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If your shoulder seems to be a favourite place for white flakes, you could be having a dry scalp which leads to flakes and dandruff. Dandruff can be an embarrassment when it shows up in public and dealing with dandruff and pregnancy at the same time can prove to be a handful. Finding the causes behind the condition and remedies to address it is the key to managing dandruff during pregnancy.
Is It Normal to Get Dandruff in Pregnancy?
Dandruff is a skin-related problem of the scalp which results in flaking and itchiness. Though this may not be a result of improper hygiene, most people tend to think so. The process of dead skin cells shedding to make way for newer cells is a natural one and happens throughout our lifetime. It is only when the process is faster is when the scalp gets covered with flakes, which we know as dandruff. Doctors often face this question from their pregnant patients “can pregnancy cause dandruff?” and the answer is simple. Getting dandruff during pregnancy is quite common and you can relax since you are not the only one to suffer from it. If you did not have this problem earlier, then it’s your hormones that are acting up and could be a major factor during this time.
What Causes Dandruff when Pregnant?
Dandruff is caused when there is an excessive growth of skin cells and this could happen due to many reasons, many which may not be connected to your current pregnant state. Often, it is the hormonal changes that are responsible for this. Let us discuss this in detail:
1. Higher Oil Production
During pregnancy, hormonal changes are quite common and impact your skin in more than one way. During these months, your skin will produce more oil which in turn leads to the production of newer cells at a higher rate. This is responsible for a speedy build-up of dead skin cells, due to which the scalp gets covered with flakes.
2. Increased Sensitivity of Shampoos, Oils and Conditioners
Major contributors to the appearance of dandruff during pregnancy are the hair care products like hair oils, shampoos and conditioners. During pregnancy, your body is ultra-sensitive to chemicals and additives and the uncharacteristic flaking of skin cells is merely a result of a protective response from your skin. Although your skin is used to these products and you haven’t changed the brand during pregnancy, it is merely the way your scalp has reacted in a different way that has led to flaking.
3. Overreaction from The Body
Our body skin is always home to various microorganisms. It is only during pregnancy that the body becomes sensitive and sees these bacteria as aliens. It tries to keep the body free from these microorganisms which result in itching or flakes on the scalp.
Medicinal Treatment for Pregnancy Dandruff
It is possible to control the outbreak of dandruff during pregnancy, although there may be a few trial-and-error methods before you find the right solution. Apart from various medicines which your doctor can prescribe if required, shampoos often work when it is a case of mild dandruff. However, since medications can have side effects on the user, it is best to ask your doctor instead of self-medicating. There are a variety of topical creams, gels and sprays available that can provide relief from this irritating condition. They should be taken under medical advice only and strict attention should be paid to dosage and duration of treatment.
Is It Safe to Use Medicated Dandruff Shampoos?
If regular shampoos are unable to treat your dandruff condition, dandruff shampoos which are available at medical stores should be a good alternative. Remember that all dandruff shampoos are different and a little bit of experimentation will be needed before you arrive at the one that suits you. In case of any kind of irritation like itching, burning or stinging in the eyes or redness, stop its use and speak to your doctor about it.
1. Ketoconazole Shampoos
Ketoconazole is an antifungal agent that works when other shampoos prove to be ineffective. It can be purchased over-the-counter or ask your doctor to write you a prescription.
2. Pyrithione Zinc Shampoos
These contain zinc pyrithione that have antibacterial and antifungal properties. This shampoo can decrease the fungus on your scalp which causes dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.
3. Selenium Sulfide Shampoos
These shampoos slow down the skin cells from dying. They can fade chemically coloured hair, use them only as directed. Also make sure you rinse the hair well after shampooing.
4. Tar-based Shampoos
It slows the process of skin cells dying on your scalp and flaking off. Coal tar is a by-product of coal manufacturing which is useful in conditions like dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis.
How Can You Treat Dandruff Naturally during Pregnancy?
The following time-tested remedies have proved to be a life-saver as far as dandruff and flakes during pregnancy are concerned. Try and find out their effectiveness for yourself.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Used as a purifying scalp treatment for those suffering from dandruff, Apple Cider Vinegar is rapidly rising the popularity charts as a scalp cleanser. It has amazing anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that keep the scalp clean by removing the dandruff-causing fungus. You can mix apple cider vinegar with double the quantity of water and apply it on the scalp overnight. Wash it clean in the morning for best results.
2. Aloe Vera
Your dandruff problem during pregnancy can be easily addressed by using Aloe Vera. Its natural anti-fungal properties help in removing yeast and fungus that cause dandruff on the scalp. It is soothing to the scalp and moisturizes it thus removing dead cells on your skin. Aloe Vera is packed with a number of cleansing enzymes that are powerful enough to remove dandruff and dead skin cells from the scalp. It can be used as a standalone natural medicine or along with any other natural remedy to eliminate the irritating flakes. Pure Aloe Vera can be massaged directly onto the scalp for best effects.
3. Garlic and Argan oil
Garlic helps in enhancing the blood flow to the scalp and removes dust, grime and other impurities that get accumulated in our hair. It can be rubbed directly on the scalp in order to stimulate it. Immerse finely-chopped garlic in argan oil and store it in a container. The oil helps the goodness of garlic to reach your hair and its roots to act effectively.
4. Coconut Oil
This is the most widely used and the safest method for pregnant women to arrest dandruff. Its dandruff-fighting abilities are well-known and since it does not contain any harmful chemicals, it can be safely used without a worry. You can warm coconut oil and apply it on the scalp with a cotton ball and wash it after an hour of its application.
5. Sea Salt
Add two to three tablespoons of pure sea salt to an oil-infused shampoo and gently exfoliate the scalp. Use a moisturizer after the exfoliation is carried out. This treatment will help in treating the dry skin, which is the cause of dandruff.
Tips to Prevent Dandruff Happening while Pregnant
Since prevention is better than cure, how about taking adequate steps to prevent dandruff in the first place and avoiding the hassles of treating it later. Here are a few useful tips to ensure your pregnancy is dandruff-free:
- Manage stress: Pregnancy is a difficult time and can give rise to stress. Your skin condition could be a result of various stresses and hence, managing it is the key to stay dandruff-free during this period.
- Manage diet: The inclusion of Vitamin B and Zinc is absolutely necessary, since this not only helps in regenerating skin cells but also boosts your immunity and maintains optimal metabolism in your body. Include bananas, egg yolk, mushrooms and cauliflower in your diet to benefit from their goodness.
- Care for hair: Use a recommended anti-dandruff shampoo to keep your hair and scalp clean. Wash your hair after you have travelled outside and you should allow the shampoo to soak in your hair before you wash it with lots of water. Make sure you dry your hair properly after the wash as moisture can lead to other skin irritation too.
Hair care forms an important part of our grooming on a daily basis and is absolutely essential during pregnancy. Keeping the scalp and hair clean, maintaining the right diet and keeping stress levels at a minimum can prove to be helpful in treating dandruff.