Dandruff is a common and chronic condition faced by millions of people across the world.
Though harmless, dandruff can often interfere with your day-today life, especially when it causes severe itchiness on the scalp, or makes a sudden unwelcome appearance on clothes, affecting self-confidence.
Doctors believe that dandruff is caused due to several factors including eczema, dryness of the scalp, using the wrong shampoo and a yeast-like fungus leading to itchiness and white flakes.
And if you thought everyone suffers from similar dandruff symptoms, you are wrong. There are different types of dandruffs and it is important to identify it correctly and decide upon the course of medication.
Dry Skin Dandruff:
Dry skin related dandruff is the most common condition, that usually occurs in winter. It is caused due to taking head bath with hot water making the scalp go very dry and flaky. Individuals with dry, curly hair suffer from this type of dandruff very often.
This condition should be treated with good moisturising shampoos and one should avoid colouring, dyes and perming. Regular oil massages also help in alleviating itchiness and stimulate blood circulation, nutrition to the scalp.
Oil Related Dandruff:
Oil-related dandruff happens when there is an accumulation of sebum oil on the scalp. Secreted by the scalp glands, this oil can cause clumps all dead skin cells and dirt forming itchy flakes. Stress and anxiety levels cause high amounts of sebum oil secretion leading to the condition.
Talk to your doctor about proper medication, shampoo to clean excess sebum oil off the scalp.
Fungal Malassezia is a natural component found on skin and scalp. This fungus survives on excessive oil on the scalp and in turn, produces oleic acid as a byproduct that in turn produces skin cells to clump together causing white flakes.
Talk to your dermatologist for good anti-fungal shampoo and medication to get rid of this condition.
Disease Related Dandruff:
Few skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema stimulate excessive production of skin cells leading to the scaly skin on the scalp. When these skin cells get in contact with sebum oil and dirt, it causes dandruff.
Another condition seborrheic dermatitis is more a serious condition as it causes severe redness, sores and itchy scalp. It is mostly shown on the back of the head and neck. Consult a doctor before it spreads to face and ears, for proper medication.
Ways To Prevent Dandruff
Dandruff treatment and prevention can be divided into the following three groups:
- Using dandruff shampoos
- Lifestyle modifications
- Good hair care
For a few people using shampoo helps in treating and preventing flaking dandruff. Read instructions carefully before using shampoos, as some are for daily use, while others should be used less frequently. If a shampoo causes any side effects like redness and irritation or a rash stop using it immediately and seek professional help.
Over-the-counter (OTC) dandruff shampoos contain the following elements that may help decrease or prevent flaking:
Pyrithione: This compound helps combat bacteria and fungus on the scalp. Zinc pyritthione-based shampoos are suitable for most hair types.
Coal Tar: This shampoo helps with the process of skin cell death on the scalp. However, these shampoos may result in discolouration of hair.
Salicylic Acid: This acid-based shampoo treats excessive oil on the scalp. Many shampoos with this substance can be used regularly.
Selenium Sulfide: This shampoo combats fungus on the scalp and it may cause some hair discolouration if the hair is not rinsed well.
Ketoconazole: It also fights fungus, and this type of shampoo is available both OTC and prescription.
Leading a disciplined lifestyle can help optimise scalp health in many ways, that include:
Managing stress, as stress can weaken the immune system and aggravate certain skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
Consuming a wholesome diet that includes ample amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins and probiotics.
Proper Hair care
People who are prone to dandruff must make some changes to their hair care routine and alter the products they use.
Restrict the use of hairstyling products including hair dyes, which may irritate the skin and leave oils and chemicals on the scalp that may increase your risk of developing dandruff.
Never use hot water for hair washing. Always use lukewarm water to wash your hair.
Shampoo with a gentle one, or those that contain dandruff-combatting substances, and ensure to rinse thoroughly.