Dandruff - Quick 30 Seconds Summary
- Dandruff is the white, dry flakes you can see on your scalp, hair, eyebrows, shoulders, beard and mustache.
- It is a common problem especially during winters.
- Dandruff symptoms include itchiness, dry, white flakes and scaly skin or red patches on the scalp.
- Variety of causes give rise to dandruff such as Seborrheic Dermatitis, Contact Dermatitis, age, gender, neurological and skin disorders.
- Dandruff can be treated using anti-dandruff shampoos available OTC. Other treatment plans included prescription shampoos, lotions for the scalp and many simple home remedies.
Dandruff - Meaning & Overview
Dandruff is one of the most common skin conditions that originate mostly on the scalp. Often thought to be a hair related problem dandruff actually is a skin problem. The white coloured and dry skin flakes that are seen on your shoulders or when you casually brush your hands through your hair are nothing but dandruff flakes.
While dandruff is not a serious medical condition that should send the alarm bells ringing, it is quite embarrassing when in the public eye and may cause self-esteem issues, especially in youngsters.
The skin is perenially producing new cells and getting rid of old cells. When this cycle speeds up unusually it leads to dandruff. Dandruff is mostly a harmless condition when it is in a mild form, but in severe form, it may cause inflammation to the skin and scaly zones in the scalp.
It is absolutely easy to identify dandruff since the symptoms of dandruff are pretty obvious to the naked eye:
- Dry and white skin flakes are visible on the scalp, hair, shoulder, moustache, beard and eyebrows.
- Itchy scalp
- Scaly and slightly reddish zones on the scalp
Generally, dandruff issues aggravate when the weather outside is dry or cold or both. So it is natural to observe dandruff during the winters more than during monsoon.
When To See A Doctor For Dandruff?
Having dandruff is not a cause for concern and you need not visit a doctor immediately. Using a good quality anti-dandruff shampoo may solve the issue over time.
However, Perfect Health Magazine recommends visiting a dermatologist (skin specialist) if your anti-dandruff shampoo routine hasn’t worked, and you notice red patches on your scalp, or severe itchiness or a weak immune system or swelling and scaly skin. If these symptoms persist then visit a qualified medical professional soon.
Causes of Dandruff
According to leading medical practitioners and researchers, often there are no direct reasons that cause dandruff. However, some of the linked causes could be –
This is a common skin condition which affects those parts of your body where most sebum or oil is secreted. Seborrheic dermatitis is a type of eczema and can become a chronic condition. People who suffer from Seborrheic dermatitis have severe dandruff.
This is a type of skin irritation that is caused by allergens or irritants. Contact Dermatitis leads to rashes and itchiness along with dandruff. It is not contagious but needs timely care.
People with dry skin are more prone to dandruff. This is why winters seem to be one of those seasons where maximum people are plagued by dandruff problems.
Gender and Hormones
The male body releases more hormones linked to the sebum such as testosterone, hence they tend to have dandruff issues more than women.
Hair Care Habits
Ideally every person should shampoo their hair atleast twice a week. People whose hair hygiene is not correct will face more dandruff issues.
The human body undergoes a lot of changes during puberty, this leads to hormonal imbalance. Teenagers therefore suffer more from dandruff problems.
Skin Conditions & Psychiatric Disorders
Eczema, psoriasis etc. worsen dandruff issues since the skin is already aggravated and fighting against problems.
Neurological conditions and psyhiatric disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy etc. are among the conditions that elevate one’s risk of Seborrheic dermatitis, including dandruff.
Oily skin tends to release more sebum and hence is more likely to get dandruff.
Treatments for Dandruff
The best and easiest way to treat dandruff is anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners. Follow the instructions given on the pack carefully for best results. Most big hair care and cosmetics brands have anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners that are effective. Choose the right one by analysing your scalp type (dry, oily or regular) and how much dandruff is there.
In some cases if the dermatologist believes that gentle OTC dandruff shampoo is not enough then he/she may prescribe a stronger medicated shampoo like Loprox or Nizoral. For patients suffering from over-irritation or itchiness a topical cortecosteroid lotion like Capex or Synalar (fluocinolone topical), Luxiq (betamethasone topical), or Clobex (clobetasol topical) maybe prescribed.
Generally home remedies along with an OTC dandruff shampoo work wonders for anyone who has dandruff. We have already covered the shampoo section, so now let us look at home remedies for dandruff.
- Oiling your hair: One of the oldest traditions in an Indian home is oiling your hair with coconut oil for a minimum of 2-3 hours before it is washed. This is a great home remedy to treat dandruff.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is a plant with high medicinal properties. Applying aloe vera to the hair before washing them can eliminate dandruff from the scalp.
- Baking Soda: Gently apply baking soda to your scalp in the shower and rinse your hair carefully after a few minutes.
- Lime Juice: Squeeze out fresh lemon juice (approximately 2 teaspoons), apply it on your scalp and rinse it out. Take one more teaspoon of lime juice mix it with 1 cup of water and pour it over your hair.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Take apple cider vinegar and fill 1/4th of a cup with it. Mix 1/4th cup water in the rest of the cup. Apply it atleast 15 minutes before you wash your hair. Then wash it out with shampoo and conditioner.