Every time you see flakes on your scalp, you believe it is dandruff and you immediately bounce for an anti-dandruff routine. Sometimes this routine doesn’t help and the situation just worsens. This is because it is probably not dandruff. Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes flaking. Since diagnosis is the first step towards treatment, it is necessary to know the difference and spot which is the skin condition that you have. Before you visit a dermatologist, here’s what you need to know about these skin conditions!
What is Dandruff?
Dandruff is more than just those flakes settled on your forehead and scalp. In the world of science, dandruff is termed ‘mild seborrheic dermatitis’. You will observe small flakes that might be yellowish or whitish. They are typically made up of dead skin, dirt, and dry skin. Everybody in their life, at some point, faces dandruff. They’re manageable and treatable though if you take the right hyd rating diet and hair care. Usually, dandruff can develop due to the overgrowth of yeast that is normally present on your skin in a healthy number. This leads to imbalanced pH. Usage of harsh water or wrong hair care products can also throw your pH for a toss. It sounds like it is easy to get dandruff and that’s actually true. But we’ve mentioned below how to treat and prevent dandruff. Simple steps to keep up with your mane!
What is Psoriasis?
This one is a bit less famous than dandruff but one must be careful to detect it sooner than later. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease. It’s a condition where your immune system goes nuts so instead of shedding, your skin cells keep building. This imbalance in the immune system leads to the immune cells attacking healthy tissues to produce more and more skin cells. This results in raised, hard, reddened plaques covered with silver-ish scales that will flake. These plaques will be itchy and burn. It is best not to give in to the itch since those scales can spread to infect the surrounding region.
What are the ways to differentiate dandruff from psoriasis?
Dandruff and psoriasis can be called out based on certain features that they carry. Just keep these points in mind, next time you’re confused if it is dandruff or psoriasis-
Dandruff will simply be observed by the flakes of dry skin on your scalp. They can easily be dusted off. Psoriasis, on the other hand, forms an irregular patch of overgrown skin cells that will flake. These patches are usually shiny, rough, and raised.
Dandruff is caused by many reasons like harsh water, harsh hair care products, compromised scalp barrier, lack of moisture, overgrowth of yeast, environmental stressors, etc. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that leads to the immune cells attacking healthy tissues and leading to the overgrowth of skin cells.
Dandruff does not particularly grow to neighbouring regions but if you let dandruff settle on your forehead, back, hairline then it may cause acne due to clogging of pores. Psoriasis can spread to other areas and so it requires you to manage the condition to avoid spreading.
What are the causes of dandruff and psoriasis?
The root cause for psoriasis is genetic makeup but the triggers that cause psoriasis flare-ups are multiple. When it comes to dandruff, the cause differs from person to person. Here are the leading causes for both of them-
I. Causes of dandruff
Inflammatory diet can lead to the overproduction of oil that will make your scalp greasy and that will trap all the dead skin and dirt. This will irritate the scalp and lead to dandruff. So you might want to change your diet and opt for a wholesome diet that can strengthen your scalp health.
Learn more about food that can save your skin and hair as well here!
If you workout or your job entails you running around frequently then you know that your scalp gets oily the very next day. There will be days when we’re bored or we don’t want to end up over-washing so we let the sweat dry. This will inflame your scalp and lead to dandruff. There are also times when we don’t rinse out hair properly after shampoo and conditioner, which is just as harmful as the unhygienic scalp is. To avoid this, wash at least twice a week and if you work out daily, then rinse your hair thoroughly after every workout session.
Sublime recommends Flawsome Mean Clean Pre Shampoo Scalp Exfoliating Treatment for those who workout every day. You can use this exfoliator once a week if your scalp barrier is healthy or once in two weeks if you have a dry scalp.
3. Hair Care Products
Sometimes to tackle a hair concern and to see results immediately, we might pick up a few too many products to address the concern. Most of our hair concerns are due to compromised scalp barrier and the barrier can easily go off balance when you use too many products at once or use products that contain harsh ingredients in strong concentration. We suggest you resort to a mild everyday shampoo and conditioner that won’t dry off your scalp but just cleanse well.
Sublime recommends Faith In Nature Blue Cedar Shampoo that has Cedarwood oil, Glycerin, and Vitamin E to cleanse and maintain your scalp health.
This might be more relatable to those who go to the gym every day. Raise your hands if you’re a cleanliness freak and hence you have to wash your hair every day after the workout. You might be wiping off all the health bacterias too, which helps in maintaining the pH and scalp barrier. Let’s just leave this practice right away!
5. Washing with extreme cold or hot water
Your scalp or even your skin, just cannot take the extreme temperature. It cannot lead to harming your hair follicles which will result in hair loss, dullness, split ends, etc. We want none of this. Let’s just stick to lukewarm water for our scalp especially.
6. Overgrowth of yeast
Yeasts are normally present on our scalp in a healthy number but due to dirt, inflammation, inflammatory diet, or external stressors. There can be an overgrowth of yeast. This is reversible if you take care of your scalp hygiene and diet.
