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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

More by this author

Heather Poole

Technical writer

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

1. Salmon

Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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2. Blueberries

Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

Curcumin has also been shown to:

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  • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
  • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
  • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
  • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

4. Coffee

Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

Coffee can also:

  • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
  • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
  • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
  • Improve your memory.
  • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

5. Broccoli

What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

6. Bone broth

Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

7. Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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8. Eggs

For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

9. Dark chocolate

You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

Conclusion

Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
[2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
[3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
[4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
[5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
[6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
[7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
[8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
[9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
[10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
[11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
[12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
[13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
[14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
[15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
[16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
[17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
[18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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