How to Prevent Dandruff in Black Hair

Asian woman combing her hair
Smiling young woman with clean, black hair. (Image: mu_mu_/iStock/Getty Images)

When white specks plague your black hair -- and it’s not from the wintery snowfall outside -- dandruff is the likely culprit. Black hair is just as susceptible to this inflammatory skin condition as other types of hair are, and treatment and prevention of dandruff in black hair is similar to those of any other type of hair, with just some minor differences. Take the proper steps to prevent dandruff from forming in the first place so you’ll never have to be embarrassed by little white specks covering your beautiful black hair.

Step 1

Wash your hair frequently. African Americans who don't suffer from dandruff may do fine with washing their hair a few times a month, but those who do suffer from dandruff should wash their hair at least once weekly. Use lukewarm to warm water, as hot water dries out your scalp.

Step 2

Choose your shampoo wisely. If you don’t already have dandruff, use a sulfate-free shampoo to avoid stripping the natural oils from your scalp, regardless of whether your hair is processed or not. If you do suffer from dandruff, use a dandruff shampoo -- sulfur- and tar-based dandruff shampoos are the best options -- once or twice per week until the dandruff is gone. African-American skin and hair can be sensitive to medicated dandruff shampoos, so avoid using these products more than a couple of times per week.

Step 3

Lay off the hair-styling products. Excessive use of hair-styling products can lead to buildup and can also destroy the natural bacteria on your scalp that help to fight dandruff. If you must use hair-styling products, use them sparingly.

Step 4

Exfoliate your scalp every couple of weeks to slough off the dead, dry skin. After wetting your hair in the shower, massage a handful of baking soda or table salt into your scalp. Massage for a few minutes, rinse and then shampoo your hair as usual.

Step 5

Apply a weekly hot-oil treatment to keep your scalp moisturized. Massage several drops of olive oil into your scalp before bed. Put a shower cap on, then wash your hair as usual the next morning.

Things You'll Need

  • Sulfate-free shampoo

  • Sulfur- or tar-based shampoo

  • Baking soda or table salt

Tip

Avoid scratching your head if you do have dandruff. It may be difficult not to scratch because dandruff often results in a itchy scalp, but scratching will only make the flakes worse. So avoid the temptation to scratch no matter how bad the itch.

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