Washing hair is sometimes not enough to combat dandruff.
Scalp and skin experts say there are various causes for the flaky skin condition — and not everyone can get rid of it by using standard shampoo.
Alexia Donovan, director of client services at the Barber Surgeons Guild, a hair restoration and grooming lounge with locations in New York City and Los Angeles, told Fox News Digital that she’s been helping patients and clients address dandruff and scalp health for 14 years.
Dandruff is a skin condition in which visible flakes fall off the scalp. (iStock)
“If the dandruff is chronic and not improving, seek out a hair doctor or dermatologist to help as a prescription may be necessary,” Donovan said.
For those who have light dandruff that doesn’t require medical intervention, Donovan recommends washing hair with “a high-quality, mild shampoo” when it comes time to remove heavy styling products.
For flaky scalps, he recommends that dandruff patients use “gentle shampoos” that are specifically made for dandruff removal.
These specialized shampoos are typically made with antifungal ingredients, which include zinc pyrithione, ketoconazole and selenium sulfide.
“The use of heat tools and styling products should be kept to a minimum because they might exacerbate dandruff,” he warned.
Research has shown that dandruff affects about 50% of the human population at some point in their lives, said Celestine Gitau, a trichologist — also known as a hair and scalp specialist. She writes for international hair care trade groups, including The International Hair Authority, The Institute of Trichologists and Union of Barbers.
She also said, “The irritation causes the skin cells to shed more quickly than usual in an attempt to get rid of the irritant.”
Dandruff-causing yeast tends to thrive in hot and humid environments, which could exacerbate the conditions, according to Gitau.
“Although infrequent shampooing can make dandruff more obvious, researchers are still studying the causes, which appear to be complex,” the AAD wrote in an online dandruff treatment guide.
“Sometimes the flaking and itching that appears like dandruff is actually a medical condition.”
The AAD also notes that hair type and texture should be factored when treating dandruff.
People with straight hair may need to use dandruff shampoos twice a week, while people with curly and kinky hair may need to use dandruff shampoos at least once a week.