I honestly cannot believe how fast 2020 came and went but thank goodness! I’m praying this year was not 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 to continue looking our best. Aging is a process we are all dealing with, albeit different stages, but we aren’t getting any younger.

I hope I have helped and will continue to help you understand ways to look younger, things we can 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 perhaps it will help you understand and possibly 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 dry. There are several myths and truths to why we get dandruff and what to do about it.

First of all, dandruff is usually caused by oil from our oil 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 hair products adds to the issue.

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

One misconception is that it’s good to brush or scratch the scalp before shampooing to loosen the flakes. This is definitely not recommended because it could cause irritation, which might make the flakes become thicker because the scalp is trying to protect itself. Don’t start scratching.

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.

Dry heat and cold weather are definitely major culprits in the production of more dandruff and flakes at this time of year.

A proper diet rich in Vitamins A, B and C, along with 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 hair thins. Shampooing occasionally with clarifying shampoo help remove build up and dead skin cells.

All in all, awareness is the first step in combating those flakes on your shoulders. Once you are aware, speak to a knowledgeable stylist or dermatologist about the problem. Again, salon shampoos for these issues might be more expensive, but they are so worth it in the long run.

If you see dandruff flakes, pay attention to your lifestyle and products you’re using. Maybe it’s time for the minor changes I’ve suggested. It will be one less thing to worry about in this upcoming year.

Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

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