Beauty Myths: Can You Get Dandruff From Not Washing Your Hair Enough?

There has been a lot of discussion about not shampooing your hair as frequently. The no-poo movement has been gaining steam for a number of years, and there are lots of celebs who claim that washing their hair infrequently is the key to their gorgeous locks. We also learned that not washing your hair as much can make it less greasy. However, what if not shampooing frequently can lead to other problems?

You’ve probably heard the warning that if you don’t wash your hair enough, you could end up with dandruff. Is it legit or is it just something that parents say to get their kids to wash their hair?

Everyone is familiar with the issue of ever-dreaded dandruff from all of those shampoo commercials that show unsightly flakes on dark-colored clothing, but what exactly is it? Nancy Twine, the Founder of Briogeo Hair explains that dandruff is a scalp disorder characterized by the shedding of dead skin cells, aka those aforementioned flakes that show up on your fave black t-shirts. The issue is that the exact cause of dandruff is unknown. Nancy states that dry skin is the most common trigger for dandruff, but infrequent washing, an oily scalp, or irritation from hair care products can also contribute to the development of these pesky flakes. Therefore, not shampooing your hair regularly can cause hair, oil, and skin cells to build up, causing dandruff.

If you already have dandruff, laying off the shampoo isn’t the wisest idea because infrequent washing can lead to the buildup of even more oil and dead skin cells on the scalp, making dandruff worse. Nancy explains that this causes further irritation and ultimately more flakes.

So what about all that stuff about the benefits of washing your hair a couple of times a week? There is still something to be said about that because over-washing your hair can also result in dandruff. It’s all about finding the right balance for your hair. Nancy explains, “Thanks to sensitivities to certain ingredients in hair care products, shampooing too often or using too many styling products may also irritate your scalp and cause dandruff.” Watch out for things such as parabens, SLS, and synthetic fragrances and colors because they can irritate your scalp.

So what is a person with dandruff to do? The key is getting the balance right when it comes to washing your hair. Nancy explains that this is different for every person because you have to take an individual’s hair texture, thickness, and oil production into consideration. Washing your hair every two to four days is ideal. When you do shampoo, make sure that you are using the right products. You don’t want to irritate your scalp further. Nancy suggests looking for a formula with scalp-soothing ingredients like the Be Gentle, Be Kind Green Tea Shampoo ($19, Briogeo). It contains aloe vera, a natural anti-inflammatory, which reduces irritation and soothes that annoying my scalp-is-so-itchy sensation.

You can also try a dandruff treatment to tackle flakes. For fans of DIY hacks, Nancy suggests an easy homemade version. Combine two tablespoons each of brown sugar, rolled oats, and an ultra-hydrating conditioner like Rosarco Reparative Conditioner $24, Briogeo. Apply it to your scalp and it will gently remove dandruff and other irritating buildups while providing moisturization and protection.

One thing you should not be used if you have dandruff is dry shampoo. If you’re trying to extend your time between washes, dry shampoo is not the way to do it. Using it will lead to more buildup, thus more flakes. It’ll take some playing around to figure out the cleansing routine that’s best for you, but be patient. Avoiding extreme over-washing and under-washing is a good place to start, as is choosing a non-irritating shampoo. Once you figure out a routine, you will soon have a balanced, flake-free scalp.

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