The winter season and dandruff go hand in hand for many people.
Dandruff is an embarrassing and uncomfortable problem, as the itchy scalp leaves your shoulders dusted with flakes. It can affect both men and women.
The cold air during the winter days makes your scalp more prone to dryness by stripping away its natural moisture. This is the start of the problem of dandruff and an itchy scalp.
Apart from dry and cold winter air, dandruff can also be caused by not washing your hair often with shampoo, not brushing your hair thoroughly, side effects of hair care products, hormonal fluctuations in the body, fungal infections, and skin allergies.
While it is true that dandruff is a common problem during the winter, it doesn’t mean you cannot get rid of this irritating condition. You can use some simple and effective solutions to treat your dandruff. Even better, these tips and tricks can be used to prevent dandruff in the first place.
Here are the top 10 tips to prevent and treat dandruff this winter.
1. Wash Your Hair Regularly
During the cold winter months, many people wash their hair less often than during the hot summer. A dirty scalp and hair can aggravate the problem of dandruff and even cause more itchiness.
To prevent dandruff, it is highly recommended that you regularly wash your hair. But avoid washing it too often, as this will dry out your scalp and can lead to dandruff. Wash your hair not more than 2 or 3 times a week using the right kind of shampoo. Choose a shampoo that has a moisturizing formula for a dry scalp and a clarifying formula for an oily scalp.
Work the shampoo into a really good lather using your fingers, and leave it in your hair for at least 1 minute before rinsing it out. If you cannot tolerate cold water, use lukewarm water to wash your hair. Avoid using hot water, which can strip moisture out of the scalp and hair, causing more dryness.
2. Brushing is Important
Messy hair not only looks bad but can also contribute to dandruff. Brushing or combing your hair thoroughly is necessary to prevent or remove the dry flakes from your scalp.
Also, brushing can stimulate blood flow to the scalp, which is important for healthy and dandruff-free hair.
To prevent dandruff, brush your hair from your scalp downward with steady, firm strokes. This helps distribute the oil from your scalp along the hair strands. Brushing also helps keep your hair shiny and healthy.
While brushing is important, you must make sure that the combs and hairbrushes you use are clean. Clean your brushes and combs in warm water to keep them free of dirt and oil residue.
Also, do not share your hairbrushes or combs with anyone.
3. Massage with Oil Regularly
Massaging your hair and scalp with lukewarm oil is one of the best ways to prevent dandruff. It is important for both dry as well as oily hair.
Oil provides much-needed moisture to a dry scalp, which is responsible for dandruff to a considerable extent. It also helps control excess oil production on the scalp; when the scalp is dry, the oil glands produce more oil to compensate for the dryness.
Unfortunately, it makes the hair look greasy but the scalp still remains dry. When you oil your hair regularly (do not overdo, though) you help maintain a proper amount of sebum on your scalp. Plus, oiling ensures healthy and shiny hair.
- Warm up some olive, coconut or almond oil. You can also add a few drops of tea tree essential oil in the carrier oil.
- Apply the oil on the hair roots.
- Using your fingertips, massage the scalp with the oil for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Leave the oil on your hair for 1 hour.
- Wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times a week and dandruff will stay away.
4. Indian Lilac Water Rinse
The antifungal and antibacterial properties of Indian lilac, also known as neem, help treat and prevent dandruff. Not just dandruff, neem can effectively treat other hair problems like scalp acne, itchy scalp and hair loss.
Plus, it helps open clogged pores leading to blocked hair follicles.
- Boil a handful of neem leaves in 4 to 5 cups of water for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Cool and strain the solution.
- After shampooing your hair, use this decoction as a hair rinse.
- Do this 2 or 3 times a week.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar Treatment
Regularly treating your scalp with apple cider vinegar will effectively prevent the problem of dandruff.
It also works as a natural hair clarifier and helps clear clogged pores and hair follicles. In addition, it restores the pH balance of the scalp, thereby inhibiting the growth of yeast, another common cause of dandruff.
- Mix 2 tablespoons each of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and water.
- Apply it on your scalp and massage.
- Allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then rinse your hair with lukewarm water.
- Use this natural treatment 2 or 3 times a week.
6. Manage Your Stress Level
Excess stress is another common cause of dandruff. Stress changes the chemical balance in your body, which in turn causes an oversecretion of oil on the scalp, leading to dandruff.
Moreover, stress makes you susceptible to a number of conditions and diseases. Hence, it is important to keep stress at bay.
To manage stress, do meditation once every day early in the morning to calm your mind and body.
You can also take a restorative walk or practice yoga to control stress.
7. Enjoy a Little Sun
A little sunlight can go a long way to prevent dandruff. Sunlight promotes the production of vitamin D3 and stimulates the production of healthy oils on the skin and scalp.
To prevent dandruff, make it a point to spend a few minutes exposing your head to the sunlight each day, in the morning or late afternoon. Avoid sun exposure during the peak hours.
Make sure to take precautions to protect the exposed skin on your face and arms to avoid a suntan. Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or above before going out.
8. Use a Humidifier
The arid winter air can dry out your scalp and lead to or aggravate dandruff. In fact, the low humidity in the air both outdoors and indoors during the winter can add to a buildup of more flaky skin on the scalp.
To add moisture to the air, use a humidifier in your home and office. It will control the humidity in the air and make your skin and scalp less prone to dryness.
You can buy a humidifier from the market, or place a bowl of hot water in the room to increase the moisture in the air. Be sure to put it in a safe place to prevent accidents.
9. Pay Attention to Your Diet
A poor diet can be a major reason behind your dandruff problem. From food allergies to nutritional deficiencies, there are many diet-related causes of dandruff. Hence, to prevent dandruff, take a look at your diet.
Adding more foods rich in zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B6 can help prevent dandruff.
- Foods rich in zinc include oysters, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, bran, pine nuts, pecans and shellfish.
- Foods with a high vitamin B6 content include liver, cod, raw red and green peppers, fatty fish, turkey, hazel nuts, potatoes and cashews.
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, olives, and eggs.
- Also, stay away from some common offenders like cheese, full-fat milk and very spicy or sugary foods.
10. Prevent Dehydration
Just like your diet, your water intake can affect your dandruff problem.
It is essential to drink plenty of water to keep your body free of toxins and other harmful impurities. By drinking water, you also keep the skin hydrated. A well-hydrated scalp is less prone to dandruff.
- Experts recommend drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water daily to keep the body well-hydrated.
- Along with water, include fruits and vegetables rich in water content in your diet.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol and coffee, which contribute to dehydration.
- During the winter months, switch to an anti-dandruff shampoo.
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your regular shampoo when you wash your hair. Add one drop of this essential oil per ounce of shampoo.
- Make sure that the towel you use to pat dry your hair is clean enough. Wash your towel regularly and let it dry under the sun.
- The pillowcase you use should be changed and washed regularly.
- Wearing a hat protects your scalp from the cold air and helps prevent dandruff.
- Always make sure your hair is completely dry before you lay your head on your pillow. Sleeping on wet hair can aggravate dandruff problem.
- Extensive use of shampoos, gels, hairsprays and other hair care products can leave residue that builds up over time. Hence, it is recommended to use hair care products in moderation.
- Avoid coloring your hair in the winter, or make sure you pick a dye that does not dry out your hair.
- Give your hair a steam treatment to regain the moisture content and strengthen your hair.
- Resist the urge to scratch your scalp. It will only increase the irritation and lead to a vicious cycle.