How to get rid of dandruff and scalp pimples: The causes, treatment, and preventive methods to know from Singapore experts

How to get rid of dandruff and scalp pimples: The causes, treatment, and preventive methods to know from Singapore experts

Head banger

Text: Emily Heng

Image: Instagram | @theouai

No hair-related woe is insurmountable. Lank, lifeless locks are rescued by dry shampoo; dry, damaged tresses restored from potent potions; and the fallout from a bad haircut reduced thanks to a multitude of extension options. Is there a cure for every hairy situation? It seems so — unless, of course, your issue goes deeper, below the surface. Literally.

Be it itchiness, flakiness, or acne, there are a multitude of problems that can plague your noggin. Unlike your mane, scalp health is rarely touched upon, as dandruff, scalp pimples, and the like are thought to be unsightly, embarrassing, and therefore, unmentionable. Not for us. We sit down with haircare experts to get the dirt on the scaly sitch, below.

What is dandruff?

"Essentially, it is a skin condition that affects the scalp," explains Leonica Kei, trichology specialist and founder of Leonica K Trichology. "The main symptoms include flaking, itchiness, and inflammation, which can be detrimental to one's self-esteem over time."

What causes dandruff?

Dandruff comes about when skin cells grow and die off too fast — aka before it undergoes a renewal cycle, which takes 28 days. "Both genetics and lifestyle choices play a part in dandruff growth. If skin sensitivity is hereditary within the family, for instance, then there is a higher chance of experiencing dandruff, particularly if a scalp is not well-cleansed," Leonica elaborates. "Mostly, it has to do with factors such as stress, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, and not washing your hair frequently enough."

Can you prevent dandruff?

It all boils down to using the right haircare products. Valerie Koh, Director of Juno Hair, recommends products containing antifungal actives such as zinc, climbazole, and selenium sulphide. "Such ingredients work to slow dandruff growth, effectively killing any yeast and reducing it to normal levels," she discloses.

How do you get rid of dandruff?

"Believe it or not, dandruff is a condition that comes and goes. It's entirely normal, as the skin of our scalp changes as we age," Leonica points out. "Ultimately, it's all about having a line-up of hair products that work for you. If you're suffering from dandruff, I would recommend the Leonica K Trichology Clear Shampoo as well as Anti-Pruritic Scalp Tonic to keep your scalp in tip-top shape." Valerie, on the other hand, is a fan of Sachajuan's Scalp Shampoo, Wella SP Clear Scalp Shampeeling, and the American Crew Anti-Dandruff + Sebum Control Shampoo.

What about scalp pimples?

Think of it this way: your scalp works very much like your skin — where it can be prone to dryness, scabbing, and, naturally, acne, too. However, do note that inflammation and itchiness in excess could be an indicator of bigger problem, such a bacterial infection. When in doubt, seek help from a medical professional.

What causes scalp pimples?

According to Leonica, the scalp actually contains a higher concentration of sebaceous glands compared to other parts of the body, thus making scalp pimples a common occurrence. "Some sebaceous glands are more active, and hence, produce more oil," Leonica clarifies. "So, pimples are an indication that the oil glands are too active and when bacteria are trapped, skin cells then begin to multiply in a faster rate. This then results in pimples." Much like dandruff, a hormonal imbalance, lack of sleep, and even using too much oil-based hair products can also play in a part in the growth of scalp pimples.

How do you get rid of scalp pimples?

Regular scalp treatments and cleansing can help with the situation, as it prevents oil and flaky build-up. As with the zits you get on your face, Valerie finds that products containing glycolic acid, sacylic acid, tea tree oil, and benzoyl peroxide are beneficial when applied directly to bumps. This eliminates bacteria and thus speeds up the healing process.