woman with long hairMost people don’t really pay that much attention to their scalp until they start itching or see flakes falling from their head like snow. Like dandruff, for instance—caused by dry scalp and yeast overgrowth—and the flaking and itching it brings. As soon as you experience its symptoms, that’s all you can focus on.

Don’t fret. Here are some practical suggestions to keep your scalp and hair healthy and rid yourself of dandruff.

Shampoo Your Hair and Scalp the Right Way

Unfortunately for those addicted to blowouts, the minute you experience the itches and see flakes, you’ll need to shampoo your hair more regularly to exfoliate the scales. In mild dandruff cases, you can opt for a formula that will help maintain balance on your scalp and keep your hair clean, such as an herbal anti-dandruff shampoo.

For more severe cases, however, you might need a shampoo with zinc, ketoconazole, coal tar, sulfur, or salicylic acid, topical medication, or a prescription shampoo to keep the condition under control.

Aside from spending extra time shampooing and treating your dandruff, it’s also crucial that you take some steps to prevent it. Prevention varies due to the severity of the case, but what’s certain is that any hairstyle that can’t be washed regularly, like dreadlocks, extensions, blowouts or braids, could easily result in dandruff.

Give Yourself a Scalp Massage

You’re probably aware of what a good massage could do for your tired body, but did you know that your scalp and hair could also benefit from a simple massage? You can apply natural oils on your hair and scalp and then massage them into your head and hair for a couple of minutes.

This soothing and nourishing treatment will help breakdown flakes and ease the itchiness. Just refrain from rubbing too aggressively or scratching your scalp.

Look to Your Environment

Although dandruff is usually caused by dry scalp, heat could also result in dandruff. Humidity and heat cause oil production and sweat, so you’ll need to wash your hair more frequently if you live in a place where it’s usually hot outside. But drier climes and winter could also cause dehydration, so you need to combat this by using herbal treatment oils or masks to prevent scalp dryness.

Watch What You Eat

fruits and vegetables

Aside from helping you shed some pounds, eating healthy can also do wonders for your hair and skin. Refrain from eating bad fats, dairy and chocolate, as these can aggravate dandruff by causing excess oil production.

Load up on vitamin-B rich foods instead (since a deficiency in vitamin B can result in dandruff) and foods that contain healthy oils, like grains, nuts, veggies and fruits.

If you find yourself still scratching and fending off flakes after trying the tips above, it’s time to visit your doctor. In select instances, dandruff can be a symptom of an underlying health issue such as vitamin deficiency, a skin condition or autoimmune disorder. Having your doctor evaluate your symptoms could aid in figuring out why you have dandruff and how you can effectively treat for good.