Dandruff: Is it a Seasonal Phenomenon?
We’ve all been there. Whether we’re suffering from chapped lips and cracked hands in winter, or soothing the sunburn in summer, our skin certainly feels the elements.
It’s easy to forget that skin is our largest organ. It’s even easier to forget that the scalp is part of this organ. Faced with products, hairstyling and pollution every day, our scalps suffer more than most. They’re also far more affected by the weather than you might think.
Dandruff and weather: what’s the link?
Believe it or not, there’s actually a direct link between dandruff and sunlight. Specifically, dandruff can be caused by an overproduction of Malassezia, the harmless yeast found in our scalp. However, if we produce too much of this fungus, the skin becomes irritated and flakes off as dandruff.
However, it can be beneficial to step outside occasionally. UVA rays counteract this fungus – remember, most fungi like to live in dark, moist environments, so getting some safe sun could be just what you need.
Extreme weather, dry scalp
Alternatively, you may suffer from a dry scalp during the hotter or winter months. While a dry scalp itself isn’t actually dandruff (dry skin is smaller flakes, while dandruff is larger and often greasy), it can lead to dandruff.
In winter, our bodies face freezing temperatures and blasts of central heating. This fluctuation in temperatures dries out the scalp, leading to flaking.
Don’t forget, you could also suffer from flaking in the summer. Most of us don’t think to add sun cream to our hair parting! While peeling hair from sunburn isn’t dandruff, it can lead to embarrassing flakes and could leave your scalp vulnerable.
Combating dandruff throughout the year
While both hot and cold extremes may make dandruff worse, it can crop up at any time. Beyond weather, dandruff may be the result of:
- Poor diet – processed foods kick off insulin production and stimulate hormones, which may increase natural oil levels
- Stress/anxiety – our bodies go into ‘fight or flight’ mode and leave our immune system less able to battle fungi
- Personal body chemistry – dandruff starts at puberty, which may be a result of hormonal changes and an increase in oil on the skin
Don’t worry – we’re not doomed to flakes throughout the year. To keep symptoms at bay, a medicated shampoo will attack dandruff at the source. Nizoral® contains Ketoconazole, an antifungal which can give visible results in just two weeks. After treatment, you can prevent recurrences by washing your hair with it twice a month.
Seasonal sufferer? Check out these tips
If you notice symptoms in times of extreme temperatures, consider using a medicated shampoo to take care of dandruff.
Avoid direct sunlight at peak times
At the height of summer, try to stay out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm. If you must go outdoors, use sun protection that has both UVB and UVA protection, and wear a sun hat.
Keep hydrated throughout the year
This is not just for the summer, ladies and gents. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of dry skin, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of liquid to help you stay hydrated. Avoid diuretics like tea and coffee – these can make things worse.
Wash your hair with tepid water
A hot shower may be tempting in winter, but too hot and you could rid your skin of essential oils. Keep your scalp balanced with tepid water, or try cycling between hot and cold. This will encourage blood flow for healthy follicles.
By massaging your hair gently, either with your fingertips or a scalp exfoliating brush, you can distribute oils more evenly, encourage blood flow and keep your scalp moist. Do this in the shower or just with your fingers on dry hair. Brushing your hair frequently will also ensure oils distribute correctly.
Don’t blast the heating
You might want to hug the radiator in winter, but it could be making your skin suffer. Central heating may make winter colds worse, impacting your immune system and therefore your scalp. Take regular fresh air breaks and wear more jumpers!
Look after yourself
Winter colds and summer burnouts are all too common. Keep your scalp in check from the inside out – avoid processed foods, eat natural oils and healthy fats, and practise stress-busting exercises. Yoga is a great way to turn off that ‘fight or flight’ that can affect the scalp.
Whatever the weather, dandruff can crop up at any time. Look after your mind, body and soul with these weather-busting tips. Then you can let Ketoconazole take care of dandruff.
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