ITCHY, white, flaky scalp is one of the most annoying hair conditions that women battle with. What makes it even more antagonising is that it can recur regardless of the treatment method used.
Dermatologist and author of The Hair in Black Women Dr Neil Persadsingh explained that dandruff cannot be cured, it can only be controlled. He compared it to a case of hypertension or diabetes — if the patient cooperates with their doctor it can be prevented from getting worse. However, there is no permanent solution.
A popular hair myth in Jamaica is that dandruff and dry scalp are different, but the dermatologist told All Woman that this is not so. Another misconception that he dismissed, is the belief that having dandruff means you have eczema. He explained that though eczema can cause dandruff, not all people with dandruff have eczema.
Why is your scalp flaky?
Dr Persadsingh says most times itchy scalp is simply a sign that your hair is dirty and needs to be washed. It can also result from seborrhoea, a severe dandruff condition resulting from a yeast called Pityrosporum ovale.
He said eczema that involves the scalp can also cause dandruff. Braids can also cause dandruff, he said, because the braid is not your natural hair, you do not feel that it is dirty, and it attracts more dust and this causes irritation of the scalp.
How can you control dandruff?
1. Use anti-dandruff shampoos. Dr Persadsingh recommends Keto Plus and DandZap.
2. Use Betnovate scalp lotion (alcohol-based preparation).
3. Use Sulphur 8 or Top Brass.
4. Wash your hair once a week. Some women find it difficult to do this because of the tedious process associated with drying and styling both natural hair and weaves. And because of this they go up to two weeks and even three months without washing their hair, and when it's dirty it itches.
5. Some of the hair preparations you use on the scalp can be very grimy and they dry out the scalp and the hair itself. Use products which are water, alcohol and oil-based.
6. People who have seborrhoea are treated with oral medication like Diflucan.
7. Hair pomade: This is a mixture of salicylic acid, sulphur and cortisone. Leave it on the scalp overnight and wash your hair the next day.
8. Take care of the hair. Go to a competent hairdresser and make sure she puts you on a good regimen.
9. Women who have dandruff on the scalp often complain about developing acne on their back. For a situation like this, Dr Persadsingh recommends that a towel be placed on your shoulders whenever you are combing your hair to avoid breakouts.