Dandruff is a common chronic scalp condition that noticed by flaking of the skin on the scalp. It is a scalp disorder that affects almost half of the population at the post-pubertal age and of any sex and ethnicity. It is known keratinocytes play an important role in the expression and generation of immunological reactions during dandruff formation.
Symptoms of dandruff
Dandruff is also known as seborrhea or seborrheic dermatitis. The signs and symptoms include:
- White flakes on scalp
- Scaly facial skin
- Itchy scalp
- Eyebrow rash
- Beard rash
- Recurrent ear “eczema”
- Facial rash over eyebrows, nose, and ears
- Oily scalp and facial skin with dry flakes
- Chest rash with dry flakes and red spots
What are the causes of dandruff?
a. There are several causes of dandruff, including
Eeborrheic dermatitis (irritated, oily skin): This condition is considered as one of the most frequent causes of dandruff. It is marked by red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales. Seborrheic dermatitis affects your scalp and other areas that rich in oil glands, such as your eyebrows, your breastbone (sternum), your groin area, the sides of your nose and the backs of your ears, and sometimes your armpits.
b. When you don’t shampoo your hair often enough
If you don’t regularly wash your hair, oils and skin cells from your scalp can build up, causing dandruff. However, many experts claim that shampooing too often may cause dandruff as it can irritate the scalp.
c. A fungus (Malassezia)
It lives on the scalps of most adults. Commonly, it doesn’t cause any problems. It feeds on the oils our hair follicles secrete. When this happens, the scalp can become irritated and can cause more skin cells to grow. When these extra skin cells die and fall off; they blend with the oil from the hair and scalp, and turn into dandruff.
d. Dry skin
Flakes from dry skin are generally smaller and less oily than those from other causes of dandruff. You will probably have dry skin on other parts Ho of the body, such as your legs and arms, too. People with dry skin seem to get dandruff more often.
e. Reaction to hair care products (contact dermatitis)
Some people sensitive to certain ingredients in hair care products or hair dyes which can cause a red, scaly scalp, itchy.
What are the risk factors of dandruff?
Almost everyone can have dandruff, but there are some risk factors that can cause you more susceptible:
Dandruff commonly begins in young adulthood and continues through middle age. For some people, the problem can be lifelong.
b. Oily hair and scalp
Malassezia feeds on oils in your scalp. For that reason, having excessively oily skin and hair makes you more prone to dandruff.
c. Certain illnesses
For reasons that aren’t clear, adults with neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, are more likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. So are people with HIV infection, or those who have compromised immune systems from other conditions.
d. High GI (or simple sugar) diet
High intake of processed and refined foods seems to cause dandruff worse in some people.
e. Lack of sunlight
Dandruff may get worse in winter than in summer since the ultraviolet light kills the pittosporum value.
How can dandruff be diagnosed?
Dandruff is commonly not to diagnose. A medical professional can usually identify dandruff by looking at the rash and asking questions about how it appeared. Sometimes, highly atypical cases may require more exams and tests including skin scrapings for, microscopic evaluation, and skin biopsies. A health care practitioner may scrape some scales off the rash and look at them under the microscope to make sure the rash is not caused by a fungus. A very small piece of skin may be taken (a biopsy) for microscopic examination to exclude other causes like psoriasis, lupus, and other skin diseases.
What are the best anti-dandruff shampoos?
Mostly, anti-dandruff or anti-fungal shampoos contain these following active ingredients:
a. Zinc pyrithione
Is an ingredient that reduces the production of yeast.
b. Selenium sulfide
Cut down the production of natural oils your scalp glands produce.
Is a very effective anti-fungal. Most people who use this are pleased with the results. Shampoos with this ingredient can be used with young and elderly people, said, experts.
d. Salicylic acids
Help your scalp get rid of skin cells. They do not slow down the reproduction of skin cells. Many “scalp scrubs” contain salicylic acids. Some people find salicylic acid treatments leave their scalps dry and eventually make the flaking of the skin worse.
e. Coal tar
This has a natural anti-fungal agent. If your hair is dyed or treated remember that long-term coal tar usage can stain the hair.
f. Tea-tree oil
A growing number of shampoos now include tea-tree oil as one of its ingredients. It has been used for centuries as an anti-fungal, antibiotic, and an antiseptic. However, some people are allergic to it
g. Green Tea potential
researchers from the Medical College of Georgia, USA, found that green tea may have the potential for the treatment of dandruff and psoriasis.
Here are some home remedies for curing dandruff
It contains the same salicylic acid as many medicated dandruff shampoos. Keep flaking in check by only crushing two aspirins to a fine powder and adding it to the normal amount of shampoo you use each time you wash your hair. Then just leave the mixture on your hair for 1-2 minutes, and rinse well and wash again with plain shampoo.
b. Baking soda
It is true that your kitchen could hold the key to a flake-free itch-free scalp. Just wet your hair and then rub a handful of baking soda vigorously into your scalp. No need to shampoo your hair and go right to rinsing. It helps reduce overactive fungi which are able to cause dandruff. At first, your hair may get dried out, but after a few weeks, your scalp will start producing natural oils, leaving your hair softer and free of flakes.
c. Apple cider vinegar
It is also used as anti-dandruff since the acidity of apple cider vinegar changes the pH of your scalp, making it harder for the yeast to grow. You only mix a quarter cup apple cider vinegar with a quarter cup water in a spray bottle and spritz on your scalp. Wrap your head in a towel and let sit for 20 minutes to an hour, and then wash your hair as usual. Do this twice a week.
