What is Dandruff?
Dandruff is a common chronic scalp condition characterized by the production of flaking of the skin on your scalp. It is not contagious and is rarely serious. But, at times it can be embarrassing and difficult to treat.
Usually dandruff can be controlled. Daily shampooing with a gentle cleanser can be suggested for a mild case of dandruff. While, medicated shampoos can be used in stubborn cases of dandruff.
Symptoms of Dandruff
The dandruff symptoms are easy to spot. White, oily looking flakes of dead skin that resides on the scalp is dandruff. The scalp can also feel itchy . The condition can worsen during the winter.
When to see a doctor
After experimenting with several over-the-counter dandruff shampoos if you are still feeling itchy or your scalp becomes red or swollen, then see your doctor or dermatologist. You may have seborrhoeic dermatitis. Your doctor can diagnose the problem simply by looking at your scalp and hair.
Causes of Dandruff:
1. Dry skin – Dry skin is most common cause of dandruff. The flakes from the dry skin will be small oily flakes.
2. Irritated oily skin: It is marked by red, greasy skin covered with flaky white scales. Seborrhoeic dermatitis can also be seen on the other areas on your body that are rich in oil glands such as eyebrows, side of your nose, back of your ears, breastbone, armpits and groin area.
3. Not shampooing often enough: If you don’t wash your hair regularly, then also oil and skin cells from your scalp can build up causing dandruff.
4. Other skin conditions: Other skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis can lead to dandruff.
5. A yeast like fungus called Malassezia: Malassezia lives on the scalp of most adults but in some cases it irritates the scalp.
6. Sensitivity to hair care products: Sometimes certain ingredients in the hair care products such as paraphenylenediamine can cause red, itchy, scaly scalp. Shampooing a lot and regular usage of hairstyling products can also cause dandruff.
Anyone can have dandruff. But certain factors can make you more susceptible:
1. Age: Dandruff starts from young adulthood and continues throughout middle age. That doesn’t mean that the older age people don’t get dandruff. For some people, problem can be lifelong.
2. Being Male: Men have larger oil-producing glands on their scalps and are generally prone to dandruff.
3. Oily hair and scalp: Having excessive oily skin and hair makes you more prone to dandruff.
4. Poor Diet: If your diet is not having zinc, Vitamin B and certain type of fats then also you are prone to dandruff.
5. Certain Illnesses: Person suffering from Parkinson’s disease and HIV Infection are prone to have dandruff on their scalps.
Preparing for your appointment
There is no preparation required for seeing a dermatologist in this case. Your doctor can easily diagnose the problem by simply looking at your scalp and skin. If you have started using some hair care products then do let your doctor know about them.
Treatments and Drugs
Mild dandruff can be treated with a gentle shampoo to reduce oiliness and skin cell build up. When regular shampoos fail, and then start using an Anti- Dandruff shampoo. If you develop allergy after using it then consult your doctor immediately.
Some useful tips:
1. Learn to manage stress.
2. Regular shampooing of hair with any medicated shampoo and keep your scalp clean.
3. Oil your hair once a week. Tie the hair with a warm, clean cloth and keep it overnight. This helps oil to penetrate and nourish the hair.
4. Reduce the usage of hair styling products.
5. Eat a healthy diet. Natural foods such as sprouts, green leafy vegetables, nuts, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes that gives you calcium, potassium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, zinc should be part of your diet.
6. Spend some time outdoors to get some sunlight. Wear your sunscreen.
7. Take supplement of B complex vitamins.
8. Lead a healthy lifestyle with enough sleep and exercise to boost your immune system.
9. Lemon juice rubbed on the scalp and kept for an hour provides relief. Vitamin A and C in lemon juice provides nourishment to the scalp and strengthen hair roots.
10. Buttermilk with its calcium and B complex content provides excellent relief. Rub it on your scalp and keep it for some time. It cleanses the hair, nourishes it and leaves it soft and silky.
11. A combination of orange peel, gram flour and yogurt rubbed on to the scalp and washed off after an hour, clears dandruff. Cleanses and conditions the hair.
12. Avoid stress, bad eating habits, caffeine, smoking, alcohol and late nights as they can cause havoc both with your general state of health and your hair.
Good quality hair is the reflection of your overall health. If you are in a good state, then your hair will be shiny and healthy.
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