Dandruff: Causes and treatments

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.

Home remedies

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. However, there are some lifestyle changes and home remedies that can help; these include:

Managing stress: stress can trigger dandruff in some people, so managing it better can reduce symptoms.

Shampoo more often: if you have oily hair and scalp, washing daily can help.

Sunlight: a little exposure to sunlight can be helpful.

Tea tree oil: although there is little evidence, some people believe that preparations that include tea tree oil help reduce symptoms of dandruff. It can cause allergic reactions in some people, so use caution.

Dandruff involves flakes of skin that collect in the hair.
Dandruff involves flakes of skin that collect in the hair.

People with seborrheic dermatitis have irritated, oily skin, and they are more likely to have dandruff.

Seborrheic dermatitis affects many areas of the skin, including the backs of the ears, the breastbone, eyebrows, and the sides of the nose.

The skin will be red, greasy, and covered with flaky white or yellow scales.

Seborrheic dermatitis is closely linked with Malassezia, a fungus that normally lives on the scalp and feeds on the oils that the hair follicles secrete.

It does not usually cause a problem, but in some people it becomes overactive, causing the scalp to become irritated and to produce extra skin cells.

As these extra skin cells die and fall off, they mix with the oil from the hair and scalp, forming dandruff.

2. Not enough hair brushing

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