II. Causes of psoriasis
Psoriasis can flare up due to multiple reasons and diet is one of the most common stressors. Opt for a nourishing diet that can help you retain moisture in your scalp. Also, avoid inflammatory food items like spicy food or dairy items that can trigger overproduction of oil. Food items like Seeds, Nuts, Coconut, fruits, and leafy vegetables.
Learn more about food that can save your skin and hair as well here!
Your body system knows when you’re stressed. Much thanks to hormones that are released when you’re stressed. If you’re someone who stresses over the smallest thing, then you must include holistic activities like meditation, creating art, listening to ambient music, yoga, exercise, or dancing that can help you release happy hormones. Happy hormones can strengthen your skin and hair health. Let’s not forget, happy hormones can also help us be better people. So get stress-busting now!
Learn more about stress and its effect on skin here!
Certain activities that may have become a part of your lifestyle like alcohol and smoking can take a toll on your overall health including your hair. Alcohol and smoking will trigger psoriasis. They also release free radicals that damage your hair structure and follicles. This is why your hair lacks lustre and you might experience hair fall.
Psoriasis is a genetic skin condition so there is pretty much nothing that you can do to prevent psoriasis from occurring but you can treat or control the flare-ups that occur when you pull its triggers.
5. Extreme weather
Extreme weather can lead to harming the scalp barrier which eventually triggers skin condition- psoriasis. You cannot do much about the changing weather but you can save your hair from it by wearing your hair in a silk bonnet or a silk scarf that can make a style statement and protect your hair.
What are the treatment options for dandruff and psoriasis?
While trying to treat dandruff and psoriasis, one must keep in mind that dandruff can be eradicated but psoriasis can’t be. Psoriasis is a chronic genetic disease which means you can only manage it by keeping in mind the triggers that cause flare-ups. Here’s how to treat them both-
I. Treatment for dandruff
Make certain dietary changes that can pump in sufficient nutrients and hydration can help you keep your hair strong and lustrous. Dandruff is mainly caused due to poor scalp health which needs not just topical treatment but also the management of triggers in your body like hormones, poor gut health. Eliminate dairy or spicy food that can inflame your scalp.
Sublime recommends Cosmix Healthy Hair that has all the micronutrients that your hair will need such as Zinc, Magnesium Vitamins A, B Complex, C & E.
If you have dandruff then you must keep in mind that your scalp health is in shambles and hence you must use a mild shampoo and conditioner that can soothe your scalp. Avoid heavy cleansers. Look out for haircare that has nourishing and soothing ingredients like Bananas, Coconut, Aloe Vera, Rosemary, Lavender, Rosewater, etc.
Sublime recommends True Frog Anti-Dandruff & Frizz Duo that has Black pepper extracts, Tea tree oil, and Quinoa Protein to help you address flaky and itchy scalp by intensely hydrating and gently cleansing.
3. Hair mask
Hair masks are the superheroes that can give you an instant boost of moisture to your hair. Apply a hair mask and let it do its job for 10-15 odd minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water. Hair masks can handle multiple hair concerns but since you’re specifically using them to moisturise, you can look for a detoxifying and nourishing hair mask.
Sublime recommends Detoxie Keratin Repair & Shine Restore Strengthening Hair Mask that has Japanese Matcha, Argan Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Chamomile, Vitamin E & Sweet Almond Oil that can soothe your scalp and nourish your hair follicles to give you strong luscious locks.
II. Treatment for psoriasis
There are no OTC means to manage and treat psoriasis. Your best bet is to visit a dermatologist and understand the best method of treatment for you. To give you an idea, a dermatologist may resort to the following methods-
This is only after consulting a dermatologist, who can help you figure out what are the necessary Vitamin supplements and medications you can take. Generally, an inhibitor drug that blocks a type of white blood cells is prescribed along with Vitamins to improve your scalp condition. To understand the course of medication that can suit your concern, please visit a dermatologist.
2. UV lights
Another way to treat psoriasis is by using UV B light to slow down the growth of cells and achieve control over the spreading of patches. Only a dermatologist can confirm that this is the right course of action for you and in what dosage it must be taken.
3. Medicated shampoo
You might want to switch to a medicated shampoo whose ingredient list includes Salicylic Acid, Tar, Ketoconazole, etc. These ingredients can work well to treat dandruff too. You don’t want to pick these medicated shampoos without consulting a dermatologist.
When to see a doctor?
In case you’re not sure of the diagnosis then you must not opt for the trial and error method. For dandruff, we all opt for self-treatment and when the dandruff is mild, those self-treatment methods work. But in case, dandruff persists for more than a month then it is best to take a dermatologist’s opinion.
Also, in case you’re not sure if it is dandruff or psoriasis then you must visit a dermatologist since they are similar in appearance but the causes are completely different and hence the treatment is different too. You don’t want to mess with your head without knowing how to cure it, girl!
Everybody in their lifetime faces dandruff. However, psoriasis is not the same. It is a chronic autoimmune disease that leads to overproduction of skin cells resulting in itchy rough patches covered in scales. The causes of both- dandruff and psoriasis are different and hence, the treatment is different too. Before you opt for treatment, you must identify the skin condition correctly to know the treatment. In case, you’re not able to identify properly then you must visit a dermatologist!