Here’s the great irony many of you probably know all too well: sometimes, the more effort you put into styling your hair, the more likely you are to wind up with dandruff. But are hair products really the cause of those dreaded flakes? Let’s back up a bit before we answer that.
“Dandruff is part of a spectrum of presentation of the skin disorder Seborrheic dermatitis, commonly seen on the sebaceous or oily areas of the body such as the scalp, face, and trunk,” explains dermatologist Dr. Coreen Copuyoc. “In addition to oil production, this dermatitis is linked to the fungus called Malassezia and immunologic abnormalities.”
So the oilier your scalp, the more likely you are to suffer from flaking. Contrary to the popular belief that dry skin is the primary reason why you’re experiencing snow in the Philippines. It’s oily skin and yeast-like fungus are more likely to leave you flaky. Funky, right?
So does hair product cause dandruff?
It’s not a cause, but it can aggravate it. If you already have dandruff, simple stuff like a change in weather and sweating can make the condition worse. Certain products can cause irritation to people who are sensitive to the chemicals used in them; hairspray, mousse, gel, and wax can also accumulate on your scalp, making it a dank breeding ground for fungi.
How about wearing a hat all day?
“This causes further oil production in the scalp of the wearer,” Dr. Copuyoc shares, warning that it may encourage malassezia growth as well because the fungus feeds off sebum, aka your natural oil secretions. “It is pertinent to keep scalp fresh and to always make sure the cap is clean,” she says. Pop your lid off every now and then fam.
Is there a secret technique to avoid becoming a white walker?
There’s no known cure for dandruff, but there are many simple ways to control them. Practicing smart grooming is still the best way to keep dandruff in check. That means showering and shampooing regularly to avoid a buildup of oil and sweat on your scalp–it’s not really that hard. Just take care and don't overdo it with the washing since too much can actually strip your skin and hair of sebum, just like your oily face.
Those anti-dandruff products aren’t just marketing too, so grab a bottle: “Shampoos containing salicylic acid, tar, selenium, sulfur, or zinc are helpful and effective,” advises Dr. Copuyoc.
Dr. Coreen Copuyoc is a board-certified dermatologist and a diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society. She presently holds clinic in BGC at Suaviss, Wink Laser Studio, and Skin 101, and in Laser 360 Forbes. Follow her on Instagram as @coreenmd.