Scalp SOS: How To Bring An Irritated Scalp Back From The Brink

Dandruff doesn’t stand a chance.

Regardless of your age, location or tax bracket, one of the most common hair concerns facing men and women across the globe is dandruff. For some, dandruff shows up as a manageable smattering of white flakes. For others, it can lead to persistent itchy, red patches that won’t go away on their own.

If your hair falls into the latter category, you’ll know how frustrating it can be when your scalp is irritated. Sometimes, you just don’t know where to start—and that’s why we’ve called in the experts. Here, Dr. Leona Yip, one of Australia’s leading dermatologists and a fellow of The Australasian College of Dermatologists, shares her four-step plan to bring your scalp back from the brink.

Step 1: Assess The Problem

First things first: take note of your symptoms and how long you’ve been experiencing them for. This will help determine whether you need to see a doctor or if you’re able to treat the issue at home.

Dandruff is one of the most common conditions that can affect the health of our scalp and hair. It typically presents as white flakes without visible redness. Some people will experience itchiness of the scalp as well. 

“It’s not an infection that you catch,” explains Dr. Yip. “Dandruff is caused by scalp microbiome imbalance and overgrowth of a yeast. It is also thought to be related to scalp sebum (oil) production in which yeast thrives. Our skin reacts by shedding more skin cells, seen as scalp flaking, which is dandruff.”

If left untreated, dandruff can progress to seborrhoeic dermatitis. “[This] is a more severe form of dandruff with thicker yellow and greasy flakes, scalp redness and more itch,” Dr. Yip adds.

While tempting, ignoring the problem could cause more harm in the long run as seborrheic dermatitis can progress to or overlap with scalp psoriasis. So, if you have long-term dandruff that doesn’t respond to anti-dandruff shampoos, it’s time to check in with a GP or a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis.

Step 2: Identify Any Environmental Causes

Are you partial to a boiling hot shower? Do you tie your hair up when it’s still wet? Your daily habits could be exacerbating the problem. 

Some of the most common environmental causes of an irritated scalp include: 

  • Indulging in piping hot showers: “Hot water can dry the scalp and compromise skin barrier integrity.”
  • Throwing hair up into a ponytail or bun before it’s fully dry: “Tying up damp hair retains moisture that can aggravate dandruff and other scalp conditions, such as seborrhoeic dermatitis.”
  • Using a heat styler or curler when the hair is still wet: “This denatures hair proteins and causes more hair breakage. Think of how water sizzles on a hot pan.”
dercos dandruff hair and scalp care shampoo
(Credit: Getty)

Step 3: Rebalance Your Scalp Microbiome With Scientifically Proven Ingredients

The fastest way to bring your scalp back from the brink is by using a dermatologist-approved shampoo containing scientifically proven ingredients.

Dercos Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo contains anti-fungal ingredient selenium disulphide to help target yeast, and is gentle enough even for sensitive scalps. Studies conducted by the brand have found that up to 100 per cent of visible dandruff is eliminated on first use* and the scalp microbiome is rebalanced in four weeks**. 

For best results, use Dercos Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo three times a week for four weeks during a dandruff flare up. After massaging the shampoo into your hair and scalp, leave it on for two minutes before rinsing out to give the formula a chance to really do its job.

Step 4: Create A Scalp Care Routine 

The best maintenance routine is the one you’ll keep up for weeks, months and years to come. Dr. Yip’s scalp care routine is simple (and something we can all commit to):

Wash hair and scalp frequently: Shampoo every one to three days, depending on the greasiness of your hair and your exercise routine. Continue to use Dercos Anti-Dandruff DS Shampoo once per week during the maintenance phase to prevent relapses.

Moisturise: Protect the scalp’s moisture barrier by using products containing hydrating ingredients like ceramides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

Exfoliate: Remove cell debris and flakes by subbing in a clarifying shampoo with chemical exfoliants (think: salicylic acid), such as Dercos Anti-Dandruff K Deep Purifying Shampoo, one or two times per week.

Use sun protection: Wear hats and stay in the shade wherever possible to avoid aggravating and scalp sunburn. Promise?

Brought to you by Dercos.

*Consumer test on 262 subjects after 2 weeks of regular use.

**Cosmeto clinical study on 45 subjects after 4 weeks of use and 6 weeks of remanence.

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