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DANDRUFF

Dandruff is an inflammatory condition of the scalp. Symptoms include flaking and sometimes mild itchiness. It can result in social or self esteem problems. Severe form of dandruff is known as seborrhoeic dermatitis.

Why does dandruff occur?

Many people believe that dandruff is caused by poor hygiene, but this is not true. In frequent shampooing can make the dandruff more obvious, but the exact reason for dandruff is much more complex. The aetiology of dandruff is multifactorial.
The three most important factors responsible for development of dandruff include:

  1. Sebum produced from the sebaceous / oil glands of the scalp
  2. The products produced during the metabolism by skin micro-organisms (especifically Malassezia fungi)
  3. Individual susceptibility and allergy sensitivity.
How do I identify that I have dandruff?

Dandruff is characterised by dry, fine, white, loosely adherent scales of size 0.5–1.5 mm, affecting any part of the scalp. Scalp involvement may be diffuse or patchy. Scaling is usually more prominent on the vertex. It may or may not be itchy. Winter and stress are known to aggravate dandruff. The scales of dandruff are less apparent after a hair wash.

What is the treatment for dandruff?

Mild to moderate dandruff can be improved by using shampoos containing anti-fungal components like ketoconazole 2%, zinc pyrithione 1% (ZPTO),ciclopirox olamine 1%–1.5%, piroctone olamine and selenium sulphide. The shampoo should be used 2-3 times per week for 2-3 weeks or till dandruff clears and then weekly once for maintenance.
In cases where the scales are very thick, topical keratolytic agents likes salicylic acid 2%, sulfur 2% are also helpful.

How often should you wash your hair?

People who have dandruff can wash their hair every alternate day with the anti-dandruff shampoo till the dandruff clears. Even after that the hair should be washed regularly, at least twice a week including one wash with the antidandruff shampoo, to keep the scalp clean.

Is oiling good for dandruff?

One should avoid oiling the scalp if they have dandruff, as dandruff occurs because of excess sebum (OIL) production from the oil glands of the scalp. However, as the anti-dandruff treatment can make the hair dry and rough, one can oil the lower portion of hair strands only 1-2 hours before head wash.

What is scalp peel?

Just like chemical peeling of face helps in keeping the skin in good condition, similarly, scalp peel is a treatment in which some therapeutic products containing active agents is applied on the scalp, left for few minutes and rinsed. This helps in reducing the sebum production, division of the fungus, and deep cleansing of the scalp.

Scalp peel helps in improving the dandruff faster and makes the scalp more healthy.

Can I get rid of dandruff permanently?

No. Dandruff is a condition arising primarily because of excess sebum production and Malassezia overgrowth (commensal of our body). Both these factors can not be eliminated for permanent. Hence, one cannot get rid of dandruff for permanent. One needs to continue using the anti-dandruff shampoos on a weekly once basis to keep the condition under control.

Can dandruff cause hair loss?

Untreated dandruff can injure the hair follicles, leading to some hair loss, though not complete baldness.

Does stress cause dandruff?

Stress itself is not direct cause of dandruff. However, stress increases the level of androgen hormones in the blood circulation, and these androgen hormones stimulate the oil glands including the ones on the scalp. This increases the sebum production, thus worsening the dandruff.

What food causes dandruff?

Reduce bad fats in your diet, particularly chocolate and dairy, that can cause more oil production, exacerbating dandruff. And add in foods with vitamin B complex, as well as foods containing good oils, green vegetables, protein, and grains.

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