Dandruff is a condition where the skin on your scalp flakes because of an overproduction of skin cells. It is normal for the skin on your scalp to die and regrow. However, the excess amount of dead skin cells is the result of Dandruff and falls out in white and yellow flakes. This is a form of seborrheic dermatitis and has many causes. Approximately 1 out of 5 adults suffer from this ailment. Although it can feel embarrassing and unsightly, there are treatments to get rid of Dandruff or manage it.
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Causes of Dandruff
Dandruff is a simple overgrowth of new skin replacing dead skin. When the old skin is replaced, the dead skin sheds and creates an itchy feeling in your scalp that is difficult to tame.
Dry Skin: One cause in adults is dry skin. You may begin to notice that you have more Dandruff in colder climates, especially during the winter seasons. During the winter, temperatures drop, and the air becomes drier. This sudden change in weather and temperature can cause your scalp to become dry, producing flakes we are all familiar with.
Reaction to Fungus: These flakes can also be produced by a fungus that already exists on the majority of the adult population’s heads. The fungus is called Malassezia and acts like yeast. It is not dangerous but, it feeds off of the oils in our scalp. This, in turn, triggers the cells on our scalp to continue producing new skin. Typically, with this type of Dandruff, your head feels very itchy.
Hair Care Products: Many shampoos and conditioners are made with harsh chemicals that dry out and irritate your scalp. When your scalp becomes too dry as a result, the skin cells die, and more skin is developed underneath.
Symptoms of Dandruff
While the causes differ from person to person, Dandruff looks like white or yellow flakes that are formed on the scalp. As too much is produced, these symptoms become visible:
- Itchy scalp where scratching doesn’t offer relief
- White flakes falling from your scalp
- Red and irritated areas on your scalp
- Flaky scalp, beard, or eyebrows
How to Effectively Treat
Thankfully, this is not life-threatening and nothing to be worried about. Since this is the case, there are various effective treatments out there to alleviate Dandruff. However, it is important to note that Dandruff can come back at any time — even after the treatment.
These treatments include:
- Cleansing with a gentle shampoo
- Regularly using pyrithione zinc shampoos
- Limiting hair products
How to Manage Dandruff
As stated previously, although there are effective treatments for Dandruff, it is important to note that Dandruff can easily come back. The best way to prevent Dandruff is to manage your Dandruff personally. First, figure out what is causing your Dandruff.
If your Dandruff is caused by dry skin, for example, finding an effective and easy-to-use hair and scalp routine can help. Each routine looks different but, you should avoid citrus if you suffer from dry skin. There are many harsh chemicals and shampoos that can re-irritate your scalp, even after getting rid of Dandruff.
Believe it or not, sometimes stress is the reason for constant Dandruff! When picking and scratching your scalp as a coping tool, you damage the healthy and new skin cells. When they are damaged, more new skin cells are developed. This cycle will only continue until you reduce your stress or find another coping mechanism.
- How long does Dandruff last? Dandruff does not have a set timeline and can stay for as short as a few days to as long as years. Unfortunately, some people suffer from constant Dandruff and cannot find a solution to their needs.
- Is dandruff hereditary? Dandruff can be hereditary. Studies have found that you are more likely to develop Dandruff if either one of your parents suffers from the scalp condition.
- Can Dandruff be contagious? No! Dandruff is not a virus or illness that can be transferred from person to person. Dandruff is dead skin and nothing else. It can only be developed through the causes listed above.
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment. Always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!