I came across this inter­est­ing arti­cle in the St Louis Dis­patch;

Yolin­da Washington’s life­long dan­druff prob­lem has been embar­rass­ing, she said. “You want peo­ple to look at you, not your scalp.”

She used to have her hair washed week­ly at a salon. Between vis­its, she oiled her scalp dai­ly. But noth­ing could rid her of the scaly white flakes that sat some­times vis­i­bly on her scalp or shoul­ders.

She saw a brochure a few weeks ago on a study that aims to help black women who wres­tle with dan­druff. She joined a study under way at St. Louis Uni­ver­si­ty.

“Dan­druff is a nui­sance and affects people’s lifestyles,” said Dr. Jea­neen Chap­pell, a researcher and res­i­dent in der­ma­tol­ogy at St. Louis Uni­ver­si­ty School of Med­i­cine. “Social and eco­nom­ic ram­i­fi­ca­tions can be great for indi­vid­u­als. It’s not going to kill you, but it affects how you deal with oth­er peo­ple, the clothes you wear, your con­fi­dence.”

Chap­pell believes she has found a way to fight black women’s dan­druff, despite the unique issues they face.

“African-Amer­i­can hair is dri­er and doesn’t pro­duce as much oil as oth­er races,” Chap­pell said, “and it tends to be brit­tle and break if you wash it too often.”

Many black women get their hair chem­i­cal­ly relaxed and pro­fes­sion­al­ly styled. So they may only have their hair washed dur­ing a salon vis­it, Chap­pell said, which can be every two weeks.

She sus­pects a foam rem­e­dy already avail­able may be bet­ter suit­ed for black women’s hair than dan­druff sham­poos. If she presents proof, more doc­tors may pre­scribe the foam rather than sham­poos.

Dan­druff is among the top rea­sons why black women vis­it der­ma­tol­o­gists, Chap­pell said.
“I was notic­ing women com­ing to the office who were get­ting (dan­druff) sham­poo, weren’t adher­ing to pre­scrib­ing prac­tices,” she said. “The No. 1 rea­son was they didn’t want to wash their hair as often as I was pre­scrib­ing.”

“Any­thing that makes the hair wet and ruins the style is some­thing that black women won’t coop­er­ate with. Peo­ple don’t appre­ci­ate the amount of time it takes to care for the hair.”

She added. “Straight­en­ing takes two to three hours, in addi­tion to styling. No one wants to do that two or three times a week.”

The issue isn’t about clean hair, she said. “African-Amer­i­can women don’t have dan­druff because they don’t wash their hair,” Chap­pell said. “It’s because they don’t want to use the most com­mon treat­ments.”
Dan­druff is caused pri­mar­i­ly by a fun­gus called malassezia, Chap­pell said. All adults have it, but some peo­ple are more sen­si­tive to it; also, it’s often inten­si­fied by hor­mon­al, genet­ic or neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions.

Chap­pell said the foam treat­ment uses the same dan­druff-fight­ing ingre­di­ent — keto­cona­zole, an anti-fun­gal med­i­cine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion — as the sham­poo. The foam does not require patients to wash their hair, the doc­tor said.

Thus, the study. “I’m try­ing to meet these women where they are, with some­thing that won’t dis­rupt their lifestyles,” Chap­pell said.

The study divides 100 women into two groups, one using sham­poo and the oth­er foam.

Wash­ing­ton got the sham­poo. But in agree­ing to use it, she must wash her hair three times a week.
Her dan­druff has improved, she said, but she has had to change her styling habits.

“So I take care of it myself, flat-iron it when I have to,” Wash­ing­ton said.

She’s con­sid­er­ing a new hair­style, pos­si­bly return­ing to a nat­ur­al style that doesn’t require chem­i­cals.

“I have to give some thought to that,” she said. “That’s a big change.”

Inter­est­ing! What are your thoughts ladies?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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52 Comments on "Dandruff In Black Women Exacerbated By Relaxing"

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Great arti­cle! When I was relaxed it was so embarass­ing to have dan­druff flakes every­where and hav­ing a short cut made it even more embarass­ing. I knew deep down it was from the relax­er burns and harsh chem­i­cals caus­ing severe dry scalp. Since going nat­ur­al I have not expe­ri­enced any issues with dan­druff, WHAT A RELIEF!!!

Patricia Kayden

Inter­est­ing arti­cle. I nev­er linked dan­druff to relaxed hair. Anoth­er rea­son to go nat­ur­al, I guess.