Help! I Have Dandruff


No one wants dandruff. It’s both itchy and embarrassing when your scalp is shedding icky white flakes. So how do you make it stop immediately? I turned to top dermatologist Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, Naturopath Nicole Weigl, and Butterfly Studio Senior Stylist Vanessa Fernandez to find out what causes the condition and how you can restore your scalp back to health. 

What Causes It
Everybody has a different take on what gets dandruff going. Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas’ explains that Seborrheic Dermatitis, as its also known, is due to yeast overgrowth and keratin buildup. There isn’t always an explanation as to why, but one theory blames diet. “Theoretically, sugar excess can be fed upon by yeast, so avoid processed foods,” says Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas.  Weigl seconds her theory. The products you are using might be making the problem worse: “Certain shampoos and hair products can irritate the scalp causing it to flake,” says Weigl. It could, however, be as simple as seasonal changes; Fernandez notes that more of her clients have dandruff during extreme heat or extreme cold weather.

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How to Fix it
Shampoo it away. Both Fernandez andDr. Alexiades-Armenakas recommend shampooing with Neutrogena T Gel and Head & Shoulders Intensive every other day until dandruff clears up (usually about a week). Then switch to once a week to keep flakes at bay. Fernandez also likes Kerastase Bain Exfoliant Hydratant; it has microbeads that help exfoliate the scalp. If you want a more natural option, Weigl suggests looking for a shampoo with green tea or tea tree oil to reduce flakes.

Change your diet: Weigl tells clients suffering from dandruff to eat a diet rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats which aid skin repair. This includes flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, fatty fish, and omega-3 rich eggs. Other anti-inflammatory foods include fruits and veggies, fish, lean meat, nuts and seeds, legumes, and whole grains. Processed foods, sugars and dairy are no no’s.

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Apply natural oils to your scalp: Coconut oil and camellia oil both moisturizing and healing. Rub it directly into the scalp and let is work its magic for an hour (or overnight) every other day. Shampoo as usual.

Get a prescription: If all else fails, a severe outbreak can be cured with a daily application of Cormax Scalp Solution, according to Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas. You can maintain your calm scalp by shampooing with a drugstore dandruff shampoo once a week.

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