Looks and personal grooming are the first things we notice when meeting someone for the first time. It's superficial, but unfortunately it is true.

Eventually when we get to know the person we become more tolerant of their personal, physical quirks, but that only happens once you've already hired someone, coupled up with them or ate ice cream on their couch. 

Any long term couple will tell you that after cohabiting for a certain time, you find yourself approving questionable things, like “optional showers”, lush, unshaved legs and long toe-nails in bed. 

But dandruff might just be the one non-negotiable of personal grooming that could cause you to not get to that "comfortable relationship" part.

It's ridiculous, I know. But it’s the nature of the beast.

Unfortunately, we have not progressed far enough as a human race to where tiny pieces of scalp decorating your little black dress, your business suit or your hot date’s shirt spell s-e-x-y. Maybe one day. 

So why are people so weird about dandruff? Maybe because a massive misconception about dandruff is that it means your hair is dirty. XOJane.com’s Louis Hung notes that many people think it’s just a case of cleansing your hair more.

Not so!

Thing is, having dandruff makes you feel gross, even though you know you’re not dirty. It can also cause embarrassment as your delightful scalp snowflakes (scalp-flakes?) make every hug with anyone wearing anything in a darker colour than orange truly an anxiety-inducing event. 

Intothegloss.com notes that it’s all about checking in with your scalp. The relationship you have with your scalp is almost like the one you have with friends, it needs to be maintained in order to thrive.

So, yes, dandruff is caused by a dry scalp - the flaking is literally sheddings of scalp skin. The dryness can be caused by eczema, infections or fungus, or even product build up. 

Dermatologist, Dr. Nomphelo Gantsho explains:

"If you suffer from dandruff, don't accept it as being normal. Go and see a dermatologist to know what is causing it. Dandruff can be caused by a number of things, including dry skin; sensitivity to hair products; and skin conditions such as psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, or eczema. The overgrowth of yeast and fungal infection can also cause dandruff, this is also associated with hair loss seen mostly in children. Your dandruff can be treated and you can have a dandruff free scalp."

Intothegloss.com notes that the cheapest and easiest thing you can do to prevent dandruff is to love your scalp. Like all skin on our body, we need to touch, nourish and moisturise it.

Scalp massages are great for dry scalps, so opt for a dash of olive or coconut oil and massage that into your scalp for 5 minutes once a week. 

And a lot of people are also opting for natural remedies to combat dandruff, RD.com suggests using aspirin as it has the exact same active ingredient (salicylic acid) as many mainstream dandruff treatments.

Crush into a fine powder and use along with your normal shampoo – leaving it on your hair for a minute or 2 to do its magic. They also suggest baking soda and apple cider vinegar as possible solutions.

However, it would be advised to see a dermatologist before opting for all sorts of alternatives, since medicated shampoos work fantastically.