Most people deal with dandruff at some point in their life. No one wants to deal with those unwelcome flakes. However, usually washing with Selsun Blue, Head and Shoulders, tea tree oil natural products or other dandruff products helps to eliminate the dandruff problem.
However, in some cases, dandruff may not be the real issue. If you’ve been trying every available product for dandruff and you do not see results, then maybe you don’t really have dandruff.
How can you figure out if you really have dandruff or you’re dealing with something else? Let’s take a closer look at dandruff and some of the other hair conditions that often masquerade as dandruff.
How do you know if your dandruff is just dandruff, a false alarm, or a real symptom of something else entirely?
First, before we look at some of the hair conditions that are often mistaken for dandruff, it’s important to know a bit about real dandruff. What actually causes real dandruff?
Experts believe that the excess growth of malassezia, which is a fungus, causes dandruff to occur. This fungus is found on everyone’s scalp – even on the scalps of individuals that don’t have dandruff. However, when an overgrowth of the fungus occurs, you end up dealing with dandruff.
Experts aren’t really sure why overgrowth of the fungus occurs. Some think that it could be a result of a poor diet, hormonal changes, a compromised immune system or poor hair hygiene. Usually regularly cleansing the hair and scalp with a good shampoo will eliminate the dandruff problem.
Active ingredients that work well for dandruff include selenium sulfide, tea tree oil, zinc pyrithione, coal tar and ketoconazole. If you’re dealing with a stubborn case of dandruff, rotating those ingredients may help provide better results.
The False Alarms:
Sometimes it may seem like you have dandruff, but it could be a false alarm. Several hair conditions act a bit like dandruff, but they can’t be solved with regular dandruff products. Here’s a look at three hair conditions that many people mistake for dandruff.
① Dry Scalp
One common problem that may be mistaken for dandruff is a dry scalp. Certain types of products can dry the scalp, especially shampoo. If you use a shampoo that is very harsh, such as sulfate-based shampoos, then you may end up dealing with scalp dryness. Excessively hot water, water that has a high pH or a high mineral content and weather changes can also result in a dry scalp.
Many individuals that regularly blow dry their hair, us texturizers, hair coloring or relaxers end up dealing with this problem, since these products and treatments can dry out your scalp. If you don’t drink enough water, then you could have a dry scalp and dry skin.
A proper diet is also important to keep your skin, including the scalp, healthy and moisturized. If you’re not getting enough vitamin C or essential fatty acids, you could end up with an itchy, dry scalp. Adding more leafy green veggies, fish, nuts and citrus fruits to your diet may help.
② Product Buildup
Another common problem that often looks a bit like dandruff is when you end up with a buildup of hair products on the scalp. In many cases, it’s conditioner that causes this issue, and it’s especially common in individuals who have curly, kinky or relaxed hair with a lot of new growth.
Sometimes conditioner becomes trapped on the scalp of your hair when you rinse your hair. If you don’t gently work to free the conditioner from the scalp or the hair near the scalp, it can turn into a flaky, itchy problem once your hair is dry.
Usually, product buildup is a bit gummy and oily instead of dry. Sometimes oils, serums, and gels can result in buildup on the hair and scalp, resulting in conditions that look a bit like dandruff.
③ Psoriasis and Seborrheic Dermatitis
Last, sometimes that dandruff may be a sign that you have another type of scalp problem. Distinguishing between regular dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis are tough.
To figure out the real issue, pay attention to the kind of flaking you’re dealing with. If you have seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis, you’ll usually notice crusting, redness and other symptoms with the dandruff flakes.
With seborrhea, usually, you end up with an oily type of flakes. Psoriasis often results in dry, thick flakes. The good news is that treatments designed for regular dandruff may help to treat seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis effectively. You can always visit your dermatologist to find out if you’re dealing with real dandruff or another problem.
Ladies, have you ever mistaken one of these conditions for dandruff?