Dandruff is defined rather vaguely most of the time, and it’s generally thought of rather vaguely. Simply, it’s an accumulation of the same dead skin cells we all shed all the time. In this case they stay on the scalp and won’t go away – or at least not until you are wearing something dark. For most people with the problem the symptom is not the accumulation of the dead skin but rather the shedding of it in flakes large enough to show up all over your clothing.
There are about as many cures as causes of dandruff, and it all looks the same on your shirt, so finding what works is likely going to be a matter of trial and error. Talking to your stylist or barber might give you a couple tips but more than likely they’re just telling you what’s worked for them. Of course, once you find your cure then it doesn’t matter where it came from.
Try some simple remedies before going to expensive shampoos
That’s not to say that the expensive, smelly dandruff shampoo won’t work. It just may not be necessary. And it may not work at all. Try some things that cost less before moving on up to more expensive options.
The simple one is to just try to shampoo more often, with a different shampoo. Give it a couple weeks, but if you aren’t already start shampooing your hair daily and try using something different. Nothing fancy, in fact try one labeled ‘clarifying shampoo.’ Usually that will mean there’s just less there and it will have a better shot at cleaning things out. Those two will cause a lot of problems. If the dandruff goes away and comes back after a couple months, or if it gets a little better but then stops, try switching again.
Lower your stress. Of course, that’s an impossible suggestion for most people who are stressed but often that can be the cause. It may be ‘all in your head’ but in this case bad thoughts can sometimes cause those flakes to appear out of your head. It’s worth a shot, and the benefits extend far beyond a few flakes.
Repeat. Yeah, that third suggestion on the shampoo bottle every comedian makes fun of. Wash your hair again. Especially with medicated dandruff shampoo, there is an advantage to washing a superficially clean scalp over again. Unless you are shaved bald, it’s hard to tell exactly how clean you got things the first time.
Get outside. With thin, thinning, or light hair, some sunlight might help deal with the yeast that can cause more serious dandruff. Of course, if you get too much sun then the resulting peeling sunburn will make your dandruff look minor. Not to mention the ubiquitous long term effects.
Make sure you give any remedy some time to work. Despite what the commercials say, no cure is instant, and that holds doubly true for simple and cheap remedies, effective though they may be. Like everything worthwhile, it takes time.
After that it mostly comes down to medication. Even here there’s hardly one concrete solution. Go ahead and give a few inexpensive things a try but if you have incredibly persistent or serious (heavy) dandruff, then you should probably see your doctor. In anything but a mild or temporary case there is probably a yeast is to blame, specifically Pityrosporon ovale. It doesn’t take medication to combat this all the time but if the simple solutions seem ineffective, especially if they are entirely ineffective, then pull out the big guns.
It can be deceptive, especially if you have been trying something that is supposed to work for many months with no effect, but dandruff is hardly something a person ‘has’. People may be more or less inclined due to lifestyle or oily hair or any number of factors but no one has to have it. Knowing that, and that the solution is not necessarily the one that your friend uses, is the best first step to getting rid of the problem and making it stay gone.