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It might be difficult to imagine dandruff as anything but mundane and bothersome, but believe it or not, there are some curious nibs of information about those annoying flakes. Below, we’ve compiled our top ten facts about the condition as well as treatment options:

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Is Dandruff Normal?

Dandruff is normal. Most commonly, it is a manifestation of a (usually) healthy fungus that lives in everyone’s heads. Due to myriad health conditions or lifestyle choices, the fungus can overproduce. In sloughing off the excess skin created by the overproduction, the scalp breeds dandruff. Simple.

Can Stress Cause Dandruff?

When you relax, you scalp will, too. Many experts believe stress triggers dandruff. While full body relaxation may be easier in theory than in practice, there is no shame in taking time do to the things you love everyday to reduce all the anxiety caused by work, school, family – you name it. If anyone asks why you are practicing sun salutations at your desk, just say you’re reducing your risk of dandruff. 

Can Exercise Help My Dandruff?

Regular exercise can diminish dandruff. This is because vigorous exercise spikes your heart rate, which improves circulation. Improved circulation below the skin means healthier appearance above – and less dandruff, as a result.

Like your middle school gym teacher preached, after you sweat, you need to hit the showers. A clean scalp is a happy scalp. A happy scalp doesn’t shed skin. Regular, thorough shampooing prevents excess skin cells from accumulating while invigorating hair follicles and reducing excessive sebum buildup. All this action amounts to one important bottom line: no more dandruff.

Natural Dandruff Treatments

Dandruff hates vegetables. Well -- zinc, B vitamins, and essential fatty acids are known for repelling dandruff. Luckily for you, it’s easy to pump your body full of nutritious good stuff by “eating the rainbow.” Think dark, emerald green veggies like broccoli, spinach, and kale; tender pink proteins like beef and shrimp; or caramel-colored comforting foods like pecans and baked beans.

Speaking of vitamins, your scalp soaks up vitamin E every time you go outside. We’re not saying you need to grease up and hit the beach every day to avoid dandruff, but small doses of sunlight (and the vitamin E it carries). Nourish your scalp, keeping it healthy and flake-free. 

However, if the weather is especially frigid and dry, or if the sun is glaring at a megawatt level, wear a hat. Limiting your scalp’s exposure to freezing flurries or caustically bright rays minimizes the likelihood that you’ll have an abdominal snowman living on your shoulders all winter long. 

Black shirts attract dandruff. Kidding. However, dandruff becomes many times more apparent every time you slip on that dark navy cable knit sweater. Stick to light colored tops if you notice your scalp is beginning to flake. Camouflage is key – camouflaging your dandruff, that is.

People have been using tar for more than two centuries to treat dandruff. Next time you’re lathering up with some Denorex shampoo, just think of the Founding Fathers. There’s nothing more patriotic than eradicating dandruff the same way Ben Franklin did. 

Is Dandruff Itchy?

Dandruff can be seriously itchy. Think about thousands of dead skin cells floating around your scalp, irritating your hair follicles and you. If you get agitated and over-scratch, causing an abrasion, just rinse the area with a dab of baby shampoo. The formula is sensitive enough to cleanse the delicate area without irritating your boo-boo. 

There you have it – your quick and dirty Top Ten list of dandruff trivia – though we advise you think twice before whipping out your newfound dandruff trivia at the next happy hour.

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