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Dandruff is caused by a fungus called Malassezia, which feeds on the sebaceous oils produced by our hair follicles. This fungus is normal and is found on most everyone’s scalp. If you find yourself dealing with dandruff flakes (which differ from dry skin in that dandruff flakes tend to be clumped, waxy and a bit greasy) you may need to increase the frequency with which you shampoo.
If increased shampooing doesn’t stop the problem – or if you are already shampooing daily – you should look into using anti-dandruff treatment shampoos. These products contain ingredients like zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, and salicylic acid, or ketoconazole as active ingredients to kill the fungus and help bring the problem under control. Use the lather-rinse-repeat method and make sure to allow a good foamy lather sit on the scalp for 3-5 minutes each time. You may need to rotate between brands with different active ingredients in order to ensure that the malassezia fungus doesn’t grow resistant to the product and thus become less effective. Switching brands once a month is a good means to combat this.
Once you manage to clear up the dandruff symptoms, you should be able to maintain the hair’s condition by using weekly applications of the product.
Some people prefer a more homeopathic approach to treating dandruff. If you prefer a more “natural” solution, try using a solution of 2 parts Vinegar with 6 parts water as a rinse for your scalp. You can apply this to the scalp and massage it in before bedtime (wrapping your head in a towel to sleep) and reapply the solution in the morning when you wake. After this, rinse your head with water.
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