Dandruff is a common scalp condition in which the skin flakes. It’s neither contagious nor dangerous. It can, however, be humiliating and difficult to treat. A gentle daily shampoo can be use to treat mild dandruff. If that fails, a medicated shampoo may be useful. Dandruff is cause when small bits of dry skin are shed from the scalp. Hair Dandruff can also make your scalp itchy. It’s a common issue, but it’s not as simple as it appears. Dandruff is difficult to define because it overlaps with seborrheic dermatitis (a chronic form of eczema) and other skin conditions that cause a scaly scalp.
Dandruff symptoms and signs may include:
Skin flaking on your scalp, hair, brows, mustache or beard, and shoulders
Scaly, crusty scalp in cradle cap infants
If you’re stressed, the signs and symptoms may be more severe, and they tend to worsen during cold, dry seasons.
Causes and Risk Factors of Hair Dandruff
Seborrheic Dermatitis According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, a severe case of Hair Dandrufff is most likely a mild case of seborrheic dermatitis (SD). the right up arrow According to the National Eczema Association, SD is a chronic form of eczema that affects areas of the body that secrete the most sebum, or oil.
Dandruff is more common in people who have oily skin. The reason is that a yeast called Malassezia globosa feeds on scalp oils. According to Amy McMichael, MD, professor of dermatology and chair of the department of dermatology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, some people’s bodies perceive this breakdown of oil as an irritant, so the scalp reacts by increasing the rate at which skin cells renew, causing dandruff. It takes a month for new skin cells on the scalp to mature, die, and shed in people who do not have dandruff.
Contact Dermatitis Contact dermatitis is a type of skin irritation caused by an allergen or an irritant that causes an itchy, possibly painful rash. In the case of dandruff, the scalp is the site of the reaction.
Dry Skin Dry skin may be the cause of your dandruff if the cold winter air dries out your skin all over, including your scalp. According to PIH Health, when dry skin causes dandruff, the flakes are usually smaller and less oily than when SD causes dandruff.
History of Other Skin Disorders Eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, or acne can all cause or worsen seborrheic dermatitis.
Oily Skin If you have naturally oily skin, you are more likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis.
Oiling Your Scalp “Certain oils applied to the scalp can cover the scale but worsen the flaking and itching response,” McMichael says.
A dermatologist can usually tell if you have dandruff by looking at your scalp. If your dandruff does not respond to treatment, your doctor may recommend a skin biopsy to rule out other possible problems, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Gentle Over-the-Counter Shampoo According to the Mayo Clinic, to reduce oil and skin cell buildup, wash hair daily with a gentle shampoo, lightly massaging the scalp to loosen flakes.
OTC Dandruff Shampoo If using a gentle shampoo isn’t working, try an OTC dandruff shampoo. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, it’s best to alternate between two or three of these shampoos.
Selenium Sulfide This antifungal slows skin cell death. According to Northwestern Medicine, this active ingredient can be found in shampoos such as Head & Shoulders Intensive and Selsun Blue.
Pyrithione Zinc Head & Shoulders, DermaZinc, and Jason Dandruff Relief 2 in 1 all contain this antibacterial and antifungal combination.
Salicylic Acid/Sal and Baker’s P & S both contain salicylic acid, which helps to slough away flakes and promote healthier skin.
Ketoconazole Nizoral A-D is an antifungal treatment that contains ketoconazole; it is available both over-the-counter and by prescription. right up arrow and is available as a shampoo, gel, or mousse.
Tar-based shampoos Coal tar slows the rate at which skin cells on your scalp die and flake away. This shampoo may cause discoloration if you have light-colored hair. It can also make the scalp more sun-sensitive.
If one type of shampoo seems to work for a while and then loses its effectiveness, try alternating between two types of dandruff shampoos. Once your dandruff is under control, use the medicated shampoo on a less frequent basis for maintenance and prevention.
Read and follow the directions on each shampoo bottle you try. Some products must be left on for a few minutes, while others must be quickly rinsed off.
If you’ve been using medicated shampoo for several weeks and still have dandruff, consult your doctor or dermatologist.
Dandruff itching and flaking can almost always be controlled. To reduce oil and skin cell buildup, try regular cleansing with a gentle shampoo first. If that doesn’t work, consider using a medicated dandruff shampoo. Some people can use a medicated shampoo two to three times per week, with regular shampooing on other days if necessary. Less frequent shampooing and a moisturizing conditioner for the hair or scalp would benefit people with drier hair.
Medicated and nonmedicated hair and scalp products are available in the form of solutions, foams, gels, sprays, ointments, and oils. You may need to try several products before settling on a routine that works for you. You will almost certainly require repeated or long-term treatment.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Learn to manage stress: Stress has an impact on your overall health, making you vulnerable to a variety of conditions and diseases. It can even cause dandruff or exacerbate existing symptoms.
Eat a healthy diet: A diet rich in zinc, B vitamins, and certain types of fats may aid in the prevention of dandruff.
Get a little sun: Sunlight may be beneficial in the treatment of dandruff. However, avoid sunbathing because it damages your skin and increases your risk of skin cancer. Instead, simply spend some time outside. Also, apply sunscreen to your face and body.
Limit hair-styling products: Hair-styling products can accumulate on your scalp and hair, making them oilier.