A naaniFAM Member Wrote:
"hey i am ready to dread my hair however i have noticed because i have stopped using an anti-dandruff shampoo i have dandruff i have tried vinegar and rosemary but it hasn't worked. i want to get rid of it before i put my dreads in. do you have nay ideas? i have found a tea tree anti-dandruff shampoo that says it leaves no residue, but im not sure about it, please get back." --thank you, gaz - United Kingdom
People who have problems with dandruff will continue
to have issues with it no matter what their hair style. You should be
less concerned about residue and more concerned about your dandruff
getting worse if left properly untreated.
Most anti-dandruff remedies require frequent shampooing with medicated products. I would suggest using whatever products you've used in the past that you've had success with. In addition, do not listen to advice which tells you to avoid shampooing your hair. Instead, choose a dreadlocking method that enables you to shampoo your hair more frequently and will not lead to excessive unraveling (two-strands or braids for new lockers and interlocks for those who've already begun). --much luv, naaniWhat About Dry, Itchy Scalp?
Scalp disorders are common amongst those with African/Black hair types. Here's a quick breakdown of various scalp conditions:Dandruff
is the result of an abnormal turnover of skin cells. There are many causes for dandruff including profuse sweating, hereditary factors, yeast infections, poor diet, alkaline soaps, hormonal changes and sometimes even stress.Dry Scalp
results from a loss of moisture. It's characterized by small, dry flakes. Most people complain of tightness of the scalp and itchiness.Seborrheic Dermatitis
is characterized by snow-like flaking (or no flaking at all), severe itchiness, redness and inflammation. See a dermatalogist if any of these symptoms are present.Psoraisis
and other serious problems require that you consult a physician or dermatologist. If you have tried to remove the dandruff by "scratching your scalp" and found it difficult to do so or have noticed redness and scabbing, stop trying to remedy the problem and get your butt to a doctor!
More common scalp issues can be remedied by using anti-dandruff shampoos
or simply employing a change in diet. Believe it or not, not drinking enough water and eating too many fatty foods can adversely effect the health of your hair.
When using an over-the-counter (OTC) product, follow the manufacturer's directions. Believe it or not, most anti-dandruff treatments require that you use them DAILY. But what black person with a relaxer or dreads is going to shampoo that frequently?
Thing is, in order to remedy the condition, you're selling yourself short if you don't follow the directions accordingly. Look at it this way, if your doctor prescribes medication that you're supposed to take twice daily and you only take it once...do you expect to be cured anytime soon?
So what is a gal to do? When looking for OTC products, be sure to read labels. You want to compare active ingredients because there's no reason to buy different types of shampoos if they contain the same thing. At the end of this article is a list of current active ingredients used to treat dandruff but before we get to that...Are Your Products Causing Your Itchy Scalp and Dandruff?
I can't tell you how many times people come to this site and say I use this locking gel or that dreadlocks wax but they have itchy, dry scalp. Did you ever think that the products you're using aren't helping matters or might actually be causing them? Far too many people are "Penny-wise, Pound-foolish." What this means is you're far more willing to pay for a cheap, inexpensive product than you are for a quality, expensive one. The cheap almost always comes out expensive...you get what you pay for, you know the sayings.
If the product you're using causes your scalp to itch OR while using a product you find that your scalp itches, then why are you using that product(s)? The next thing you know you're spending money on oils, scalp dressings and anti-dandruff shampoos to get rid of the itchyness. So where the locking gel or dreadlocks waxes were cheap, you end up spending what you saved in products to fix those issues that these products subsequently caused. Doesn't make much sense when you look at it that way does it?
Natural products will not irritate your scalp. They have a "natural" ability to mesh with our skin and hair in such a way that we're able to pull out the beneficial elements of the ingredients without suffering the negative after effects that come with using chemical based products.
Natural products will moisturize and protect. Natural products are indeed more expensive but you'll use less of these products than you would of any other. Why? Because you're no longer fixing problems. If you don't have itchy scalp, if you don't have dryness, then you begin using hair care products for their overall intent, to cleanse and to style.
If you have itchy scalp sans dandruff, try rethinking your entire hair care product routine. Ebony folks in particular are so used to scratching and greasing their scalps that we actually think that this procedure is normal. Like it's part of our cultural heritage or something to have flakes.
Try switching to Sulfate-Free Shampoos, Natural Conditioners and Natural Butters. I made the switch over 5 years ago and have not needed to grease my scalp, have not suffered from dryness or dandruff ever since. I can't tell you how great it is to go days without feeling the need to scratch my head.
List of Active Ingredients that Combat Dandruff
To date, the FDA has approved six active ingredients for the treatment of dandruff (October, 2002). These ingredients appear below and are listed in alphabetical order:
Coal-tar slows skin cell production but has a distinct odor. It is very effective in treating dandruff. Varying percentages of coal tar are found in the most popular/effective OTC dandruff shampoos. There has been recent commotion surrounding the belief that coal-tar has carcinogenic properties but the FDA rejected this claim in 2001 (read FDA article).
Ketoconazole has anti-fungal properties but isn't recommended for those under the age of 12. Nizoral is currently the only shampoo containing this ingredient. There has been a great deal of research surrounding this active ingredient and it has proven very effective in the treatment of dandruff.
Pyrithione Zinc reduces itching and flaking.
Salicyclic Acid removes scales and promotes water retention by causing a mild inflammation of your skin cells. This leads to an overproduction of skin cells and although this is the primary cause of dandruff, salicyclic acid works. It's often mixed with sulfur to treat dandruff.
Selenium Sulfide has anti-fungal properties and slows the production of skin cells. Some professionals do not recommend it's use on color-treated hair.
Sulfur is often combined with salicyclic acid. Sulfur has antiseptic properties and helps loosen flakes so that they may be washed away. Some argue that it causes discoloration.
Some Essential Oils such as Tea Tree and Rosemary have natural anti-fungal properties and are effective at treating dandruff. A small percent of the population has allergic reactions to certain essentials so do a small patch-test before using any product containing essentials. Some essentials should also be avoided by pregnant women (especially when used "neat"...full-strength). Beyond that, essential oils are a great alternative to chemical remedies and they smell great too!