Dandruff AND Breakouts? 3 Key Elements to Effectively Combat It!

When this California native moved to Washington DC in the spring of 2019, the sudden moisture of the non-desert climate led to the strangest and most stubborn breakouts across my forehead into my hairline and even in my scalp at the base of my neck.

As someone who has had early acne from a young age, I’ve become pretty familiar with the typical anatomy of a pimple, which had a “core.”

The “core” of a zit is a solid mass of dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria.

However, none of the breakouts I developed after moving to the East Coast, however, had any “core.”

I was in a permanent state of “developing pimples,” which if they were always developing, then they’d never come to a head, never get to the “end life cycle” of a pimple, and never go away. And they didn’t.

The solid skincare routine I had built the last 15 years with dermatologists, estheticians, and other experts wasn’t working!!!

But, that’s because this wasn’t really acne . . .

What causes dandruff?

According to the National Eczema Association, dandruff (AKA seborrheic dermatitis) is an inflammatory response to a fungus called Malasseazia yeast.

You know how in bread making, you “activate” the yeast with warm water and sugar to create air bubbles and gas for a soft, chewy crumb? Well, on your skin, they “activate” with humidity and fatty acids to promote excess skin cell growth 🤮

An itchy scalp is commonly accompanied by white flakes — that’s the inflammatory response. But, in others, it can lead to tiny breakouts across a large surface area.

And after seeing the Google Images, I knew I found my culprit!

What is fungal acne?

AKA Malassezia Folliculitis, it is caused by infection of hair follicles by an overproduction of yeast caused by excess sweat and humidity.

Lots of overlap with the definition of dandruff, right?!

It can be common amongst construction workers, particularly in the summer, on the chest and back, but can also be found on the face, which is what happened with me!

So, if fungal acne is related to dandruff, then the solution is clearly to use anti-dandruff shampoo, right? What’s the point of the “3 key elements”?

That’s a great question! And it’s because it’s not what you use, but also how you use it.

With $300 million spent every year on combating dandruff, there’s definitely no shortage of the “what” aspect — just take your pick: Head & Shoulders, Nizoral, Selsun Blue . . .

But, if you don’t do these 3 things, then you’re not going to get the most milage out of these great products!

1.) Set it and forget it . . . for at least 5 minutes.

Wash and dry your face of any sunscreen and makeup. And before you get in the shower, take some of your shampoo and spread across the affected areas.

For me, I would spread the anti-dandruff shampoo across my forehead, into my hairline, and the base of my neck to really concentrate those active ingredients!

2.) Completely rinse your hair out by flipping your head over.

In the shower, do your whole routine as normal. Those with dandruff typically have oiler skin, you don’t want to put conditioner on the scalp, but you do you.

At the end, take the shower head off, flip your head over, and get really close to your scalp. You’ll see a sea of suds come out — that would have just remained on your scalp and further irritated your skin.

I like to first do it with warm water and then finish off with a cold rinse. Cold temperatures reduce inflammation; otherwise, you’ll just be further promoting the dandruff instead of getting rid of it.

3.) Always add acid.

As I saw the fungal acne dry up before my eyes, I had one more thing to combat: the dried up skin cells that were once feeding off my skin.

I used the 30% PHA I had at the time and it loosened up that dried skin to reveal healthy, glowy skin once more! I also used a 3% BHA shampoo for the base of my neck that was affected as well.


And if I don’t end up needing it, I can still give myself a nice hair treatment like they do at the salon as an excuse to do an at-home spa day with myself and some friends.

Do you still need more tips for healthy, glowy skin?

Then, look no further than the K.I.S.S. Skincare Guide here.

"Keep it simple, stupid!" is a cheeky phrase that make you laugh and remember that healthy, glowy skin doesn't have to be complicated with all the mixed marketing messages.

Cut through the noise and get your FREE guide today!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published