Will Less Shampooing Help With Oily Hair?

I get this question all the time from patients, particularly men. Here’s the truth about shampooing and oily hair:

No matter how frequently you shampoo, your scalp produces the same amount of oil. Cutting back on shampooing will have no effect on your sebaceous glands; genetics and hormones determine the amount of oil they produce. But it will cause dirt and oil to accumulate on your scalp and hair follicles, and could cause inflammation and irritation that might stunt hair growth. How often you wash your hair is a personal decision. Wash your hair with a moisturizing shampoo when you feel you need it, whether that’s daily or weekly. Or if you like making shampoo mohawks.

Photo credit: FCC, Denika Robbins

Can Argan Oil Make Your Hair Grow?

Argan

Wild blueberries. Tea tree oil. Acai berries. They’ve all had their 15 minutes of “it’s a miracle!” beauty product fame. Now it’s argan oil’s turn. Argan oil is produced from the argan tree that is native to Morocco. Its devotees claim argan oil can do everything from heal scars and erase wrinkles to prevent sunburns and promote hair growth. Oh, if only it were so.

Last week a patient of mine brought in an expensive shampoo made with argan oil that she believed would make her hair grow more quickly. She wanted to know what I thought about it.

Makers of beauty products can make claims such as “argan oil encourages hair growth” without having to back them up with proof. Here’s the truth about argan oil and hair growth: There is no scientific evidence that argan oil can help hair growth.

If you want your hair to feel silkier and smoother and like the feel and fragrance of hair products made with argan oil, then use them. But if you’re buying products with argan oil in the hope that they will produce some sort of physical or biological effect, then save your money. The only proven ingredient shown to promote hair growth is minoxidil which is found in Rogaine.

As with any oil product used on the hair, remember this: It’s best for dry, coarse, or frizzy hair. People with thin, fine hair may find it too greasy and heavy.

Photo credit: FCC, meshugas

The Truth About Men and Dandruff

First Snowfall of Winter

It’s happened to the best of us. You’ve had a greet meeting with your boss or just given a killer presentation. You go out to celebrate with your buddies. As you remove your navy sport coat, you notice, to your horror, white flakes on the shoulders. And it’s not snowing outside.

Don’t beat yourself up. Dandruff is normal. Everyone has it to some degree and nearly everyone experiences a full-blown case of it at least once in his or her lifetime. Unfortunately, men get dandruff more than women.

Skin cells (including those on your scalp) are constantly sloughing off and being replaced with new ones. For people with dandruff, this skin cell turnover goes into overdrive resulting in more dead skin being shed. The result— tiny white flakes in your hair. In addition to your scalp, you can get dandruff on your eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, and inside your ears, and some unlikely few will get it on their chest hair.

Before you buy anti-dandruff shampoo, determine whether or not the flakes are actually dandruff. In many instances, it’s simply hair product that has dried and begun to flake. Notice, do you get flakes only in the afternoon or evening after the product has had time to dry out? If so, it’s likely not dandruff. In general, hair gels are more prone to drying out and flaking whereas creamy pomades are less likely.

Though unsightly, dandruff is not dangerous. It won’t make you sick. It’s not contagious. And it won’t cause balding. Nevertheless, I’ve never met anyone who wants to keep his dandruff.

So, here’s how to treat dandruff and stay flake-free:

1. Try OTC medicated shampoos specially formulated for dandruff with ingredients such as ketoconazole (Nizoral shampoo), selenium sulfide (Selson Blue and Head and Shoulders), pyrithione zinc 1% (Clear Men Scalp Therapy), and tar (Neutrogena T/Gel). Yes, coal tar. It reduces both inflammation and flaking. If you don’t like the medicinal smell of these shampoos, try Clear Men Scalp Therapy which has a much more pleasant, fresh fragrance.

2. Wash hair with medicated shampoo daily. It’s a myth that shampooing makes dandruff worse. Dandruff is not dry scalp. The more frequently you wash, the more yeast you remove, leading to less dandruff.

3. You can use medicated shampoo anywhere you get dandruff including your beard, eyebrows, and chest. Just be careful when you wash around your eyes.

4. For redness and itching try hydrocortisone cream 1%, readily available at drug stores.

5. For those looking for all-natural treatments, try this: Mix 1 part white vinegar to 3 to 4 parts water and massage into your scalp while you’re in the shower. You can do this 1 to 3 times a day. You can also massage it into your scalp and leave on overnight  (that is, if the smell doesn’t make your partner run from the room). Having said that, vinegar, however natural, isn’t as effective as medicated shampoos.

In severe cases where your dandruff doesn’t respond to any treatments, see your dermatologist. You may have psoriasis, or another condition that warrants medical attention.

For more information about raising awareness of men’s health issues, check out my post on Movember and becoming a member. And please consider donating to this cause.

Here’s another Movember post you might enjoy reading: Why More Men Are Dying From Skin Cancer.

Photo credit: FCC, martinak15

Guys, A Shower Shortcut You Can’t Afford

44/365 better late than never

Your mornings are hectic — eat breakfast, watch Sports Center, take the dog out for a walk, watch more Sports Center. I get it. And I get that you want your grooming routine to be fast. But if you’re using shampoo for both your hair and body wash just to save a few seconds in the shower, I’m telling you, it’s not worth it.

Shampoos are designed to get oils off your hair, so when you use them on your body, you actually strip needed oils off your skin, leading to dry, damaged skin. Always wash with a moisturizing soap that helps lock moisture in, such as Dove Men + Care Body and Face washes.

For the record, ladies, this goes for you too. But I figured you already knew that.

Photo credit: FCC, ~Twon~.

I am a medical adviser for Unilever, the company that makes Dove Men + Care products.

Shampoo Your Hair, Not Your Body

Cold, dry air and indoor heating make winter the season for dry skin. It’s more important now than any other time of year to protect your skin from dryness. The first way to do this is to limit the damage you do to your skin everyday. Some things, like the weather, you cannot control. But, some of the things you do everyday to your skin might be making already dry skin much worse. One area where you can make a big difference is in the shower. Continue reading