One of the reasons

people give for not wanting locks is their concern for dreads and dandruff. *** How many times in the past did you see people who neglected to care for their hair and it was messy?  Granted, some of them may have been homeless, but there were a few who felt not caring for the hair was normal with dreads.

Think back over the years and count the number of times people said dreads were not clean or washed etc.  This mantra succeeded in blocking a lot of people from having them.  Those with dreads did not help the situation by leaving their hair in a mess.  Many also failed to clean up their clothing, and this led many to believe dreads were nasty.  If they happened to have dreads and dandruff, this just encouraged the stereotype. 


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In my experience, there are a few things that caused people to have dreads with dandruff:
  • Over washing straight hair:  before they had dreads, many would wash their hair at least 5 times a week and twice on some.  When you start dreads, it is customary to limit the amount of washes so the dreads can set.  The scalp, used to being washed very frequently, starts flaking because it has been over producing oils to maintain a balance.  The situation will correct itself in 2-3 months but freaks the person out during this time until they see it less.

  • Refusing to wash the beginner dreads:  in an effort to limit expenses for beginning dreads, some folks will try to not wash their dreads for a long time.  They will not visit their hair person for extended periods believing that washing it will open the budding dreads.  While this may be true, if the dreads are done properly, they are easily repaired.  What ends up happening are dreads with dandruff and it takes some work to remove.

  • Dreading while away:  many dreads are begun while people are traipsing across Europe or India.  They get dreads with dandruff because they are unable to find anyone to help maintain them.  Also, they are limited in the amount of care they can give since they are changing locations regularly.

  • Beliefs:  some people just believe dreads will grow and they do not have to do anything to foster a healthy environment.  They can go for years believing they will form themselves.  I understand free forming, but suggest  this is best for an entrepreneur or someone who has a trust fund/won the lotto 649 and will not need to apply for a job.

These are just a few of the reasons I find people have dreads and dandruff.  If you have dreads, I feel it is your responsibility to care for them just as you would normal hair and keep the scalp clean and healthy.

By Paula Barker (

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