Dandruff Curly Hair: The Nightmare That Haunts Curly Heads

Falling flakes on the shoulder is a major source of embarrassment for many. In general, the hair scalp produces flakes regularly, which are a buildup of dead skin cells, that cells won’t cause any problem until it appears noticeably and collects on the scalp for many reasons.

Dandruff is one of the most common reasons for falling flakes – yes, it’s not the only reason for scalp flakes- While dryness and some diseases like eczema can cause flakes too.

After a long search, I found that there aren’t any clear reasons for dandruff. Some research claims that the cause may be due to a type of fungi yeast that naturally lives in our skins called Malassezia globosa but causes issues with some people. The study links between Malassezia and the presence of dandruff on the scalp.

Another study claims that dandruff is linked to a balance between bacteria and fungi on the scalp. In comparison, the rest studies ignore the effects of bacteria and focus on studying Malassezia’s effects and its relationship to dandruff.

Is it dandruff or just a dry scalp?

As mentioned, there is a misconception between dry scalp and dandruff. Despite both of them have some syndromes in common, like falling flakes and annoying itchy scalp. As its name indicates, dry scalp is associated with dryness of the scalp, while dandruff is more noticeable in oily hair.

The difference between dry scalp and dandruff
The difference between dry scalp and dandruff

Curly hair is always associated with dryness, and we don’t refer to the dryness of hair strands but to the scalp itself. Using products that contain sulfates and dry alcohol and relatively dry or cold weather are considered the main reasons for the dry scalp. 

However, every curly girl will notice that her scalp and strands are both getting dryer in winter, which facing either scalp flakes or dandruff might be a little confusing thing, it’s not really that much while the flakes on the scalp that are caused by dryness will look dry and smaller than dandruff flakes.

Concerning dandruff, it gets more complicated because there aren’t clear reasons responsible for it. Many studies refer to Malassezia fungi that feed off natural hair oil and then produce oleic acid, leading to irritation of the scalp and accumulation of greasy flakes. As a result, the dandruff flakes will feel oily and look big and yellow or white.

Is Curly Hair More Prone To Dandruff?

According to previous studies, dandruff’s likely cause is yeast fungus called Malassezia that thrives on natural hair oil for the scalp and skin. Hair oil, which is present on the scalp of naturally curly hair, finds it challenging to make its way to the end of the hair due to the hair’s formation, and thus the oils accumulate on the scalp, which forms a delicious meal for Malassezia. As a result, more oils means more dandruff.

A girl with curly hair checks her scalp
The main cause of dandruff is a fungus called Malassezia

The greasy scalp doesn’t necessarily mean that it contains dandruff. However, people who have oily scalps are more likely to have it later. Washing the scalp frequently to remove oils from it will not solve the dandruff problem at all, as, on the contrary, this will stimulate the scalp to secrete more oils.

On the other hand, sometimes when those with curly hair feel their scalp greasy, maybe that is a sign of product build-up and natural oil, which may cause annoying itchy scalp and some flakes. In this case, it’s better to clarify the scalp using apple acid or a clarifying shampoo; once to twice a month, it depends on scalp nature.

How to get rid of dandruff in curly hair?

There is no permanent solution for dandruff curly hair. All proposed solutions focus on removing oily layers that grow Malassezia and calming the itchy scalp; this means once you stop the treatment, dandruff will reappear. So firstly you’ve to accept the previous fact and be patient. 

natural oils
Use oil to rid of curly hair dandruff

Use oil to rid of curly hair dandruff

Some oils have antibacterial and antifungal features, which help in reducing dandruff. There are many studies about oil’s effect on dandruff treatment. The results of these oils treatment range from mild to medium. These oils can help treat mild cases of dandruff and help calm an itchy scalp:

  • Coconut oil
  • Tea tree oil 

Use dandruff shampoo 

Many dandruff curly hair shampoos can be used to get rid of dandruff over-the-counter, but this kind of shampoo may cause dryness, which is the main problem that every curly girl already faces, so after using it, make sure that you moisturize your hair well.

A detailed article will be published in the coming period for more information on how to get rid of dandruff curly hair.

When to see a doctor for dandruff in curly hair?

Despite dandruff is a common condition, and in most cases, you can treat it by yourself. In some cases, scalp flakes are considered a sign of a disease. Even if you tried several solutions by yourself like that mentioned above, it wouldn’t get better.

The dermatologist examines the scalp
Dandruff treatment is the specialty of a dermatologist

On the contrary, maybe it will get worse. So if you don’t notice any improvement, or when your scalp has started to become red, and in some cases, it may bleed and Intense unbearable itching, then you have to see a doctor and never think to treat this case by yourself.

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