Skip to Content

Why Do I Still Have Dandruff After Washing My Hair?

A young African American female with a flaky scalp is looking for hair products to treat dandruff on an oily scalp.

After you wash your hair, you fully expect it to be clean and flake-free, but that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, dandruff can be tricky, persisting even after you’ve done your best to wash it away.

If you are struggling with dandruff that sticks around despite your best efforts, we’ve got good news! This article will explore some of the reasons why you still have dandruff after washing your hair and give you some heavy-duty tools to fight it.  

Why Do I Still Have Dandruff After Washing My Hair?

Regular washing sessions are enough to keep dandruff at bay for some, but they aren’t enough in every case. There are so many variables in play when it comes to scalp health, and we’ll take a look at some of them below.

Here are three reasons why your dandruff keeps returning after you wash your hair.

  1. Your shampoo is drying out your scalp
  2. You aren’t properly washing your hair
  3. You’re not treating the dandruff
A black woman with curly hair follicles dealing with scalp psoriasis leads to an itchy scalp and mild dandruff.

1. Your Shampoo Is Drying Out Your Scalp

When you wash your hair with a shampoo that contains harsh surfactants or lacks moisturizing ingredients, your scalp may end up drier than the Sahara Desert. A dry scalp eventually cracks and the top layer of skin flakes off.  

2. You Aren’t Properly Washing Your Hair

Flakes that persist after shampooing may be a sign that you aren’t washing your hair well enough. Although you may be tempted to rush through the process, doing so will leave your scalp dirty and flaky.  

To get the flakes out, you’ll need to scrub your scalp and hair thoroughly (we’ll get into how to wash your hair properly later on in this article). 

Light-skinned female with healthy hair has struggled with oily, dirty hair due to scalp shed from treating dandruff.

3. You’re Not Treating the Dandruff

If you’re not actively treating your dandruff, you can’t expect the flaking to stop. And even if you do succeed in washing away all the flakes you see, if you don’t take care of the root cause of dandruff and implement anti-dandruff remedies, the flakes will reappear before long.  

5 Proven Ways to Get Rid of Dandruff 

Now that you know why washing doesn’t always remove dandruff, you’re probably looking for ways to eliminate it for good. That’s why in this section, we’ll walk you through five methods proven to eliminate dandruff and keep your scalp flake-free. 

A young African American woman that has been washing hair daily is struggling to keep her scalp moisturized.

1. Switch Out Your Normal Shampoo

Anti-dandruff shampoo is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get rid of dandruff once and for all. As the name suggests, anti-dandruff shampoos contain active ingredients that fight dandruff at the source and leave your scalp feeling soothed, moisturized, and clean.

You’ve got many anti-dandruff shampoos to choose from, so shop around and try out a few to find one that works for you. 

2. Exfoliate Weekly

Your regular wash routine might not be enough to cut through the thick layer of dead skin cells, product, and grease that builds up on your scalp. That’s where exfoliation comes in!

Exfoliating your scalp eliminates the dry, flaky skin that fungus calls home while also getting rid of excess oil. It also helps reduce itchiness, which can keep you from picking at your scalp and worsening your symptoms. 

For the best results, exfoliate your scalp once a week right before or after you’ve shampooed it. There are a number of ways you can exfoliate your scalp, including: 

A black woman with curly hair follicles and too little moisture has an itchy scalp and minor dandruff.

3. Eat Right

Certain foods can cause your dandruff to flare up or make it more difficult for your body to fight off a fungal infestation. When it comes to scalp care, you’ll see the best results if you treat your flakes using both internal and external methods.

That includes drinking plenty of water and eating nutrient-dense foods like fresh fruits, leafy greens, and veggies.

You should also avoid foods that cause inflammation in your body – doing so can increase oil production. Once you cut down on your consumption of greasy, sugary, and refined foods, you should see an improvement in no time! 

4. Control Your Stress Levels

The more stressed your body is, the less it will be able to fight off dandruff. Stress suppresses your immune system, which leaves your scalp vulnerable to yeast and bacteria.

If you notice your dandruff seems to flare up whenever you’re feeling stressed, do your best to manage your anxiety.

Learn coping techniques to help minimize the effects of everyday stressors and learn how to regulate your emotions through practices like deep breathing, talk therapy, and meditation.

Due to hair loss a light-skinned female with beautiful natural curls has had problems with contact dermatitis.

5. Try a Homemade Dandruff Remedy

There’s no shortage of DIY dandruff remedies online. They use antifungal ingredients to fight fungi and soothe your inflamed scalp. You can make your treatment using any blend of antifungals you prefer.

Coconut oil, green tea, and tea tree oil all have well-documented anti-fungal and exfoliant properties and can restore the health of your scalp. 

Want to go the DIY treatment route? Use the instructions below to try a green tea dandruff rinse: 

  1. Gather your ingredients. You’ll need a few cotton balls, a lemon peel, 8 ounces of water, one teaspoon of coconut oil, and a sachet of green tea. 
  2. Boil the 8 ounces of water and then add the sachet of green tea and all of the other ingredients.
  3. After 2 minutes, take the green tea mixture off of the heat and allow it to cool down. 
  4. Load up the cotton balls with the mixture and apply it to your entire scalp. 
  5. Wait for up to an hour while the tea does its magic. 
  6. Shampoo and condition your hair as you normally would. 

You can do this treatment once a week until you see the results you’re after. 

Cute young black girl with an underlying skin condition on her scalp making dandruff worse.

How To Wash Hair with Dandruff

Using the proper technique to wash your hair is crucial if you want to eliminate dandruff. Start by gently brushing or combing your hair before you step into the shower.

In addition to getting rid of tangles, brushing your hair helps loosen dandruff flakes and redistributes your the natural oils on your scalp so they won’t prevent the shampoo from reaching your skin.

Instead of just slathering shampoo onto your strands, focus your efforts on cleaning your scalp. Gently massage an anti-dandruff shampoo into your scalp for at least 5 minutes.

You should be massaging for every second of those five minutes – the abrasion you create will remove loose flakes and ensure that the dandruff shampoo gets where it needs to go.

Leave no area of your scalp untouched. Rushing through the process will only leave you with caked-on dirt, oil, and flakes. 

Another thing to watch out for is the temperature of your water.

Hot water can overstimulate your scalp and increase oil production, so wash your hair with warm or cool water instead. Once your hair is clean, apply your conditioner to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair. 

Young African American female with new hair growth after dealing with scalp itch from oily buildup.

When To Reach Out to A Professional

Although there are many dandruff treatments out there, there are some situations that warrant professional attention. Reach out for help if you’ve tried various remedies and nothing seems to work or if your flakes are starting to impact your quality of life.

Also, contact a doctor immediately if your dandruff is accompanied by severe issues like bleeding, pus, pain, or crusting. A professional will help you diagnose and treat the problem before it worsens. 

Related Articles

Dandruff is your scalp’s way of telling you something isn’t right. Treating your symptoms right away is the best way to ensure they don’t get any worse. We hope this article has given you the tools you need to keep your scalp healthy and flake-free!