Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Experiencing Itchy, Flaky and Oily Scalp?

( Picture taken from bakingwithbuttermilk )

Many of us are plagued with this increasingly common problem and I used to experience that too. Thankfully I am writing this post..I can safely say that this IFO ( Itchy, Flaky and Oily ) syndrome is under control. Whew! Even though this problem is kept at bay, I was curious to know how it started and what are the contributing factors that leads to my IFO syndrome. And you wanna know what helped me?

How it started

I was born with thick, course hair and growing up with this type of hair is 'disastrous' to perm as I was once given the title of bee hive girl during my school days. Fortunately, God cared very much for me and I began to grow my hair long and I did..almost became the Jennifer Aniston of Asia at one time. Hair stylist would rave about my hair on how healthy and full bodied it is and encouraged me to glam it up with highlights. Though I visited the salon not more than 10 times in my lifetime, my hair and scalp is still managable. No flakes, not oily and not itchy....yet until I reached 30 plus.

First it began with little flakes..I thought that it is normal but it became worse when

1) All flakes are visible when I am wearing black.
2) Small flakes will just fall down like snow when I bend down.
3) My shoulder began to look like two Mount Fuji's.
4) My guy colleague pointed out " Eh, why you got so many dandruff wan?"

Ok, point taken. From dandruff, my scalp started to be itchy and worse, when I am eating spicy stuff. Anyone would scratch their hair, right? By doing that, some of my dandruff began to form to thicker ones with yellowish flakes. Not only that, my scalp began to secrete a lot of oil. So this is how I ended up with IFO syndrome.

What are the contributing factors

Here are some things that experts say:
Dandruff can form when the scalp is too dry or too oily. A fungus called pityrosporum ovale, which lives naturally on the scalp, has been implicated in the development of dandruff. Excess production of sebum, the natural oil secreted from glands in the skin, fuels the growth of this fungus. This helps to explain why dandruff often starts in puberty when hormone changes occur and why people with oily scalps suffer more. Diets that are too salty, spicy or sugary and accompanied by too much alcohol make it worse, as can stress and changes in climate.

Not Washing Hair
If you do not wash your hair on regular basis then chances of deposition of dry skin cells is increased on the scalp. The problem is even more worsened if you have oily hair.

Dry Itchy Scalp
Well, having some amount of protective oil layer on the scalp is also necessary. Otherwise excessive dry scalp skin will promote the growth of flakes and will eventually lead to dandruff. A flaky dry scalp skin results from, excessive shampooing, and frequent use of hair driers close to the skin and arid cold whether conditions can promote dryness of the scalp skin.

Though this might sound as unusual but yes stress can even cause an itchy scalp. Tensions due to family or job matters, lifestyle changes and lack of proper diet can potentially lead to this condition. Reduce stress from your life, be it personal or professional! Massaging your head for a few minutes with lavender or valerian oil will help you de-stress yourself.

Dandruff Prevention
  • First thing which you need to follow to prevent dandruff is to avoid eating too much of fried food items.
  • Shampoo off your hair at least twice a week and keep your hair clean.
  • Avoid stress and do proper exercises and yoga to keep you stress free.
  • Don’t use styling gels and spray on your scalp
  • Sun exposure (not sunbathing) regularly may help in treating and preventing  fungal infection.
What helped me?

Treatment shampoos
Though my dandruff was reduced significantly by using K. Lakme Peeling Shampoo, it did not help me in my oily scalp. It made my hair harsh and my hands reacted badly to this shampoo. Since then, I have passed this shampoo to another person, who also experience the same thing as me.

Washing my hair frequently
I have always practised washing my hair on alternate days because I like to give my hair a day off from blow drying and the chemicals from the shampoo. However, with Esmeria Organics Butterfly & Aloe Vera Shampoo, I decide to wash my hair everday to see if it helped to get rid of my oily scalp. It did! So washing my hair frequently has been my new regime ever since.

Use conditioners at hair ends
Last time, I used to spray my leave on conditioner near to my scalp and it may have contributed to excessive build up on my scalp. Now, I only use them at my hair ends and it did helped my scalp to remain healthy.

Be stress free
As some experts say, stress can cause itchy scalp. I remembered I was experiencing the worst of IFO syndrome when I was holding a high stressed job at my previous company. I am happy that now, I have embarked on my own business, doing what I love to do and able to manage my stress level too!

So are you experiencing any IFO syndrome now and would you like to share what are the methods that you have tried?


  1. Hi, do you mind telling me where can I purchase the Esmeria Organics Butterfly & Aloe Vera Shampoo? Many thanks

  2. Hi Jozefin! You will be able to find this shampoo from most Caring Pharmacies. Alternatively, I think they are open for purchasing through their web

  3. I got good results from NOT using shampoo at all, combined with tea tree oil. On top of that, my hair looked so luscious!

    Other than that, deep conditioning for 30mins with VCO helped too but I just couldn't do it anymore,, lazy to wash it out

  4. Stress really is the culprit to every conditions more so in the outer appearance. Stress shows up in any form and part of the body. Best to have a balanced life and have the best treatment for oily scalp and also avoid hair loss to happen.

  5. Good and useful information. Thanks for sharing the blog
    Hair Doctor In Bangalore

  6. This is an amazing post and I got to know a lot about scaly scalp shampoo. Thank you author for this qualitative informations.

  7. I learn some new stuff from it too, thanks for sharing your information. shampoo for dry scalp


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