If you’re noticing small patches of white in your dreadlocks or on your shoulders, you might be struggling with dandruff. Dandruff is mainly caused by seborrheic dermatitis and causes a flaky scalp that may or may not be accompanied by itchiness.
If you think you have dandruff, don’t panic. Dandruff is a prevalent condition that affects about half of the population, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. The best part is, many remedies can help reduce dandruff in dreads.
Is it normal to have dandruff in dreads?
Dandruff is a very common condition that affects at least 50% of the population. It doesn’t really matter whether you have dreadlocks or not. Dandruff can affect all kinds of people and their hairstyles.
If you see dandruff in your dreadlocks, it’s nothing to panic about. Dandruff is not contagious or harmful. It can, however, be itchy and/or embarrassing. Taking the proper steps to reduce dandruff in your dreads is essential.
Why does it occur?
There is no definitive answer as to why dandruff occurs in some individuals. However, the result is a scalp that loses skin cells faster than average, leading to that obvious white flakiness. In most cases, though, dandruff is caused by the Malassezia yeast, which feeds on sebum, oil produced and secreted by the scalp for protection.
Regardless of the root cause of your dandruff, there are many “triggers” that can make the condition worse. Some of these include:
- Too much sebum. While sebum is an important thing that protects your skin and hair, an overproduction can lead to dandruff. Most of the time, overproduction of sebum results from a hormonal imbalance caused by poor diet, stress, or other factors.
- Too high pH levels. The proper pH level (4.5-5.5) is necessary to kill off yeast, such as the Malassezia yeast that creates dandruff. Skyrocketing pH levels can be caused by hard water, lack of conditioning, too much baking soda use, and the wrong shampoo.
- Using the wrong shampoo. Be picky when it comes to choosing shampoo for your dreadlocks. Avoid shampoos that have high pH levels, silicone, or parabens. Also, be mindful of any other ingredients that might be triggering your dandruff, especially if you struggle with skin sensitivity.
- Washing too little or too much. There is a common misconception that dreadlocks shouldn’t be cleaned or washed very little. Too little washing can lead to sebum buildup, while too much washing can lead to a dried-out scalp – both furthering the dandruff problem. Stick to a weekly washing schedule, perhaps twice a week when your dreads are new.
- Age. Although less common, age can sometimes play a role in dandruff in dreadlocks. Young individuals may spike hormones around puberty, causing dandruff to form. Older individuals may struggle with a decreased production of sebum, which can also cause dandruff. Keep your hormones balanced to avoid this.
- Humidity. If you don’t dry your dreads properly or wear a helmet, cap, or other head covering regularly, you might be setting your dreads up for fungal growth. In turn, this leads to insufferable dandruff. Make sure your dreadlocks are dried and at the right temperature.
How do you prevent it?
Dandruff is common, but it’s still not enjoyable. And while it’s typically not bothersome and not contagious or dangerous, most people seek to get rid of it. The good news is, there are many options for preventing dandruff. With so many options, you can find a solution that’s right for you and your dreadlocks.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar treatments help?
Apple cider vinegar is known for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, making it an excellent home remedy for many ailments and conditions. This includes dandruff. Apple cider vinegar works in many different ways to stop dandruff in its path, the most crucial being balancing pH levels and destroying fungi.
How do you apply it?
Using apple cider vinegar is easy and can be done in your home. All you need is a small cup, apple cider vinegar, and warm water. Then, proceed to do the following:
- Add apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water. You can use anywhere between one and three tablespoons. It might be best to start with one tablespoon to see how you react to the treatment.
- Wash your hair with a dread-friendly shampoo and rinse thoroughly.
- Pour the apple cider vinegar and water mix over your head.
- Massage the mixture into the scalp for several minutes.
- Allow the apple cider vinegar and water to soak into the scalp. You can let it soak anywhere between five and fifteen minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly to remove the mixture.
Now, some people might be keen on the scent that apple cider vinegar emits. If that’s the case, you can always mix a few droplets of essential oil into the mixture. Some options, such as tea tree oil and peppermint, work wonders at fighting off dandruff, too.
Considering adding an essential oil? Here are the top five picks.
- Tea tree oil. This essential oil is similar to apple cider vinegar because it is antimicrobial and antifungal. Used with apple cider vinegar, it’s a dandruff-fighting powerhouse that will get the job done.
- Peppermint. This delightful-smelling oil is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. It is especially recommended for itchiness as peppermint will soothe the area. It also acts to soak up excess oils, which leads to less dandruff production.
- Rosemary. Another great antifungal and decongesting essential oil, rosemary, reduces excess oils and buildup, ultimately reducing the onset of dandruff.
