What is dandruff?
Dandruff is a common condition that causes the skin of the scalp turns itchy and flaky. It is considered to be a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis – a condition that causes scaly patches on the skin. It is harmless but can be embarrassing when the scalp flakes show on the hair and shoulders. It isn’t about hair or the shampoo you use, it is about the skin of the scalp.
The Dandruff symptoms vary upon the severity of the condition and stress levels. Constant itchiness in the scalp and irritation can be one of the primary symptoms to identify. Dandruff signs and symptoms may include:
- Skin flakes on the scalp, hair, skin, eyebrows, mustache, beard, and shoulder
- Itchiness in the scalp
- Crusty and flaky scalp in children
Sometimes the symptoms show during the cold and dry seasons more than other times.
Who is at risk?
Dandruff risk factors can differ from individual to individual, depending upon their lifestyle, health conditions, age, etc. Almost anyone can have dandruff at any point of time, but some of the common reasons for dandruff might include:
- Age: Dandruff can affect anyone from their young childhood to middle-age. But it doesn’t mean that people don’t get it at their old-age. Sometimes, the dandruff condition can last life-long.
- Dirty scalp: When one doesn’t wash or oil their scalp and hair on a routine basis, they are more likely to stay dirty for long periods, and may turn the scalp dry and flaky too.
- Use of inappropriate products: Some shampoos, conditioners, etc tend to leave the skin dry and flaky while others may cause a reaction rendering dandruff on the scalp.
- Medical Condition: Dandruff sometimes occurs as a result of an underlying disease like Parkinson’s disease, nervous system diseases, HIV, or weakened immune system.
The dandruff causes differ depending upon types of dandruff, the severity of the condition and health of the scalp. However, we have discussed some possible causes for you down below:
- A yeast-like fungus called Malassezia that feeds on oils of the scalp (of mostly adults)
- Dry and irritated skin
- Keeping the scalp dirty and unwashed for longer periods
- Sensitivity to hair care products
- Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema
- Medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, neural disorders, weak immune system, etc
- Oily skin
How is dandruff diagnosed?
For dandruff diagnosis, usually, a visit to the dermatologist is a must. A doctor undertakes a thorough examination of the scalp to diagnose the condition. These include:
- Physical Examination: As dandruff is usually visible on the scalp, hair, shoulder, etc the doctor physically examines the scalp skin to identify the condition
- Lab Tests: The doctor conducts a series of dandruff tests to identify the fungus feeding on the scalp. This helps in diagnosis and treatment.
Care.fit is your dedicated healthcare partner providing you a range of services including consultation with dermatologist, treatment, and other medical requirements. Fix an appointment with your dandruff doctor now or undertake a video consultation to diagnosis and dandruff cure to begin today.
How can dandruff be treated?
Dandruff treatment is done based on the causes and the intensity of the condition. Here are some of the ways in which one can reduce the itchiness and irritation of the scalp, and the treatment that the doctor undertakes to cure it.
- Medicine for dandruff: Doctor may advise oral medication for dandruff treatment
- Daily cleansing: For mild dandruff, cleansing the scalp daily with a gentle shampoo can help as it reduces the oil and skin-cell build-up
- Medicated Dandruff Shampoo: Doctors usually advised medicated shampoos that contain antifungal agents, salicylic acid, ketoconazole, etc to fight through the fungus build up and leave the scalp clean and healthy
- Moisturizing scalp: a dry scalp usually causes dandruff, so it is important to moisturize your scalp and hair with an antifungal moisturizer. Oiling hair once a week with coconut oil, sesame oil, mustard oil, etc can help.
- Hygiene and care: Maintaining scalp hygiene and stopping scrapping can help cure the dandruff condition in the long term.
How can dandruff be prevented?
Prevention of dandruff can be done through a number of very simple practices. They are:
- Healthy diet: a nutritious diet can provide zinc, B vitamins, and certain forms of fat that can prevent dandruff
- Regular shampoo: People with oily scalp should shampoo daily to keep the scalp clean and healthy. A herbal or dermatologist suggested shampoo can be the best to extend gentle care to hair and scalp.
- Sunlight: A little exposure to sunlight can optimize skin functioning and prevent dandruff. However, make sure to wear sunscreen to protect from ultraviolet rays.
- Limit hair products: Haircare products usually contain a lot of chemicals, its best to stay away from styling tools, sprays, etc to keep your scalp and hair healthy.
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