Do you find haircare confusing? You’re not alone. With an abundance of information and products at our fingertips, it can be hard to know where to even start when trying to look after our hair. That’s before you add in the complexity of dandruff—a common scalp condition affecting men and women across the globe.
To help cut through the noise, we’ve consulted Dr. Leona Yip, one of Australia’s leading dermatologists and a fellow of The Australasian College of Dermatologists, on her top tips for a healthy scalp and hair. Plus, we reveal the (surprising) habits you need to ditch immediately.
Do: Wash your scalp and hair frequently
It’s important to wash hair regularly, Dr. Yip advises, particularly if you have dandruff or your scalp is on the sensitive side. “Use tepid or warm water, avoid hot water that can dry the scalp and compromise skin barrier integrity.”
Be sure to massage shampoo into your roots and scalp to ensure the product has a chance to do its job: washing away grease, bacteria and product build up. Use a conditioner on your mid-lengths and ends to provide nourishment.
Don’t: Forget to wash your hair after a sweaty workout
Shampooing your hair “as soon as possible” after a sweaty workout will help to prevent dandruff and scalp breakouts, says Dr. Yip. If left unchecked, post-exercise sweat and oil can build up over time, leading to an irritated scalp.
Do: Look for scientifically-proven ingredients for scalp health
The fastest way to improve the health of your scalp, particularly if you’re prone to dandruff? By using a dermatologically-backed shampoo containing scientifically-proven ingredients.
“The scalp microbiome describes the community of microorganisms comprising bacteria and, yeasts that normally live harmoniously on the scalp in balanced proportions to maintain scalp health. However, when this is out of sync and the scalp microbiome is imbalanced, some of these microorganisms may in fact cause problems.” An overgrowth of yeast is a sign of an unbalanced scalp microbiome and is a common cause of dandruff.
Our recommendation? Dercos Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo contains selenium disulphide to eliminate up to 100% of visible dandruff* and rebalance the scalp microbiome in four weeks**. This formula has been dermatologically tested to help relieve feelings of itchiness. Importantly, it’s suitable for daily use on a sensitive scalp.
Don’t: Irritate your scalp with harsh physical exfoliation
Products that contain physical exfoliants (this includes any product with a gritty, scrub texture) can traumatise the scalp and cause micro-tears. Look for “clarifying shampoos that contain salicylic acid to remove skin cell debris and scalp flakes,” says Dr. Yip.
Do: Protect your scalp and hair from heat tools and UV rays
The Australian sun is harsh—and not only can it burn the skin on our face and body, but it can also have a detrimental impact on the health of our hair and scalp, too. Dr. Yip advises that “sun protection with hats and shade for the scalp is non-negotiable.”
Don’t: Style hair while it is still damp or wet
Did you know that your hair is at its weakest when it’s wet? This makes wet hair far more susceptible to damage and breakage. The solution? “Wait until hair is dry before tying it up into a ponytail or bun,” says Dr. Yip. “Tying up damp hair also retains moisture that can aggravate dandruff and other scalp conditions.”
Brought to you by Dercos.
*Consumer test on 262 subjects after 2 weeks of regular use.
**Cosmeto-clinical study with follow up of the main microorganisms involved in dandruff, 56 subjects with 3 applications a week for 4 weeks.