- Cedarwood. If you don’t mind smelling like a campfire, you will enjoy cedarwood. This oil is designed to eliminate dandruff and any associating, frustrating symptoms like itchiness and redness.
- Lemon. This light-and-bright essential oil not only smells fresh and delicious but stops oil in its tracks.
Some people have also recommended using a bit of baking soda in the mixture due to its antifungal properties. It is also an excellent exfoliant that will work to remove any excess skin cells, improving the overall dandruff condition. Just don’t add too much. An overabundance of baking soda can have the opposite effect.
How often do you use it?
The best thing to remember is everything in moderation when it comes to dreadlocks. For example, you should not over or under-wash your dreads. You also shouldn’t use an apple cider treatment too often or too little, either.
In the initial stages of dandruff treatment, it’s recommended to use the apple cider vinegar and essential oil mixture in-between washes. This will leave most people to perform this miracle treatment at least once per week.
If you notice that your dandruff battle is beginning to subside, you might change to an every other week schedule instead.
How do you get rid of it?
While an apple cider and essential oil treatment is an excellent solution for preventing and destroying dandruff, it’s not the only solution. There are many other ways to get rid of dandruff in dreadlocks.
Can you wash dandruff out of dreads?
This is tricky. On the one hand, washing your dreads more often can lead to less dandruff or no dandruff whatsoever. On the other hand, washing dreads too often will cause an influx of dandruff. What’s the best thing to do?
Wash your dreadlocks at least once a week for the best results against dandruff. New dreads may need an additional wash in the beginning, but this shouldn’t continue for the lifetime of your dreads (unless absolutely necessary).
Now, keep in mind that some people claim that white individuals with dreads should wash their hair more often than African Americans with dreads. This may be the case. The best thing to do is to pay attention to your dreads and wash when you feel necessary. However, don’t overdo it or decide that washing dreadlocks is not required – it is.
What’s the best shampoo for dreadlocks?
There are many great options for shampoo for dreadlocks, such as the Jamaican Mango & Lime Tingle Shampoo and the Dread Head Organic Shampoo. But what should you look for specifically when it comes to a shampoo for dreadlocks? Here are some key factors.
- Residue-free. The worst thing you could do for your dreads is to use a shampoo that will leave behind residue and buildup. This can lead to dandruff and other issues, such as dryness or breakage. Always go for residue-free.
- Sulfate and paraben-free. When choosing the best shampoo for dreads, look for ones that don’t have any sulfates, parabens, or other nasty and harmful chemicals. These are not good for dreads and will cause dryness, brittleness, breakage, and more.
- Natural oils. Shampoos containing natural oils will ensure no buildup and residue that can lead to dandruff. They will keep your dreads strong, healthy, and shiny.
If you’re looking for a shampoo that is good for dreads with specific dandruff control, there are many choices on the market. Beabody Tea Tree Oil Shampoo is a top pick alongside Neutrogena T-Gel. Use these in place of your regular shampoo, but stick to your weekly shampoo schedule. Don’t overdo it!
Does diet cause dandruff in dreads?
We have all heard the importance of eating a well-balanced and nutritional diet, especially when it comes to your overall health and well-being. But did you know that diet can cause dandruff in dreads, too?
Diets high in sugar (candy), processed food (chips, soda, fast food), acids, and bad fats can cause dandruff. If you want to tackle dandruff from the inside out, it might be time to revamp your diet. Include these foods to eliminate dandruff for good:
- Fruits and vegetables. All fruits and veggies are great for fending off dandruff. Consider cooking the vegetables to absorb the nutrients readily.
- Healthy fat. Ingredients that contain healthy fat, such as salmon and coconut oil, are excellent options to add to your daily diet.
- Zinc and biotin. These nutrients are essential for hair health in every way, including eliminating dandruff. Foods that contain zinc and biotin include eggs, legumes, mushrooms, and broccoli.
- Probiotics. Since dandruff is mainly caused by yeast, consuming probiotics regularly can help combat the onset of dandruff.
- Water. A lack of moisture can cause itchiness and dryness. That said, drink enough water (eight glasses a day) to ensure dandruff isn’t being driven by a lack of hydration.
- Limit sugar. Sugar can cause an overproduction of yeast, leading to more dandruff. Replace sweet treats with natural sugars found in fruit.
Final Words for Hair & Scalp Care
Dandruff is a common problem, but nobody wants to deal with it. While you may not ever get rid of dandruff entirely, there are several ways to limit it.
One of the best solutions is to use an apple cider vinegar and water wash. Add essential oil or baking soda to reduce the scent of apple cider vinegar while creating a powerhouse that destroys dandruff in its path.
Also, stick to a regular washing schedule and always use a dandruff and dread-friendly shampoo.