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Irritated by Dandruff? No Worries We Are Here To Help You!

Irritated by Dandruff? No Worries We Are Here To Help You!

Dandruff is a perfectly common condition, but it doesn’t make experiencing those little white flakes on your shoulders any less embarrassing. Even though we may know many people share our frustration with the dry flakes of skin falling onto our dark clothing in a business meeting or first date, it feels so personal in the moment, and it can be hard to ignore the way you feel.

Dandruff can be a tricky thing to deal with, as it has numerous causes. Along with the most common causes, dry skin and psoriasis, it is supposedly caused by not cleaning your scalp often enough, or cleaning it too often. To make this even more frustrating, some people say it can also be caused by simply shampooing with something your sensitive scalp doesn’t like. So how are you supposed to deal with it. And what exactly is dandruff, really?

What’s going on up there?

Part of the embarrassment of dandruff is the misunderstanding behind it; a lot of people believe that dandruff is caused by poor hygiene. But this isn’t scientifically sound. In fact, experts agree this is probably the last thing responsible for those flakes. Dandruff is a skin condition, first and foremost. It causes your scalp, and the scalps of 50% of the population, to flake off in tiny little pieces and usually comes with some itching. It’s closely linked to something called Malassezia. This is a fungus that everyone has (sorry) on their scalps and it feeds on the oils secreted by hair follicles. This can cause skin cells to shed and clump into those annoying flakes [1].

Surprisingly, dandruff doesn’t just happen on your scalp. In fact, you can get dandruff on your face. Plenty of people discover dandruff in their eyebrows, around their ears and even on their noses. Basically, if your skin produces oil, it’s at risk of producing dandruff [2].

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Regardless of where you experience it, before you run to the store to purchase dandruff shampoo, make sure you are truly experiencing dandruff, and not something else. Beverly Hills dermatologist Stuart H Kaplan, M.D. recommends a medicated dandruff shampoo that contains ketoconazole, selenium sulfide or zinc. If you don’t see any improvement after two weeks of using the ‘poo, you may want to consult a physician. You could have psoriasis or another skin inflammation.

The Causes of Dandruff.

Some studies have found diet can impact your risk for dandruff, claiming people who eat lots of salt, too much sugar or foods rich in spice can experience more dandruff than a person with a healthier diet. Excessive alcohol use can also lead to flaking skin. However, with a significant number of dandruff sufferers claiming it seems to get better as they age, the jury was out as to whether it really is caused by what you’re eating or if it’s just something we all have to experience. That is until 2007.

In 2007, scientists found that the fungal yeast responsible for dandruff produces enzymes which break down oils produced by our sweat glands. This creates an acid which penetrates the top layer of our skin and triggers cells to be created faster than usual, resulting in dandruff.

While the myths are still out there that claim dandruff is caused by poor hygiene and a lack of washing your hair, it could be that you are washing it too much.

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Not shampooing enough will only make your dandruff worse — it causes more oil and dead skin cells to accumulate on your scalp, which the yeast and fungi just continue to feed on. – Stuart H. Kaplan, M.D.

Do you brush your hair enough?

If you aren’t combing your hair regularly, you may be setting yourself up for dandruff. When you brush your hair, you’re helping your scalp shed all the dead skin. This is good! It’s when you make your scalp pull double duty that it can slough off in embarrassing flakes.

Are you sensitive?

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No matter how good that shampoo and conditioner smells, your skin may hate it. While shampooing too often can lead to dandruff, shampooing with the wrong products can also lead to extreme irritation and ultimately, dandruff.

Do you have yeast sensitivity?

People who are sensitive to yeast are at a higher risk of experiencing dandruff. Taking a probiotic can help. More on this in the next section!

What You Need To Do If You Have Dandruff?

So what now? Brush your hair more, shampoo only as needed and rule out skin conditions? It may seem like a lot to figure out. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to ever get rid of dandruff completely, but it can certainly be controlled. Shower regularly and comb your hair frequently. If you find dandruff on other parts of your body, you may want to use a skin brush to get rid of the dead skin effectively.

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If you are using every tip and trick you can think of but you still find yourself dealing with an itchy scalp and awful flakes, it may be time to consult your doctor. They can rule out any other skin conditions and, if necessary, discuss prescription options with you.

But if you’re like me and you love a good DIY, here are some home remedies that may be helpful in handling those flakes [3]:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar. The acidity of the vinegar can sooth dry skin and even get rid of the dandruff-causing fungus. Simply mix together equal parts ACV and water and slather it on your head. Leave it for about 30 minutes before washing off.
  • Baking Soda. Baking soda acts like a scrub and can exfoliate your scalp. This is a simple DIY, as you simply need to add a little baking soda to your shampoo and wash your hair as usual.
  • Aloe Vera. I keep this plant in my backyard; it’s good for all kinds of things! Open up the plant and squeeze the gel onto your scalp. Massage it into your hair and scalp and then wash with an anti-dandruff shampoo.
  • Coconut Oil. Of course this magical oil was going to be on my list! Put about five tablespoons of coconut oil in a container. Take a little at a time into your palms and rub until it’s clear and melted. Apply to your scalp and massage your head. Let it stay on for an hour and then wash it out with regular shampoo. If you want to reap the benefits even more, choose a shampoo with coconut oil in it!

How to prevent having Dandruff long-term.

  1. Watch what you eat. Go ahead and avoid all that gross, saturated fat. And forget about trans fats while you’re at it. Diets rich in these fats cause glands in your body to produce more oil which makes dandruff worse.
  2. Take your vitamins. Try to get plenty of fruits and veggies, especially those containing zinc and B vitamins, to keep the flakes at bay. Synthetic forms of vitamin D have been shown to slow down the growth of skin cells, while Vitamin A can help normalize the abnormal DNA happening in the body [4].
  3. Find your perfect probiotic. I’m a big believer in probiotics, because they seem to be good for just about everything your body does. Look for a supplement that claims to aid with candida overgrowth. This is a yeast your body can over-produce over time, and yeast can make dandruff worse.
  4. Try a dandruff shampoo. Look for a product that contains ketoconazole, selenium sulfide or zinc. When applying it, lather up two times and let it sit for about five minutes. The goal is to get the product to really penetrate those hair follicles and skin cells. And if you hate the smell or find it too medicinal, rinse with a little lemon juice to remove the scent.
  5. Consult a dermatologist. If your dandruff is caused by a skin condition, a dermatologist may recommend anti-inflammatory drugs.

Do you have your own methods of dealing with dandruff? Make sure to share them!

Featured photo credit: Michael Fertig via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Heather Poole

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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