Afro Hair & Dandruff: How To Fight The Flakes

Afro Hair & Dandruff: How To Fight The Flakes

Dandruff itches like hell, looks terrible, and makes the sufferer feel like a social misfit. But it is not an indication of someone who does not wash her hair – it can happen to anyone. And no, afro hair is not more susceptible.

The sudden appearance of dandruff, a condition where the scalp is covered with flakes of dry skin, is usually an indication that your body is deficient in something, whether it is moisture or a well-balanced diet. The majority of scalp problems are found to be stress-related.

It comes in two types: oily yellow flakes or dry powdery dust, and is the result of under or over activity of natural bacteria responsible for scalp secretions.

Since the normal skin cycle is 28 days, the period in which the body naturally sheds and replaces the skin, it is deemed that black people do not wash their hair often enough since the dead skin cells are not being washed away. More so, if the hair is thick and curly.

The dead skin will therefore adhere to the hair, having less ability to fall away naturally. It is important that the hair is washed frequently for the condition of the scalp.


The problem is exacerbated by hair products. Women often put oil on their scalp and massage it in, but there are many a horror story where the friction has caused baldness.

Many people will make the mistake of applying heavy greases which cause the flakes to stick to the hair shaft, making them difficult to brush out,

Diet also plays an important role with regards to the condition of your scalp. In fact, research has linked dairy products to the dreaded stuff. Cheese is one of the hardest foods to digest and because of this, the metabolism works harder, therefore influencing a higher skin turnover.

You should avoid sugary diets and opt for more fresh fruits and vegetables. Your hair needs plenty of vitamins to keep in good condition, particularly vitamins A and B6. Fish is good to include in your diet because of the natural hair oils it contains.

If you suffer from dandruff, try to pinpoint the reason for its presence:

  • Do you have a well-balanced diet?
  • Are you drinking enough water?
  • Are you under stress?
  • Are your hair products suitable for you?
  • Are you going through hormonal changes such as pregnancy?

The next stage is to consult with your hairdresser or a trichologist (a hair and scalp specialist). Hairdressers might suggest an oil steam treatment to replace lost oils or give you a scalp massage to stimulate the sebaceous glands, producing more natural oils.

Photo: Nei Cruz

Severe cases will require a prescribed shampoo which you can only get from your doctor, such as medicated scalp cleansers Polytar Liquid and Nizorel. That said,  you can obtain milder forms over-the-counter.

There are many over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoos to choose from, which should be used more than once a week and must be alternated with a milder shampoo since their contents, selenium sulphide or zinc pirithione, are too harsh for the scalp.

Although affected hair needs to be washed more regularly – about once a week – medicated shampoo should not be used on a regular basis since it will dry out the hair and may lead to hair loos. remember to always wash and rinse thoroughly.

Recommended Products
  • SheaMoisture African Black Soap Dandruff Control Shampoo – 380ml, £14.79. Buy on Amazon
  • Avlon KeraCare Anti-Dandruff Moisturizing Shampoo for Dry & Itchy Scalp – Shampoo 1, 240ml/8 fl. oz, £8.35. Buy on Amazon
  • Nizoral Anti Dandruff Shampoo, 60 ml, £6.00. Buy on Amazon
  • Neutrogena T/Gel 2 in 1 Dandruff Shampoo 250 ml, £7.00. Buy on Amazon
  • Head & Shoulders Classic Clean 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner, 1000 ml, £7.00. Buy on Amazon
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