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Summer Snow

Why do we get dandruff in the summer?


By Tanya Muzaffar

While Maria from The Sound of Music has snowflakes – that stay on her nose and eyelashes – on her list of favorite things, it’s something not for us; especially when they start to ‘decorate’ our shoulders too!

Did you know that 2 out of every 5 people suffer from dandruff? For most this occurs during the winter months, when the air is dry and skin is prone to dehydration. But for some this occurs in summer months too.

The common dandruff is the result of an oily, inflamed scalp (seborrheic dermatitis) and an otherwise harmless yeast called Malassezia furfur that exists on nearly all of us. While no one likes the idea of anything ‘furfur’ on their body, it’s not the worst thing – turns out this fungus loves the oil-secreting glands around hair follicles and it grows rampant in greasy conditions and causes irritation in sensitive individuals, who then, react by increased shedding of dead skin cells and flaking.

Wait!!! Don’t freak out, we told you it’s not the worst thing! It’s not infectious or contagious, and it is not due to poor hygiene! Stress, fatigue and reduced general health may contribute to a flare-up however.

Seborrheic dermatitis can occur in other areas rich in oil glands as well such as your eyebrows, the sides of the nose and the backs of your ears, armpits, and hoo-boy, the breastbone and groin too!

So now that we know there’s an overzealous fungus having a party in your hair, what can we do about it? What doctors recommend is a medicated shampoo, such as Selsun Blue or any other zinc based shampoo to tame the trouble. You can also consume foods with zinc or even B vitamins. If the condition persists, consider consulting a doctor.

Until then, now that you know what is giving you the summer snow, feel free to rock black!