6 Common Ingredients to Avoid If You Have Dandruff

Nothing kills a good hair day like an itchy, flaky scalp.

Dealing with dandruff can be a major bummer, and those that suffer from chronic flakiness know that finding the ideal solution takes a ton of trial and error. From at-home hacks to prescription strength treatments, the beauty market is flooded with hundreds of products all promising to banish dandruff for good. But could these miracle remedies actually do more harm than good? Yes. Certain chemicals stress out your scalp, increasing flakes instead of eliminating them. And these chemicals are more common than you think. Products from shampoo and conditioner to mousse and hairspray may contain drying ingredients that worsen flakiness and irritation.

If you have dandruff, you’ll definitely want to avoid these 6 chemical components when it comes to your hair regimen.

Via @raymesilverberg

1. Parabens

Parabens are major perpetrators of scalp irritation. These synthetic chemicals are often used as preservatives, keeping shampoos and conditioners free from bacterial build up. But these chemicals can also irritate your scalp and have been linked to hair loss. Not exactly a plus for those dealing with chronic dandruff and irritation.

Moreover, recent research shows that parabens may also play a role in the development of certain breast cancers. So steer clear of these chemicals altogether if you can.

2. Sulfates

Sulfates are another super common ingredient that has definitely got to go. ALS and SLS sulfates are often used to help meld the chemical compounds of a product together. These chemicals create that sudsy, foamy component to every great bath product. But sulfates are also responsible for a ton of scalp and strand damage. These chemicals strip your hair of necessary natural oils, making your scalp highly susceptible to bacterial build up and extreme dryness. As a result, sulfates exacerbate skin conditions like dandruff and psoriasis.

3. Silicone

Silicone is a common ingredient in many shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. It’s used to seal the cuticle for shiny, smooth-looking tresses. Silicones like dimethicone can clog your pores, leading to increased scalp irritation, flake build up, and hair shedding. No thank you. Product build up is one of the primary causes of dandruff, so avoid silicones if possible.

Via Unsplash

4. Sodium Chloride

Yes, salt. Believe it or not, some shampoos and conditioners rely on this culinary garnish as a thickener. But sodium chloride also dehydrates your skin, scalp, and strands. Not an ideal if you suffer from a dry scalp.

5. Synthetic Fragrances

While we love a fresh-scented shampoo or conditioner, we’re always wary of products containing synthetic fragrances. “Fragrance” is a catch-all term for hundreds of thousands of artificial chemicals that can wreak havoc on your hair and scalp. Allergens and drying agents like alcohol can make their way into these sweet-smelling compounds, exacerbating flakiness and causing adverse skin reactions. So it’s best stick to natural scents from here on out.

6. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a chemical compound commonly found in keratin treatments and other hair products. This known carcinogen is used as a product preservative but it can be dangerous when absorbed through the skin or inhaled during a chemical hair treatment. Formaldehyde is known to cause scalp irritation and, in some cases, severe topical allergic reaction. Definitely a no go when dealing with dandruff.

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