Table of Contents

What is Dandruff?

Dandruff is a condition that causes the skin on the scalp to peel to form dry, white skin flakes. Dandruff is neither a dangerous or contagious disease, but it can make people feel insecure, itchy, and tend to be difficult to treat.

Mild dandruff can be treated using a gentle shampoo. If it does not work, medicated shampoos may help — although symptoms may appear again 

Dandruff does not come from your hair or how often you wash it. Dandruff is a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis. In infants, seborrheic dermatitis is called cradle cap. Some people who have dandruff problems may experience seborrheic dermatitis in other body parts, such as the ears, face, and chest.

Dandruff is caused by skin cells that grow and die too quickly, but the cause is still unknown. The Malassezia fungus may cause dandruff — by living on a healthy scalp without causing any problems. There is a theory that says a person’s immune system with dandruff may overreact to this fungus. 

Dandruff may worsen when you are stressed or sick. Dry winters may trigger dandruff and damage your scalp even worse. Make an appointment with a dermatologist through Smarter Health to help you find the right treatment.

 Causes of Dandruff

There are many factors that may cause dandruff, including:

  • Dry skin.
  • Rarely shampooing
  • Scalp irritation.
  • Oily scalp.
  • Skin problems, such as psoriasis and eczema.
  • Sensitivity to certain hair care products.
  • Malassezia that feeds on oils on the scalps of most adults

Nearly anyone can have dandruff, but there are certain factors that can increase the risk, such as:

  • Age. Dandruff problems usually begin in young adulthood through middle age. It does not mean older adults do not get dandruff. For some people, dandruff can be a lifelong problem. 
  • Being male. Some researchers suspect that male hormones may cause dandruff as more men have dandruff
  • Certain diseases. Parkinson’s disease and other diseases that affect the nervous system appear to increase the risk of dandruff, including HIV and a weakened immune system.

When to See A Doctor for Dandruff

Your doctor can usually diagnose dandruff simply by looking at the condition of your hair and scalp. After that, your doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment method.

Symptoms of Dandruff

Below are several signs and symptoms of dandruff:

  • Itching scalp 
  • Scaly and crusty scalp. 
  • Skin flakes on your head, hair, eyebrows, beard, or mustache on your shoulders.

You may have more severe signs and symptoms of dandruff if you are stressed and usually recur in the humid dry season.

Most dandruff problems do not require a doctor’s care. You can see a dermatologist if your condition does not improve after using an over-the-counter dandruff shampoo.

Treatment for Dandruff 

In general, itching scalp due to dandruff can be controlled. For mild dandruff, first try washing your hair daily with a gentle shampoo to reduce buildup of oil and skin cells. If it does not help, try a medicated shampoo. You may need to try more than one shampoo product to find the best one and you may need repeated or long-term treatments.

If you develop itching, stinging, burning, and redness scalp from any product, you should stop using that product. If you experience an allergic reaction, such as rash, hives, and difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention.

If you find a dandruff shampoo that works for a while, but then loses its effectiveness, try alternating two types of dandruff shampoo.

Always read and follow the directions for use on the packaging, as some products are recommended to be left on for a few minutes, while others need to be rinsed off immediately. First, use a dandruff shampoo 1 to 3 times a week to treat dandruff. Then, taper to once a week or less often for maintenance and prevention.

If you have been using dandruff shampoo regularly for a few weeks and still have dandruff, talk to a dermatologist. You may be prescribed a special shampoo or steroid lotion.

Treatment Cost for Dandruff

Your doctor may recommend numerous dandruff treatment options. To calculate the estimated cost for dandruff treatments at home and abroad, use Smarter Health’s free service.

Prevention of Dandruff

Although it is difficult, it is possible for you to prevent dandruff. However, using an anti-dandruff or anti-fungal shampoo once a week or as instructed on the packaging can help prevent dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp. Below are some steps to prevent dandruff:

  • Try not to scratch your scalp when shampooing. Just gently massage your scalp without scratching to avoid scalp and hair damage.
  • Shampoo at least three times a week. After shampooing, rinse your hair thoroughly to remove any traces of shampoo.
  • Avoid using chemicals on your scalp, such as the ingredients in hair dyes. These chemicals can reduce the number of bacteria on the scalp which function to fight fungus.
  • Avoid using styling products, such as hair gels and sprays. These products may cause irritation on your scalp

Consult a dermatologist to discuss your dandruff condition. Your doctor may check for other conditions, such as psoriasis — skin conditions that cause red, scaly, and crusty patches.

Home Remedies for Dandruff

Home remedies for dandruff problems are relatively easy for you to do. You can follow some steps below: 

  • Learn to manage stress. Stress can affect your overall health and make you more susceptible to a number of conditions and diseases. Even stress can trigger dandruff and worsen the symptoms.
  • Eat healthy foods, such as foods that contain zinc, B vitamins, and certain fats are believed to prevent dandruff.
  • Shampoo frequently, particularly if you have an oily scalp. Shampooing every day can prevent dandruff. Gently massage your scalp while shampooing and rinse thoroughly.
  • Spending some time under the sun may help reduce dandruff. However, ultraviolet rays can damage the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. Therefore, you should apply sunscreen on your face and body. 
  • Use less hair styling products. These products can build up on your hair and scalp, causing a more oily scalp.

Have any further questions about dandruff treatments? Write in the comment section below. You can also do tele-consultations with dermatologists at home and abroad through Smarter Health.

Tele-consultation is the best solution to access health services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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