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Noticing a dandruff flare-up in the winter months? Cold temperatures and wintry weather don’t really “cause” dandruff, but they can make an existing problem worse.

You know the feeling – the nights are drawing in, the leaves are turning gold… and suddenly your dandruff decides to flare up. It’s the last thing you need, when you should be thinking about cups of warming hot chocolate and who to throw your first snowball at. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix.

Does dandruff get worse in cold weather?

Winter dandruff is a common problem, but you might be surprised to hear that it isn’t actually caused by the weather.

According to dermatologists, dandruff is a year-round condition. That’s because there are 3 factors that cause dandruff and they’re nearly always present. They are:

  1. The natural microbe Malassesia globosa

  2. Sebum - your body’s natural oils

  3. Having a scalp that’s sensitive to the “dandruff” microbe

But you might notice that your scalp and hair get drier and that flakes are more visible in cold months. So, you’ll need to change from your summer routine to give your scalp and hair what it needs in winter.

What can I do?

Now we know that winter can exacerbate your dandruff, let’s run through an action plan for how to keep it in check.

Step 1: Use a good dandruff shampoo every time you wash to restore your scalp’s natural moisture balance.
Winter adds to a lack of moisture retention - one of your skin’s most important jobs is to hold on to essential moisture. When your scalp is out of balance, as with dandruff, the damaged skin lets more essential moisture escape. Dry winter air makes this problem even worse, and gives you visible dandruff in winter.

Step 2: Follow it up with a deep moisturizing conditioner.
Dry winter air can cause static hair, and static leads to frizz, which means you’ll need a deep moisturizing conditioner to keep dry, rough hair at bay. Make sure you work conditioner in the whole strand of your hair, from roots to tips, before rinsing.

If your hair is feeling drier than the Sahara, leave your conditioner on for a further minute to really help it soak up that moisture.

Step 3: Dry your hair on a low heat.
Having wet hair during the cold weather is never pleasant, so we’ll forgive you for using a blow dryer or straightening irons - but make sure the temperature is turned right down.

Your hair will already be frazzled thanks to cold temperatures and the heating in your house or office, so treat it gently when you style. Your hair will dry a minute or two more slowly, but you’ll be seriously cutting down the damage.

Step 4: Use styling products to help combat static.
Once you’ve deep conditioned, seal the deal with styling products.

Hairspray is a great option for most kinds of hair. If your hair is straight, you can even spray a little hairspray on your hands and lightly smooth over the outside of your hair to tame fly aways.

If your hair is wavy or curly, you might also try a leave-in conditioner or curl cream that leaves your locks feeling soft instead of crunchy. Overloading your hair with styling products can aggravate the dandruff-causing fungus – so only use what your hair needs and don’t overdo it.

Step 5: Put down that hat!
Tempting as it is to keep cosy in winter, try and limit how much you wear a winter hat. It’ll create the perfect warm, moist conditions for Malassezia globosa to thrive. 

Try a pair of earmuffs instead if you are feeling the chill – they’ll be much kinder to your scalp.

Step 6: Turn down the heating.
Artificial heating from radiators can dry out the air in the room, which plays havoc with your skin.

Invest in a humidifier to keep the air moisture right, or simply put on another sweater instead of heading straight for the thermostat. It’s better for the environment too!

Keep a cool head this winter with the right routine to help keep your hair and scalp moisturized, flake free, and looking great. Start with Head & Shoulders Smooth & Silky Shampoo & Conditioner.

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