Dandruff is a fairly common scalp condition that affects countless men and women each and every year. While it isn’t considered to be serious or severe at all, it is fairly difficult to treat and has both medical & cosmetic implications. Learn more about dandruff and how it is treated below.
Dandruff is easily diagnosed, as patients will experience oily, white flakes of dry or dead skin along the hair. Often, running your hands through your hair you will see flakes of dry skin fall from the scalp. Some identifying symptoms of dandruff include:
- Scaly flakes of oily, dry skin along the scalp and shoulders.
- Itchy scalp
- Excess oiliness along your hairline.
- Scales along the scalp.
- Redness or inflammation along the scalp.
These symptoms are noticeably worse during the dry fall and winter months. Can affect, adults, teens, children and even newborns – regardless of gender.
Dandruff has a number of different causes. Some of the most common include:
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
The most common cause of dandruff, this condition is characterized by red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales. Seborrheic dermatitis is a condition where the skin becomes irritated and oily. When it affects your scalp it causes dandruff, but it can also affect other areas that are near your oil glands, such as the eyebrows, the sides of the nose, behind the ears, the breastbone or sternum, the groin area, and sometimes the armpits.
- Poor Hygiene or Lack of Shampooing
Those who do not wash their hair regularly, tend to build up oils and dead skin cells along the scalp.
- Dry Skin
This may be due to the weather, lack of hydration, and more. Those who suffer from dry skin on other parts of the body are likely to have dandruff as well.
A common yeast-like fungus that grows on the scalp – is generally harmless, but for some it causes irritation and an overgrowth of skin cells on the scalp. These excess skin cells will dry easily and cause dandruff.
- Contact Dermatitis
Some might be allergic or sensitive to certain hair care products – causing them to scratch, and the scalp to dry out.
While dandruff can happen to anyone, there are also certain risk factors that can make you more susceptible, including:
- Age – Dandruff usually begins during your early-adulthood or late teens. For some, it will continue into their later years.
- Gender – Men are more likely to have dandruff. Many believe this is due to testosterone.
- Oily, Greasy Hair – Those who have greasier hair or add oil to their scalp, have higher rates of dandruff.
- Diseases & Overall Health – Certain neurological conditions tend to cause dry skin, and thus dandruff as a side effect – Parkinson’s being a major one. Also, those who suffer from HIV/AIDS or other conditions that compromise the immune system, are more likely to have dandruff.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Dandruff is easily diagnosed, as it can be seen without much examination or testing.
However, treatment may be fairly difficult – requiring much trial and error, as some methods work better on certain people.
Firstly, it is important to introduce daily shampooing with a gentle shampoo, as this will reduce the oiliness and the buildup of skin cells. However, if regular shampoo fails to treat it, Dr. Lodha may recommend using medicated shampoos, especially for those with dandruff – popular drugstore brands include Head & Shoulders or Selsun Blue. These medicated shampoos contain things like, pyrithione zinc (Head & Shoulders), selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue), ketoconazole (Nizoral) and more.
For those with more severe cases of dandruff, that might be impervious to drugstore dandruff shampoos, Dr. Lodha may recommend, prescription-strength shampoos, topical creams and ointments, that will help to alleviate any dry skin, irritations, and other issues. Dr. Lodha will work with you, to find the right combination that works for you and your specific body chemistry. For more information on dandruff treatment, or to schedule a consultation, contact the team at Pura Dermatology today.