Don’t sweat it if you haven't been giving your scalp the same TLC as your face, because there are a few ways to tell if your scalp-care routine could use a plus-up, according to board-certified dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD.
If your scalp feels like, well, nothing at all, you probably have a healthy one, Dr. Nazarian says. Although you’ll need a professional to officially determine your scalp health, if there’s no itching, pain, or increased sensitivity and you’re not losing excessive amounts of hair daily, odds are that your scalp is doing okay, she says.
But if you are experiencing any of those signs, your dandruff solution might be hiding in your daily beauty routine. By leaning on skin-care-inspired ingredients—like the ones found in the new Symbiose line from Kérastase that aims to eliminate symptoms of dandruff without sacrificing the luxuriousness of deeply hydrated hair and scalp—you can tap into the so fresh, so clean feeling you get after washing your face and applying your favorite serum. Read on to see how taking the skin-care approach can offer a dandruff solution that really works.
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Pyrithione zinc for inhibiting yeast growth
The first thing you need in an anti-dandruff scalp-care routine is a hard-working dandruff shampoo (obviously). While pyrithione zinc might be a skin-care ingredient you're a little less familiar with (it's usually used to treat symptoms associated with seborrheic dermatitis or eczema), it works wonders on the skin on your scalp. By inhibiting yeast growth—which is the medical reason for dandruff, according to Dr. Nazarian—it helps keep dandruff at bay.
If you're looking for a luxurious dandruff shampoo with pyrithione zinc, the Symbiose Bain Crème Antipelliculaire Antidandruff Shampoo has got you covered. The sulfate-free shampoo—which should be used at least twice a week—will leave your scalp feeling gently hydrated while fighting flakes. But, this shampoo doesn't just focus on dandruff symptoms (we told you it's luxurious)—it'll also leave your hair looking smooth and shiny.
Salicylic acid for removing build-up
You know that feeling when you run a hairbrush through your hair and it just feels… off? Maybe the texture of your hair feels waxy or you notice little flakes on the crown of your head. These could be signs that you have some dandruff or build-up on your scalp, which can be an accumulation of hair products, sweat, sebum, and dead skin cells.
If you've ever used a facial toner or a cleanser for acne-prone skin, you're probably familiar with salicylic acid's exfoliating properties—and they work just the same in scalp care. “Salicylic acid is a keratolytic—a type of ingredient that gently breaks the bonds between surface skin cells, and can slough off cells, preventing build-up and removing flakes or dandruff,” Dr. Nazarian says.
Additionally, Dr. Nazarian says that salicylic acid may be useful in treating dandruff because it can help decrease oil gland production (the same reason you lean on it for acne-prone skin), and dandruff is thought to be worsened by oil production.
You'll find salicylic acid in two Symbiose products: the scalp scrub and the night serum. The twice-weekly scrub will slough away any build-up on your scalp while you shower. Just use it before you shampoo to instantly exfoliate dead skin cells and remove dandruff visible flakes. To fight your flakes overnight, apply four doses of the serum (one dose is conveniently marked on the pipette) to your dry scalp before bed, and you’ll wake up with softer, shinier hair and fewer flakes.
Squalane for hydrating hair and scalp
Having dry skin is no fun. It’s itchy, it flakes, and it feels uncomfortable. Having a dry scalp is no different, and the solution to remedy a dry scalp is the same as for dry skin (shocker!): You’ve got to keep it moisturized.
Squalane is known for its ability to provide added moisture to skin, according to Dr. Nazarian. “Squalane is a variant of a naturally-occurring substance that is vital for healthy hydration of skin, improving moisture and offsetting any dryness that might be contributing to dandruff from dry skin,” Dr. Nazarian says. “It’s also an antioxidant that can combat free-radical damage. [It's] great for preserving [skin] quality and health, but also for protecting against environmental damage.”
But, you can't exactly apply a squalane moisturizer to your scalp like you would your face without ruining your 'do, which is why Kérastase infused the Revitalisant Essentiel Hydrating Hair Mask with the mega-moisturizing ingredient. You just apply it to shampooed hair for three to five minutes, rinse it out, and voila: You'll have a moisturized scalp and hydrated hair that's ready to style. So think beyond your face the next time you're doing your daily skin-care routine—because your scalp is skin, too.
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