It was created by a doctor in Missouri in 1879 and used as a powerful surgical antiseptic for dentists. When the good doctor sold it to a pharmaceutical company, it uses broadened and it became the first over-the-counter mouthwash ever sold in the United States. In the 1930’s and ‘40s, one its original purposes was also to fight dandruff. It may seem random, but consider that Listerine fights fungus, and one of the most common causes of dandruff is an overabundance of…you guessed it, fungus. Mix 2 parts water with 1 part Listerine. After you shampoo, spray or pour the solution onto your scalp, massage it well and let sit for 30 minutes before rinsing with water.
e. Tea Tree Oil
When excess oil can be a root cause of dandruff, some oils can still be helpful in keeping it under control. This oil has been used medicinally for centuries. Aboriginals in Australia would pick the leaves of the tea tree plant and break them (much like we do with aloe) before using them as a topical treatment for burns, cuts, bites, and so on. The oil extracted from those leaves have fungicidal properties and it is overall soothing to the skin especially when it is sore or itchy. Be aware that tea tree oil, while safe for topical use, should not be ingested under any circumstance. Pour 1 tablespoon of tea tree oil into a cup of warm water in a squirt bottle. Shake well. After shampooing, spray the mixture all over your scalp, massage, and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Pat the excess moisture out, but do not wash it out.
salt is something most of us have to lie around, something we use every day. But did you know that it can also help get rid of dandruff? It’s slightly abrasive crystals will work as a natural exfoliator, getting off the extra oil and dead skin flakes. It is effective because it clears a path, if you will, for the shampoo which can sink in and work to its fullest potential. While rubbing salt on your scalp may not sound like a spa treatment, it can actually feel quite pleasant, especially if your skin is itchy. Gently massage three tablespoons of salt into your dry or slightly dampened scalp for 2-3 minutes. Shampoo immediately afterward.
g. Coconut oil
it has been used for centuries in tropical locations as a hair and skin moisturizer. Because of its rich, emollient texture and antifungal properties, coconut oil makes an excellent deep conditioner and dandruff treatment, especially for those with most sensitive skin. Plus, coconut oil has the added bonus of a fresh, natural tropical scent and no chemicals. Coconut oil is so effective on hair because it contains lauric and caprylic acid, as well as vitamin E that can easily penetrate into the hair shaft to repair it from the inside. With regular treatments, you’ll have less dandruff and your hair will be softer, stronger, shinier and more manageable. This oil can even be used to effectively kill lice, as a natural alternative to other harsh chemical treatments.
Tips to control and prevent dandruff
a. Have a healthy diet
Add more zinc contained food such as; poultry, beans, whole grains, nuts, dairy products, cereals, crab, lobster and red meat to your diet. Also include omega 3 fatty acid which you can have salmon fish, walnuts, broccoli, flax seeds, spinach, canola oil, kidney beans, cauliflower, kiwi, grape leaves etc in your diet. For B vitamins, go for eggs, fish, sweet potatoes, whole grain cereals, legume, cabbage, milk etc.
b. Choose your hair style products with caution
What your hair spray, hair wax, styling gels and mousses do is give your hair a temporary attraction apart from making them oilier by building up on your scalp. It is better to avoid these hair style products or minimize their use to rare occasions. If you need to use them, go for herbal ones that have natural products in them. However, you do not forget to shampoo your hair after the day ends when you have used such hair products. In fact, shampooing often is one of the major steps that you can take to prevent dandruff.
c. Shampoo your hair regularly
The need for shampooing regularly can’t be overemphasized when it comes to preventing dandruff. Shampooing not only cleanses your hair and scalps but also controls the amount of oil that can build up to form dandruff. However, do not use any or every shampoo. Harsh shampoos are one of the causes of dandruff as they make your scalp dry enough to encourage dandruff. Use mild shampoos as per your hair texture type. If you have dry hair, there are lots of shampoos these days that come with moisturizing effects. Oily hair too can have their own genre of shampoo to control the oil secretion from their overactive glands. If you already have dandruff, you can even use anti- dandruff shampoos that come with special ingredients to cure, control and prevent dandruff. However, there are so many brands and types of even anti-dandruff shampoos these days that you might get confused regarding which one to choose and which one to leave! So, here we help you choose the best anti-dandruff shampoo for your hair.
d. Reduce stress
stress causes many problems and you know that. It contributes to the weaker immune system making you prone to many diseases including skin diseases and even dandruff. So, manage stress well, don’t worry often. Try to remain happy and tension free. If required, learn stress management techniques like meditation and breath exercises, yoga etc.
Additional sources: MayoClinic, WebMD, eMedicineHealth,