What causes dandruff?
Dandruff is a condition of the scalp that causes flakes of skin to appear. It is often accompanied by itching.
The exact cause is unknown, but various factors increase the risk. It is not related to poor hygiene, but it may be more visible if a person does not wash or brush their hair often.
Dandruff can be embarrassing and hard to treat, but help is available.
Fast facts on dandruff
Here are some key points about dandruff. More detail is the main article.
Dandruff is a common condition, but it can be embarrassing and difficult to treat.
It is not related to hygiene, but washing and brushing the hair can help remove old skin flakes.
Risk factors include having certain skin or medical conditions and the use of inappropriate hair products.
Various treatments are available over the counter, but more severe cases should be seen by a doctor.
Treatment aims to stop the dandruff by slowing down the reproduction of skin cells or counteracting the yeast production that might be the cause.
The strategy will depend the patient's age and the severity of the condition.
Shampoos and scalp preparations
Shampoos and scalp products are available over the counter at most stores and pharmacies. These can control seborrheic dermatitis, but they cannot cure it.
Before using an anti-fungal shampoo, individuals should carefully try to remove any scaly or crusty patches on the scalp, as far as possible, This will make the shampoo more effective.
Dandruff shampoo is available to treat dandruff in the beard.
Ingredients to look out for
Most anti-dandruff or anti-fungal shampoos contain at least one of the following active ingredients:
Ketoconazole: An effective anti-fungal. Shampoos containing this ingredient can be used at any age.
Selenium sulfide: This reduces the production of natural oils by glands in the scalp. It is effective at treating dandruff.
Zinc pyrithione: This slows down the growth of yeast.
Coal tar: This has a natural anti-fungal agent. Dyed or treated hair may become stained by long-term usage. Tar soaps may also make the scalp more sensitive to sunlight, so users should wear a hat when outside. Coal tar can also be carcinogenic in high doses. red and ruby wears for prom party
Salicylic acids: These help the scalp get rid of skin cells. They do not slow down the reproduction of skin cells. Many "scalp scrubs" contain salicylic acids. Treatment can sometimes leave the scalp dry and make skin flaking worse.
Tea-tree oil: Derived from the Australian Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), many shampoos now include this ingredient. It has long been used as an anti-fungal, an antibiotic, and an antiseptic. Some people are allergic to it.
The best strategy is to select a shampoo containing one of these ingredients and shampoo the hair every day until the dandruff is under control.
After this, they can be used less frequently.
Alternating dandruff shampoo with regular shampoo may help. A specific shampoo may stop being as effective after some time. At this point, it may be a good idea to switch to one with another ingredient.
Some shampoos should be left on the scalp for around 5 minutes, as rinsing too quickly will not give the ingredient time to work. Others should be rinsed at once. Users should follow the instructions on the container.