If you’re coming to this post as a dandruff sufferer take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. In fact, it’s thought that 50% of all men will suffer form dandruff at some point (I know I have!). Nor are you alone in worrying about it. Dandruff is consistently ranked as men’s biggest hair worry, even above baldness.
The culprit is a tiny fungus called Malassezia, which lives on us all but which can multiply out of control in some people, causing flaking of the skin. Since dandruff seems to be exacerbated by stress it’s not uncommon to suffer outbreaks when we’re under pressure.
Using an anti-dandruff shampoo is the simplest and most effective strategy (ones containing Zinc Pyrithione, like Head & Shoulders, are especially good) but if things are particularly bad try a product like Nizoral which contains an anti-fungal agent called ketoconazole to tackle the fungus itself.
Avoiding heavy conditioners for a while often helps, too, as does taking a long hard look at your diet. According to trichologist Philip Kingsley, a diet high in salt, fat and sugar can often trigger an attack since all of these things can affect the balance of the scalp’s protective secretions, allowing the fungus to spiral out of control. Avoid scratching too. The more you fiddle with your scalp the more you’ll irritate the skin and the bigger the flakes will be, plus you’ll also run the risk of damaging the hair follicles and the hair itself.
Thankfully, dandruff tends to ease off as we hit middle age but if you can’t wait that long you might want to abandon the Wii and get outdoors a bit more – one scientific study revealed that men who spend a lot of time outside tend to have less dandruff. Just one more reason to jack it all in and become a landscape gardener then.
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