Dandruff in Monsoon

Come monsoon, come dandruff! Not to worry, if you take remedial measures promptly

Dandruff causes itching onscalp

To understand the impact of the monsoons on dandruff, it is important to first understand the underlying causes of dandruff.

The scalp is a unique environment—dark, warm, and moist—thanks to the “barrier-type” effects of hair. It is also a good place for micro-organisms [e.g., fungi] to grow as sebum and dead skin cells serve as its “nutritional” sources. Another factor that fuels trouble is potential friction or injury caused by brushing and styling. It’s no surprise then that dandruff is so common, everywhere.

For dandruff to occur on the scalp, three factors must work collectively: fungus, sebum, and skin irritation.

While monsoons may reportedly increase the chances of dandruff, the basic causes and tips for removing those dreaded flakes are the same—no matter what time of year.

Blame it on fungus

The fungus, Malassezia, is the microbe on your scalp that causes the irritation associated with dandruff. Everyone has it. It is a normal part of the scalp and is impossible to get rid of. If you remove it from your scalp, it will come back again.

Scalp oils, or sebum, are broken down by the fungus to produce smaller materials, called fatty acids. These fatty acids have been shown to be irritating to some people. It is this irritation that causes dandruff flakes and all the other symptoms, like itching and dryness.

The final factor is the individual’s skin irritation potential. Some people are quite sensitive to fatty acids, while others are not. The reaction to the irritating fatty acids, in people who are sensitive, can vary significantly. It depends on susceptibility – one that is unique to each individual. This can range from severe dandruff and mild to severe flaking to little or severe itching. This final factor is the least well understood.

It has been reported that more cases of dandruff occur during summer. This is due to the fact that the fungus involved in dandruff may grow at an alarming rate in warm temperatures. However, the monsoon season, which offers a change in climatic conditions, can also encourage the growth of these microscopic organisms.

The Malassezia fungus thrives in moist environments of the scalp. It is possible for monsoon, with its humid, moist air, to provide the “perfect” soil for even more favourable conditions for its growth. An increase in the growth of the fungus coincides with an increase of dandruff flaking and all the other symptoms, that go along with it, such as itching.

Treat with care

Treating dandruff for some people is a year-long reality. Those with high seasonal experiences, especially during monsoons, should treat their hair more carefully.

  1. Use an effective anti-dandruff shampoo with an active ingredient like zinc pyrithione, which attacks fungus and keeps it in check, regularly. This also helps reduce the tell-tale flakes
  2. Regular washes keep the fungus in check and reduce the sebum on your scalp. In addition to playing a role in dandruff, sebum also attracts dirt, dust, and pollution to your hair, making it look dull, weak, dried out and brittle
  3. Stick to your anti-dandruff shampoo – no switching between a cosmetic formulation and an anti-dandruff product! This reduces the effectiveness of anti-fungal actives and could leave you with flakes and bad odour. Zinc pyrithione, which is odourless, provides conditioning and light pleasant fragrances, making them a pleasure to use
  4. Cut down on styling and styling products, as they may also attract dirt and grime during monsoons. Brush and comb gently, so as not to cause scalp damage. Remember to dry hair completely before leaving the house. Rain water can add to your dandruff problem, thanks to its unhealthy moisture
  5. Recognise your severity. If you are suffering more than moderate flaking and itching, be sure to find the right product. There are products that include intensive solutions targeted at severe dandruff sufferers. Like the rest of the range, they have a pleasant fragrance and they leave hair well conditioned.

So, no matter what time of year—particularly monsoons—treat your scalp and hair right, and you won’t have to deal with dandruff flakes.

Simple Cures

There are two types of dandruff:

Oily and dry dandruff

Oily dandruff occurs most likely among adolescents and adults with an excessive oily skin and scalp. Dry dandruff appears as loose white flakes and scalp itches.

There are number of reasons for the dandruff like faulty diet, harsh shampoo, poor blood circulation in head, emotional tension and stress. This problem is more common in teenagers because they secrete an excess of androgen hormones which cause sebum, the skin oil.

  • Massage and daily brushing are effective in treating dandruff. They help in blood circulation. For dry dandruff you should use an oil to massage before washing your hair
  • Rubbing lemon juice on the head is effective
  • For dandruff, massage three days old curd on the scalp. Keep it for half-an-hour and then shampoo
  • Avoid nuts, chocolates, fried food. You must have a diet rich in greens, chicken, fish, milk and its products. Also a good diet in vitamin A, E and B complex
  • Massaging head with brahmi oil can control dandruff.

For oily dandruff

  • Mix rosewater, two drops of lemon essential oil with equal proportion of cider vinegar or malt vinegar and massage the lotion in the scalp gently. Keep it for sometime. Do this in the night and use a mild shampoo in the morning
  • Soak two spoon full of fenugreek seeds in water at night. In the morning make a paste by mixing seeds, two drops of lemon and apply on the head. Keep if for an hour. Then wash with herbal shampoo. Try this once a week
  • In a mug of water, mix two tablespoon of malt vinegar and two drops of rosemary. After shampooing, rinse the hair with it. Dry your hair with the help of towel.

For dry dandruff

  • Massage your scalp with one teaspoon hot castor oil, one teaspoon coconut oil, one teaspoon til [sesame] oil and two drops of cedar wood. Keep for half an hour and then shampoo. You can do this twice a week
  • Take about five tablespoon of curd and squeeze half a lime in it. Add two drops of cedar wood. Take two spoonful of green grams and powder them. Mix in curd. Apply on scalp and leave it for 10 minutes. Wash hair thoroughly with a creamy shampoo. You can do this at least once a week.

– Team CW

Magnifying lens over an exclamation markSpot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!

Alison Roughley is with Scientific Communications, Haircare, P and G Beauty, Mumbai.


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