Let the New Year be a good hair year for you

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I wish each and every one of you and yours the happiest, healthiest 2018!

I honestly cannot believe how fast 2017 came and went. If this is a sign of things to come, we all need to brace ourselves and do the best we can to take care of ourselves.

I strive to share any and all tips I have up my sleeve to keep everyone aware of ways we can stay looking our best. Aging is a process we are all dealing with, albeit different stages, but none of us are getting any younger.

I hope I have helped and will continue to help you understand ways to stay looking younger, things to do to expedite our styling and the reasons why our hair behaves the way it does.

This article might not be the most beautifying, but it will help you to understand and hopefully correct a problem many men and women deal with on a regular basis: dandruff. It is a common problem, especially at this time of year when the heat is on and the air is dry.

There are several myths and truths as to why we get dandruff and what to do about it.

First of all, dandruff is usually caused by oil from our glands, mixed with dead skin cells and-or product buildup. This combination causes itchy and flaky scalp. It can worsen during the winter because our skin gets drier.

Dandruff is also exacerbated by stress, diet, poor hygiene, and - as I mentioned in several of my articles - cheap hair products that have waxes and oils as fillers. Any sensitivity to any products adds to the issue.

There can be other reasons for flaking as well, such as eczema, infection or psoriasis. All of these need medical attention.

One misconception for a solution is to brush or scratch the scalp before shampooing to loosen the dandruff flakes. This is definitely not recommended because it could cause irritation. It also might make the flakes become thicker because the scalp is trying to protect itself.

Dandruff is not contagious, although there are other itchy scalp disorders that are. One remedy to calm the scalp and help the itchiness is to put half Listerine and half water in a spray bottle, spray directly on the scalp, and let sit for a few minutes before shampooing.

The menthol and other ingredients have soothing and anti fungal qualities that help soothe and combat the irritation and dryness.

A proper diet rich in A, B and C vitamins and drinking plenty of water are easy ways to make the scalp healthy.

Dandruff shampoos are not the answer. They make the hair dry and brittle. Dandruff doesn't directly cause hair loss, however the reasons dandruff appears are the same reasons that hair thins. Shampooing occasionally with clarifying shampoo helps remove build-up and dead skin cells.

All in all, awareness is the first step in combatting those nasty flakes on your shoulders. Then, speak to a knowledgeable stylist or dermatologist about the problem.

Once again, salon shampoos for these issues may be more expensive but so worth it in the long run.

If you see these flakes, pay attention to your lifestyle and products you're using. Hydrate, look at your hair products and make the minor changes I've suggested. It will be one less thing to worry about in this upcoming year.

Joy Ross is owner of Style It Salon in Old Town Bluffton. www.styleitsalon.com

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