This Thing Called Dandruff
You can't call them snows but they seem to have the color of one; your scalp becomes so itchy that you wish you could borrow rakes in their dozens to help you scratch it. What could be wrong with your hair and scalp? Well, just in case you don't know until now, it is dandruff. That nasty and annoying skin condition is why flakes fall off your scalp and you experience itchiness. If you have another skin condition called Seborrheic dermatitis, you have every reason to link it with dandruff.
Perhaps you are already blaming that skin condition on the irregular upkeep of your hair and scalp; you are like, if only you washed your hair daily with shampoo, maybe you wouldn't have come down with dandruff. The truth is, even those who wash their hair twice a day still have dandruff. Dandruff is never as a result of poor hygiene although being unkempt can worsen it.
The skin of the head as with most other parts of the body is composed of cells that are constantly dividing and replacing themselves. That means that as one skin cell dies, it is being replaced by another one. Those whitish flakes that fall off your scalp and hair are dead skin cells. They assume their size and shape after mixing with sebum, the body's natural oil.
You know what? Everyone experiences dead skin cells falling off their scalp but the difference between someone that has dandruff and another person that doesn't have is the rate at which their skin cells mature and die. The rate is incredibly faster than what is seen in a healthy scalp.
Scientists are still investigating what the exact cause of dandruff is because as of today, there are no conclusive submissions on this subject. Howbeit, several things have been implicated in most cases where this annoying skin condition has been observed. In the next section below, we shall touch on those things briefly.
Predisposing Factors To Dandruff
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The factors to be discussed below are tagged predisposing factors because no exact cause of dandruff has been pinpointed. However, because many people having dandruff also present with these conditions, some theories abound that these things to be soon discussed are the causes of dandruff. Let's take a look at them.
1. Seborrheic dermatitis
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Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that affects not just the scalp but also other skin parts around the head namely eyebrows, nose, back of the ear, neck, and also the breastbone. People with oily skins are the ones that normally come down with Seborrheic dermatitis the most and once they have this condition, they are an easy candidate for dandruff too.
A fungus which goes by the name Malassezia has been implicated as the cause of Seborrheic dermatitis. It is a normal flora of the scalp and it subsists on the sebum (oil) on it. Under normal circumstance, it shouldn't cause any irritation, but it has been observed in people with Seborrheic dermatitis that their population becomes escalated and that means that more skin cells die and have to be replaced. Inflammation results and the skin cells constantly dying off get mixed with the sebum (body's natural oil) on the scalp to cause dandruff.
2. Dry Scalp
Individuals whose scalps are always dry have been found to come down with dandruff often. Many reasons can account for why a person's skin may constantly dry out. Some of these are connected to diet, lifestyle habits such as smoking, not drinking enough water daily to the prevailing weather condition at a time.
Typically, during the winter period, there is a high chance of the skin drying too quickly. That's because the hair outside is usually cold and dry while and that may strip the scalp's of its natural oil thereby causing it to dry quickly.
Where the reason you have dandruff is that your scalp is always dry, the flakes won't be pronounced. And in most cases, all you need is any of olive oil, coconut oil or almond oil and you can save yourself all the hurdles that dandruff brings. Apply any of these oils liberally after your bath every day.
Although the onset of dandruff can be at any age, adolescents and middle-aged people are often the ones that suffer this skin condition the most. Again, men on the average seem to be more predisposed to dandruff more than women, a condition that has been linked to hormonal differences.
4. Special Skin Conditions
People who have skin conditions such as eczema, ringworm, psoriasis and the likes are more likely to be a candidate for dandruff than someone without any of these. For instance, the fungus that causes ringworm (Tinea capitis) has also been implicated in causing dandruff too.
Psoriasis arises as a result of the immune system recognizing self as a non-self. It manifests in a scaly, reddish, and itchy skin. Typically, anyone that has psoriasis will most likely have dandruff too. Psoriasis can be so severe that it can affect almost every and any part of the body.
