair styling products.

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