Dandruff

Dandruff is the most common and most misidentified hair and scalp problem. Most people are not really aware about this dreadful problem. So, in this article we provide all the necessary information about dandruff.

Dandruff is medically known as ‘pityriasis’. It is a common hair problem, wherein there is overproduction and build-up of dead skin cells. Like the rest of your body, your scalp is also covered with skin cells. As there is skin renewal, the top layers of the old cells die and come off. It takes about two to three weeks for the entire renewal process. But for some people, the renewal process speeds. So, the scalp increases the production of cells. The dead cells pack together and build up on the scalp, which results in redness and itchiness of the scalp. The dead skin comes off as white flakes on your collars and shoulders.

Causes of Dandruff
There are diverse opinions regarding the causes of dandruff. Most people believe that dandruff is caused due to:

  • Yeast-like organisms or fungi called, ‘malasezzia’ found on healthy scalps. They feed off of scalp oils and cholesterol. When they get out of control you start to feel the itch and see the flakes.
  • Hyperactiveness of the sebaceous glands. The scalp becomes excessively oily and you see yellow, greasy, and soft flakes. The scalp will be red and sore.
  • Overproduction in the scalp’s oil glands. People with oilier scalp are at risk to have this disorder.
  • Stress.
  • Allergies to certain food and hair care products.
  • A combination of dry indoor heat, chilled weather, and low humidity .
  • Infrequent shampooing.

Types of Dandruff
There are two kinds of dandruff. They are:

  1. Pityriasis-capitis: The simple kind of dandruff consisting of white dry flakes falling off from the scalp is called pityriasi-capitis. Vitamin deficiency and stress can cause this type of dandruff.
  2. Seborrhoeic Dermatitis: When you have a very greasy scalp you can suffer from seborrhoeic dermatitis. This kind of dandruff is oily, thick, scaly, weeping, and crusted.

Treatment for Dandruff

  • Shampoo your scalp and hair frequently with an anti-dandruff shampoo. Use anti-dandruff oils, creams, and lotions.
  • Use essential oils like cedar, rosemary, eucalyptus, and lemon to massage your scalp. Use fingertips in circulatory motions for massaging your scalp. This will help in reducing the flaking and itchiness of the scalp.
  • For fighting dandruff soak ‘methi’ seeds overnight. Grind it the next morning and mix it with ‘neem’ juice. Apply on the scalp.
  • Use herbs like heena, amla, reetha, and lemon for the treatment of dandruff. They are excellent cleansers with antiseptic properties.
  • Apply the mixture of 8 tbsp. peanut oil and juice of half a lemon to your hair. Rinse it after 10 minutes.
  • Eat a well balanced diet. Consume more fresh fruits. Drink plenty of water. Avoid fried foods, sugar, dairy products, and chocolate as far as possible.
  • Bring about a positive change in your diet and living habits. Eliminate stress and overcome dietary deficiencies.

Dandruff is contagious because it is an infection. So, you should disinfect and sanitize your hair care utensils like combs, brushes etc. properly, both before and after use. Try not to share your hair care utensils with others. Others may get infected. Rinse shampoo and conditioner thoroughly from your hair. For mild cases of dandruff use over-the-counter medicated shampoos, conditioners, and antiseptic lotions. Visit your physician if the situation gets worse. If there is excessive itchiness, redness or bleeding caused by scratching, you must consult your dermatologist. Dandruff, if left untreated, can lead to hair loss.