5. Allergic Reaction
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Among the factors that predispose a person to dandruff is an allergic reaction to skin care products that are not compatible with one's skin. Where a person uses a shampoo or hair cream, for instance, just because their friend uses the same without first confirming if it is compatible with their skin type, the end result might be a skin irritation in the form of dandruff.
As such, before settling for any shampoo, cream, or hair product, it is always nice to know the makeup of such and asks necessary questions. Also, where you can trace your dandruff to the time you started using a skin care product, it would be better to stop the usage of such. It means that your skin is reacting to the product.
Tea Tree Oil & Dandruff Treatment : How?
The tea tree is an Australian tree technically known as Melaleuca alternifolia. Its oil which is commonly known as Melaleuca oil has been used extensively as a home remedy for addressing a lot of health and skin issues including razor bumps and ingrown hairs. That's because the tea tree oil has antimicrobial, anti-inflammation, and anti-stringent properties. The oil which is the active ingredient in many home remedy recipes is extracted from the tea tree leaves by steam distillation.
The oil of the tea tree is volatile and can have a burning sensation on the skin if it is not well diluted or if the skin is very sensitive. The tea tree oil has been used extensively as an active ingredient in most skin care products such as body creams, lotions, shampoos, moisturizers, and the rest. And guess what? the tea tree oil has enormous potentials to put a stop to dandruff on your head and that we are going to show in this piece.
Tea tree oil with its anti-fungal capacity can put the fungus that is implicated in dandruff to check. As earlier noted, the fungus, Malassezia, is responsible for the abnormal production and death of skin cells and when these cells die, they mix with the body's natural oil called sebum to cause dandruff and acne. A regular application of tea tree oil in the exact quantity can help to address this challenge. Check below on how to use tea tree oil to treat dandruff.
Using Tea Tree Oil To Treat Dandruff
Every oil type has its organic and pure form. The organic oil is always filled with other substances that would limit the amount of the oil that is available for action and that is why when choosing the tea tree oil type, you should go for the purest one. You can get the pure tea tree oil from reputable drugstore around you. Having gotten the tea tree oil, the next question would be, how do you use it?
That's a valid question because far from you just applying the oil directly onto your scalp, you need to get a carrier to mix the tea tree oil with so it doesn't irritate your skin. One common carrier for tea tree oil is shampoo. Simply get a mild shampoo and mix it with the tea tree oil in ratio 1:3. That is, for every 3 ml of shampoo, you add 1 ml of the tea tree oil.
Nowadays, there are even shampoos that have tea tree oil as part of their ingredients but most often than not, these shampoos don't prove to be effective in fighting dandruff perhaps because the tea tree oil wasn't added in the right proportion. That is why mixing the tea tree oil by yourself can be a bit more reliable than buying an already prepared shampoo with oil.
One more advantage of mixing the tea tree oil and shampoo yourself is that you can get to test how compatible the mixing is with your skin type. Tea tree oil can be very strong and the amount that each person's skin can accommodate without being irritated differs. As such, mixing the oil with your shampoo by yourself gives you the control of usage. you can test it for a while with your skin before mixing the shampoo and tea tree oil on a large scale.
Now that you have the mixture ready, apply the oil liberally to your hair and scalp and allow it to remain there for some hours before you rinse it off. Of course, it would take some time for the tea tree oil and shampoo to get to your scalp and work out the magic and so, rinsing it off too early would do you no good. Apply this shampoo with tea tree oil twice a day for a few days to get a very quick result.
Among other things, you would experience an immediate relief from the itching and possible inflammation that might have resulted because of dandruff. The combined effects of shampoo and tea tree oil as moisturizers too would prevent your scalp from drying off incessantly.
Further Advantages Of Using Tea Tree Oil On Your Hair
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We earlier talked about certain skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, ringworm and the likes; these and many more can be kept at bay or minimized with a continuous and consistent usage of the tea tree oil on your hair. It's true that psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition but its symptoms some of which include itching and swelling can as well be alleviated by using tea tree oil.
