Oh, winter hair woes, how we won’t miss you at all. Not only are our strands flat and lackluster thanks to the lack of humidity and biting winds, but wearing one of our go-to hats might actually be the source of pesky, good-hair-day-ruining dandruff, AKA the condition where your scalp is super flaky and possibly itchy. But all hope (or accessories) is not lost: Follow these do’s and don’ts to keep your head and your hair healthy all year long.
1. Do Switch Up Your Hairstyle. The topknot is a go-to for obvious reasons, but all of that build-up from hairspray and dry shampoo can contribute to dandruff, which, in turn, makes hair look dull. Vary your styles each day (might we suggest a bun, banana bun, or even these braids?).
2. Don’t Wear a Hat All Day. Yes, it’s so easy to cover up flat hair with a hat, but it’s important to let your scalp breathe. Tight-fitting toppers like a head-hugging fedora or beanie can trap heat and lead to more sweating, creating the perfect environment for dandruff-producing yeast, says Dove Hair Expert Dermatologist Francesca Fusco. The same goes for bandanas or head scarves in the summer. The solution? “Leave the hat for outdoor only,” Fusco advises.
3. Do Pay Attention to Other Body Parts. As with most conditions, family history plays a big role in whether you’re susceptible to developing dandruff. But look closely at the corners of your nose and eyebrows. “Those are other areas where yeast builds up,” Fusco says. If you spot flaking, you might also have it in your hair as well.
4. Don’t Forget to ‘Poo. Leave the no-shampoo trend for a different season. Because of the conditions in the winter, like cold air and dry indoor heat, we’re most susceptible to dandruff, making the need for regular shampooing (think two to three times a week, minimum) all the more important. If you’ve already noticed itching or flaking, Fusco recommends looking for zinc pyrithione (ZP). “It’s one of the most elegant and efficient ways to treat dandruff,” she tells Brit + Co. And don’t just stop at your shampoo’s active ingredients. It’s important to carry your treatment through to your conditioner as well. (Fusco recommends Dove Dermacare Scalp Dryness & Itch Relief Shampoo [$5] and Conditioner [$5].) “Otherwise, a ‘beauty conditioner’ washes out all of the benefits,” she warns.
5. Do Customize Your Products. Now that you know which products to cleanse and condition with, why not make them a touch more personal. “Mix in a tablespoon of sugar or coarse salt with your shampoo and gently massage it into your scalp,” Fusco says. “The granules will exfoliate stubborn dry skin, and then either dissolve or easily rinse out so you won’t have residue left over.”
What are your other beauty winter woes? Tell us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)