The scalp is a balanced eco-system that is very sensitive to changes from the environment, cosmetic products and your internal health. I’m sure most of us have experienced finding dandruff, or ‘snowflakes’, as I like to call them, on our shoulders. It’s so common yet research in scalp disorders and dandruff remains scarcely explored.
The crazy thing is that most common scalp concerns are caused by one thing most of us have never even considered – a bacterial imbalance!
The snowflakes on your shoulder
Did you know? Dandruff affects about 50% of the adult population. Most of us thought it was from the following 4 causes: dry scalp, fungal growth, product buildup, or psoriasis.
However, a new clinical study has revealed dandruff can also be caused by an imbalance of bacteria on your scalp.
If you are suffering from dandruff, it’s important to diagnose which type of scalp condition you have. Always consult with a medical practitioner first.
There are two main types of bacteria that live on your scalp; Staphylococcus and Propionibacterium, as well as a dominant form of fungus; Malassezia. It is normal that skin is constantly shedding itself, but when this is combined with oil and sweat it can form a thin, white layer over your skin which can trap bacteria.
What New Science Reveals
A clinical study compared the scalp microbiome of 140 women, half of them with healthy scalps and half with dandruff. It was found that all of the participants had about the same amount of Malassezia, a fungus that was previously thought to be the cause of dandruff. Instead, it was found that women with the most dandruff had much more Staphylococcus bacteria on their head than those with healthy scalps.
Bacteria grows EVERYWHERE on your body
Bacteria thrives on the scalp because it is covered in hair, keeping the area nice and warm – bacteria’s favorite type of environment. The bacteria then multiplies and feeds off of the fatty acids found in sebum, the oil that is excreted through your scalp.
Some species of bacteria found on the scalp are actually beneficial. They are responsible for providing the essential nutrients the scalp needs to maintain a healthy microbiome, BUT some species can cause seriously frustrating scalp issues.
How to control the bacteria imbalance on your scalp:
Taking vitamins and supplements like B3, biotin, lysine and amino acids can all help to restore a healthier scalp microbiome.
2. Exfoliate your scalp
Gently exfoliating your scalp can help to remove any skin cell build up that could result in dandruff and odor. Try this DIY. Click here.
3. Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoo soaks up excess oil, which is important as bacteria feeds off on the fatty acids found in oil. I always recommend using an all-natural dry shampoo overnight, as oil production occurs the most at night.
4. Avoid clogging your scalp
Products with ingredients like silicones, dimethicones, and trimethicones will make your hair feel soft, but they will also plug your hair follicles. This can promote the presence of oil and bacteria.
5. Clean your hairbrushes
I’m sure most of us don’t do this enough, but clean your hair brushes regularly to avoid spreading bacteria onto your scalp.
6. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is natural, has antibacterial properties, and it is a great way to naturally balance the scalp. Mix six drops of tea tree oil with 1-2 tablespoons of jojoba oil. Apply it the scalp and leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing. You can do this daily, or as a weekly treatment.
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