That said, you would be amazed at the beauty that tea tree oil can add to your hair apart from the health purposes we have earlier said it has. Let's briefly consider some additional benefits of using tea tree oil on the hair apart from using it to treat skin infections.
a) Tea Tree Oil Improves Hair Growth
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There may be no direct link between the usage of tea tree oil and hair growth but there is an association between the actions tea tree oil wrought on your scalp and the ability of your hair to grow healthily. Here is the point: with dandruff and other annoying skin conditions colonizing your scalp, the natural oil produced by your skin (sebum) can clog your hair follicles and lead to hair thinning.
Furthermore, itching which is a regular symptom of dandruff, psoriasis, ringworm, eczema, and Seborrheic dermatitis is a prime reason people experience hair fall off. Using tea tree oil regularly would keep all these annoyances in check and that means that hair growth from the follicles can proceed normally without any hindrance.
There are indications too that using tea tree oil as an active component of your hair massage or moisturizer can produce a silky, thicker, and longer hair. You don't need to use a shampoo as the carrier here. You can mix the tea tree oil with your coconut oil, almond oil or olive oil and apply it regularly to your hair. The result can be very amazing.
Similarly, if you are experiencing hair fall out, tea tree oil can help out. All you have to do is let the olive or coconut oil you are using as your carrier be warm before mixing the tea tree oil with it. This warm mixture of tea tree oil and olive or coconut oil is what you would massage your scalp with every night before you sleep and you are set to say bye to hair loss.
b) Tea Tree Oil Fights Ingrown Hairs
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Ingrown hair can be experienced anywhere hair is found on the body including the scalp. The scalp with accumulated sebum is particularly more susceptible because the oil can clog the hair follicles and cause some hair to be trapped inside the skin. The effect again as with other skin conditions include inflammation, redness, itching, and soreness.
However, with a regular usage of tea tree oil, the scalp is moisturized; the oil (sebum) is regularly gotten rid off, and even in situations where ingrown hairs surface on the scalp, tea tree oil would aid its quick healing and ensure that bacteria do not take advantage of the condition. This is possible because tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties.
c) Tea Tree Oil Fights Head Lice
Apart from dandruff, head lice are another thing that can cause a huge discomfort to you. Although they are common with school children, adults can equally be infected by it. But the good news is that tea tree oil has been found to kill the lice at the adult stage and reduce its eggs too. The lice are usually very tiny and cannot be easily handpicked. As such, in most cases, what many people do is to shave off their hair and apply insecticides.
That may not be bad if one is a man, but it doesn't sound good for a woman to shave off the whole of her hair. As such, tea tree oil comes into play. The same procedure followed in using tea tree oil to treat dandruff is the same procedure to employ when using it to fight head lice. Mix the tea tree oil with a good shampoo and watch how the lice are killed in matters of days.
When you apply tea tree oil to fight head lice, you must complement it with good hair care like washing and combing. The few nits that may still be holding tight to your hair shaft can be removed mechanically by combing because the tea tree oil would have dissolved the gum with which they adhere to your hair shaft tightly.
d) With Tea Tree Oil, No More Scalp Dryness
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The importance of tea tree oil in addressing dry scalp cannot be overemphasized. That's because tea tree oil is a good skin moisturizer. To achieve the maximum lubrication to your hair without accumulating much oil, add some drops of tea tree oil to your regular moisturizer say olive or coconut oil and use overnight. Rinse it off in the morning with a mild shampoo.
Please note that the best moisturization is gotten if the coconut oil or olive oil you are mixing the tea tree oil with is organic. Don't use a refined coconut or olive oil.
Tea Tree Oil Vs Dandruff - Conclusion
Many are the advantages of the tea tree oil and among these, we have outlined how the oil from this plant is used to cure dandruff. Where tea tree oil is available, there is absolutely no excuse for not getting dandruff off your scalp. The oil is relatively inexpensive and the application is quite easy.
You only need a mild shampoo and perhaps a measuring tool to know how much of tea tree oil should be added to the shampoo and you are free from that embarrassingly annoying thing called dandruff.