Australia is set to become a nation of hideaways this winter, with the cooling temperature impacting moisture levels in the scalp and driving the population indoors in fear of the flake.
The head & shoulders Fight the Flake Study, released in April, reveals a startling 79 per cent of Australians suffer from dandruff but the majority don't seek treatment and instead hide from the problem, incorrectly assuming it will fix itself and go away.
The study shows that a shocking 54 per cent of dandruff sufferers have restricted their normal social activities due to a lack of confidence caused by a flaky scalp, with misinformation the most common and major obstacle to effective dandruff treatment.
With one in three Australians (34%) noting they have no idea what causes dandruff, the head & shoulders Fight the Flake Study was initiated to bring this epidemic to light and encourage flake sufferers to become flake fighters this winter.
Don't Be Left Home Alone This Winter
Don't stick your head in the snow! Over one third (41%) of dandruff sufferers deal with their flakes by brushing them off their shoulders as soon as they appear, whilst 12 per cent choose to wear lighter colours to minimise the visibility of dandruff.
With Australians choosing to shrug dandruff off their shoulders – literally – rather than seeking treatment, it's no wonder that almost half (44%) of all sufferers have had a loved one point out their flakes and that one in four (27%) feel self-conscious about cosying up to a loved one due to dandruff concerns.
Avoidance of the issue is prevalent, with relatively few (19%) dandruff sufferers using an anti-dandruff product to manage the problem, which is fewer than those that do nothing to fix the problem apart from continuing to use their regular shampoo (24%).
Scalp Is Skin Too
The most common oversight preventing Aussie men and women from effectively treating winter dryness, itching and flakes is not realising that the scalp is skin too, meaning a tailored approach to scalp care, just like skincare, is imperative to overall skin health in the winter. Yet while two thirds (65%) of Australians moisturise their face at least once a week and over half (54%) moisturise their body at least once a week, less than a third (27%) consider scalp hydration an important part of their daily routine.
Dermatologist Dr Penny Alexander says: "Colder temperatures, low humidity and excessive indoor heating can lead to a dry and irritated scalp in winter. Frequent washing with harsh shampoos not specifically designed to treat the problem may make the symptoms worse. Contrary to popular belief, dandruff is not a sign of poor hygiene, and is much more common than people think. An itchy, dry scalp should be cared for, nourished and hydrated just like the skin on the rest of your body in order to stay flake free."
head & shoulders Dry Scalp Care Shampoo and Conditioner with 3ActionFormula provides the moisturising benefits your hair and scalp need to prevent and relieve dryness during the winter months and is clinically proven to go deeper and remove dandruff more effectively than other anti-dandruff brands.
When used together, head & shoulders Shampoo and Conditioner work 60 per cent more effectively – verses using the shampoo alone – protecting and moisturising the scalp to give you unbelievably soft and beautiful hair that's up to 100 per cent flake-free.
Don't let fear of the flake hold you back as the temperature drops, find your best hair confidence with head & shoulders to banish winter woes this season.
Stockist and availability: 1800 028 280
Available at all major supermarkets, pharmacies, and grocery stores.
Question: What surprised you about the head & shoulders Fight the Flake Study?
Dr Penny Alexander: Around half of the people who suffer from dandruff have restricted their social activities due to a flaky scalp, which is terrible! Many choose to deal with dandruff just by brushing the flakes off their shoulders or wearing lighter colours, rather than trying to fix the problem. Many people feel self-conscious about their dandruff, even in front on loved ones, which can potentially lead to reduced intimacy in relationships.
Question: What causes dandruff?
Dr Penny Alexander: Dandruff can be caused by a number of issues, including dry skin, scalp irritation, overgrowth of naturally occurring yeast on our scalp, and a number of conditions such as Seborrhoeic dermatitis and Psoriasis.
Question: What are the symptoms associated with dandruff?
Dr Penny Alexander: Dandruff results in a dry, itchy, flaky scalp.
Question: Can hair dying and certain products cause dandruff?
Dr Penny Alexander: Some hair dying and certain hair products can exacerbate dandruff as they cause irritation and dryness of the scalp.
Question: How can we treat dandruff so we don't have to restrict our social activities?
Dr Penny Alexander: It is important to look after your scalp to prevent dandruff, just like you would look after the rest of your skin.
Question: Why is it important to hydrate our scalp?
Dr Penny Alexander: Hydrating and protecting your scalp is important to prevent and treat dandruff. Many people forget that scalp is skin too, and it needs to be cared for, particularly in the cold, dry winter months. According to the study, two thirds (65%) of Australians moisturise their face at least once per week and over half (54%) moisturise their body at least once per week, while less than a third (27%) consider scalp hydration an important part of their daily routine. A tailored approach to scalp care, just like skin care, is imperative to overall skin health in winter.
Question: Why is dandruff more common in Winter?
Dr Penny Alexander: Winter brings colder temperatures, lower humidity and excessive indoor heating, which can lead to a dry and irritated scalp and subsequently dandruff.
Interview by Brooke Hunter