Flakes, snow, dandruff, psoriasis, eczema, dry scalp, crusty.
You guys know what I'm talking about. Let's have a chat about those little white flakes on your shoulders that make you shudder and wear scarves and light tops to hide your embarrassment.
Flakes affect most people at some stage during their lives. There are many causes including heat, cold, chemicals, excess product, excess sebum, weather change and just about anything you can imagine! For me personally, the change in seasons causes me to get a dry scalp which leaves me with those nasty flakies.
So regardless of what they are, what can you do about?
Switching shampoos - Many 'drugstore' shampoos contain detergents such as sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. These can be quite harsh on sensitive scalps as they strip the natural oils from the scalp. Try a gentler natural shampoo or find a salon brand which doesn't contain these products. Sodium laureth sulfate is the lesser of the evils, so try to find a shampoo containing only this chemical. FYI: Head and Shoulders contain both of these chemicals and can be quite harsh for a lot of people. If it strips the colour from your hair, imagine what it does to your scalp!
Lather twice - Your shampooing technique can be quite helpful as well to prevent flakies. Shampoo twice giving your scalp a good scrub each time. The first time can loosen the flakes and the second time can wash them away.
Try and ACV rince - What's ACV you say? Why it is Apple Cider Vinegar of course. Make up a mixture of one part ACV (or white vinegar will work fine) and three parts water and use this mixture as a final rinse on your hair. It will also make your hair nice and shiny! Don't worry about the vinegary smell, once your hair is dry it will disappear.
Use Jojoba oil - Before you wash your hair rub some jojoba oil into your scalp and leave for an hour. Wash out with a gentle shampoo or conditioner.
Switch to Co-Washing - Co-washing is conditioner only washing. This means you use conditioner to wash instead of shampoo. It is best to use a conditioner that is very simple in ingredients. I like Pears clarifying conditioner in Australia or if you are reading from another country, I hear Suave is great! You also want to choose a conditioner that doesn't contain silicone's for this. Basically use the conditioner like a shampoo and rinse well! You an double conditioner from the ears down with a more moisturizing conditioner if you like.
Use a Coal Tar shampoo - This is my favourite method. A coal tar shampoo is a medicated product designed to rid your scalp of flakies. I am in love with the Neutrogena T Gel Shampoo. I've been using this for well over 12 months now and I have about one use left in the bottle. As I said I only get the flakes seasonally so I only need to use this every few months. I find with this particular product I only need to wash my hair once and voila, flakes are gone! It does smell pretty disgusting but it works.....
The worst thing about flakes is that there is not one method for everyone. Through trial and error you can find the perfect method for you. It did take me years to figure out how to tame mine and I'm so glad I have. Neutrogena T/Gel all the way for me combined with a very gentle salon branded shampoo.
What are your methods for controlling those flakes?