Dandruff is a skin disorder that affects the scalp. It causes itchiness and flakes of dry skin to fall off. The flakes are whitish in color. It is not a serious medical condition but is embarrassing to have them. It implies bad grooming when that is not necessarily the case. Dandruff is not a transmissible condition.
Dandruff is common and affects about 50 percent of the population. This condition mostly occurs after puberty and is present to the middle age. It affects all races and is predominant in men than women. The majority with dandruff have no internal or immune problems.
The scalp sheds off dead skins as new cells are created. Excessive shedding of skin is noticeable and is what is referred to as dandruff. The shedding comes about due to various reasons. These reasons include:
- Overemployment of hair products
- Infrequent washing of hair and scalp
- Seborrhoeic dermatitis: this is a skin condition that affect body areas with hair, the face, and ears
- Suppression of the immune system due to chemotherapy and HIV virus
- Allergy sensitivity
a) Anti-dandruff shampoo
Treatment is available over the counter in the form of anti-dandruff shampoo. The effectiveness of the shampoo depends on one’s skin. Try different shampoos until you get one that works.Shampoo should have any of the components below for it to be effective:
- Coal tar components (such as Scytera, Neutrogena T/Gel, and Denorex )
- Pyrithione zinc (e.g, Selsun Blue)
- Salicylic acid and sulfur (i.e, Sebex, Sebulex)
- Salicylic acid (Neutrogena T/Sal )
- Selenium sulfide (such as Dandrex, Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength, Selsun)
- Ketoconazole ( Extina, Nizoral A-D, Xolegel)
Rub the shampoo in the hair while washing. Leave for the recommended minutes, normally five. Then rinse off completely to avoid irritation. Massage the scalp but do not scratch it. Scratching damages the hair and scalp and increases dandruff.
b) Prescription shampoo
See a specialist if your shampoo does not work in a few weeks. The GP may recommend a prescription shampoo.Seborrhoeic dermatitis requires medication.
c) Lotion and creams
Lotions and creams with cortisone help reduce inflammation. Anti-fungal creams lessen the number of yeast organism in the skin and require daily application. Sunlight also affects the bacterium. Sunny weather, therefore, helps diminish dandruff.
d) Brush hair
Brush hair from the scalp upwards. Use steady strokes in order to remove oil from the scalp.
e) Lessen use of some hair products
Evade using hair products such as hairspray and gel until dandruff clears. Also use less of dyes.
Hair loss results when dandruff extends to become thick patches. The hair grows back if the scar is not severe.
Treatments that do not work
Moisturizing: Lotions that moisturize make plaques look more sore.
Changing antiperspirants: Using a different antiperspirant does not help seborrhea. Antiperspirants are not the cause for the condition but make it look worse.
Several methods to deal with dandruff are recommended by different cultures, but they have not been proven to work. Some of these include the use of homemade concoctions. In India and China, for example, they use egg oil to treat dandruff.
References: 1) United State Food and Drug Administration - Controlling Dandruff - Audrey T. Hingley - www.fda.gov 2) International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements (IBIDS) - National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) - USDA Agricultural Research Service - National Agricultural Library (NAL) - December 2002 - grande.nal.usda.gov/ibids/index.php
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