All the Reasons You Might Be Experiencing Dandruff for the First Time, According to Experts

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While the simple act of jumping in the shower, washing our hair, and mustering the strength to pick up a blow-dryer may be a difficult-to-achieve task in the current climate, there’s a new challenge to contend with—and it’s popping up as that pesky condition of a dry, flaky scalp

New York dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD (who has been getting a lot of scalp-related questions of late from patients) pegs two specific reasons dandruff, and all its counterparts, are getting worse right now. “Dandruff is caused by the overproduction of oils in the scalp and, since the seasons are changing and the weather is going from cold to warm, our skin is producing more oils, which can lead to dandruff.”

“It [dandruff] can also be caused by stress,” she adds. “We are currently living in a very scary and uncertain time, which causes a lot of stress that can lead to skin issues, including dandruff.”

Shampoo Do
Tricologist Shab Reslan is seeing it, too, and she blames it on that social-distancing causality of not picking up the shampoo as often as we do during our “normal” schedules. 

“If anything, the increase in dandruff may be due to the extended time between hair washes, since we are staying home and not seeing people in person. “

Another touter of the “please shampoo” message is Dove celebrity stylist Mark Townsend, who recommends doing so three times a week. “There’s a whole mixed bag of issues going on right now, but people are definitely not washing their hair as much as they should be—it’s even become kind of a joke on memes on Instagram. But when you don’t wash your hair, the oils build up and clog the pores, which can lead to flakiness.”

Likewise, Townsend points to the fact that our “quarantine diets”—the ones that include fatty, unhealthy foods and sugary snacks—aren’t helping much.

“A lot of our diets have changed, and not for the better,” he says. “Those kinds of foods can really lead to scalp issues.”

Brand Moves
Sunday Riley is also all about the scalp-health angle—mixed with some social-media connecting—so much so that she pushed her latest product launch up a couple of months. 

“Our new Clean Rinse Clarifying Scalp Serum is actually officially launching in July,” Riley says. “But, we are trying to find innovative ways to connect with our community now more than ever.”

The brand, which is traditionally known for skin care, is doing a virtual 5K walk/run with its followers and clients, building out a Facebook community, and participating in daily Instagram lives—a recipe they think will equate to a better business model, and more balanced scalps in the process. 

“We’ve taken our community in closer, going behind-the-scenes, and shared with them what our upcoming launches are now through the end of the year,” she says. “We found that, by talking about our newest launches, a lot of our community was eager to learn more and join a discussion about newness and what they would like to see from the brand.”

The proof: “We released 500 units as ‘early access’ for our community, which has been a wild success,” Riley says. 

“It’s not a perfect time to launch a product, but it’s a perfect time to share what’s going on as a brand.”

The Final Word
“Just about every diagnosis in dermatology can be linked to flare when the body is under stress,” says dermatologist Tami Buss Cassis, MD, who offers encouraging words of wisdom: “Back at the ranch, it’s ideal to stay home and help manage your stress—but, if you have an issue, your board-certified dermatologist has your back. Reach out to your local dermatology office for a telederm appointment and they will walk you through specific tips that can help you.”

“Don’t worry, we got this!”

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