Dandruff is a common chronic scalp condition in which small pieces of dry skin flake off of the scalp making your scalp itch.. Although dandruff isn't contagious and is rarely serious, it can be embarrassing and sometimes difficult to treat. Mild cases of dandruff may need nothing more than frequent shampooing with a gentle cleanser. More stubborn cases of dandruff often respond to medicated shampoos.
Dandruff can have several causes, including:
- Dry skin. Simple dry skin is the most common cause of dandruff. Flakes from dry skin are generally smaller and less oily and you'll likely have symptoms and signs of dry skin on other parts of the body, such as your legs and arms.
- Irritated, oily skin (seborrheic dermatitis). Seborrheic dermatitis may affect your scalp and other areas rich in oil glands, such as your eyebrows, it is one of the most frequent causes of dandruff marked by red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales.
- Infrequent shampooing. If you don't regularly wash your hair, oils and skin cells from your scalp can build up, causing dandruff.
- Other skin conditions such as eczema — a chronic, inflammatory skin condition — or psoriasis — a skin condition marked by a rapid buildup of rough, dry, dead skin cells that form thick scales — may appear to have dandruff..
- Over Sensitivity to hair care products (contact dermatitis). Certain ingredients in hair care products or hair dyes, especially paraphenylenediamine, may cause some reaction leading to red, itchy, scaly scalp. Shampooing too frequently or using too many hair styling products may cause sensitivity to your scalp, causing dandruff.To strike a balance is important
Mild dandruff can be easy to get rid of.
- washing your hair daily with a mild shampoo until the dandruff clears;
- Avoid scratching your scalp when using shampoo; instead, gently massage your scalp without scratching, as this will not damage your hair or scalp.
- avoid using hair products such as hairspray and gel until the dandruff clears
Severe dandruff, need to be treated with an anti-dandruff shampoo. Some of the most widely used anti-dandruff shampoos include:
- zinc pyrithione – which works by killing the malassezia fungi thought partially responsible for dandruff
- salicylic acid – which helps soften and shed dead skin cells on your scalp (some people experience dryness of their scalp after using salicylic acid; using a conditioner after the shampoo can often help)
- selenium sulfide – this works by slowing production of skin cells while also killing the fungi
- ketoconazole shampoo – which has a powerful antifungal effect
- coal tar shampoo – this again can help slow production of dead skin cells
Gently massage the shampoo into your hair. It's important to leave for at least five minutes to allow it to work. If using one dandruff shampoo does not bring relief, try alternating between dandruff shampoos with different active ingredients.
If you do not experience an improvement in symptoms after a few weeks of using a shampoo, contact your hair expert at Dermcos Skincare Clinic.
For most people, dandruff does not require medical attention. However, sometimes the flaking and itching that appears like dandruff is actually a medical condition, such as seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, fungal infections of the scalp, or eczema.