What is dandruff?


Know the basics

What is dandruff?

Dandruff is a common chronic scalp condition that causes flakes of dead skin on the scalp. The flakes may fall down on your shoulder and sometimes you may feel dry and itchy.

How common is dandruff?

This dandruff is common and affects men more than female. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of dandruff?

Dandruff symptoms are easy to see: white, oily-looking flakes of dead skin on your hair and shoulders, and a feeling of itchy. The condition could be worse during the fall and winter, when the heating can cause to dry skin, and get better until the summer.

Cradle cap, a type of dandruff, can affect babies. This disorder happens likely in newborns, but it can possibly occur with infants. However, cradle cap is not dangerous and usually clears up on its own.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

Dandruff is not a serious problem. But if over-the-counter (OTC) dandruff shampoos do not work, or if your scalp becomes red or swollen, you should see your doctor or a dermatologist. You may have seborrheic dermatitis or another condition that resembles dandruff.

Know the causes

What causes dandruff?

Dandruff is caused by:

  • Irritated, oily skin (seborrheic dermatitis). This is one of the most common causes of dandruff and causes red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales.
  • Not washing your hair often enough. If you do not regularly wash your hair, oils and skin cells from your scalp can build up, causing dandruff.
  • A fungus called malassezia lives on the scalps of most adults. In some cases, it irritates the scalp and can cause more skin cells to grow.
  • Dry skin. Flakes from dry skin are generally smaller and less oily. Also, redness or inflammation is unlikely.
  • Sensitivity to hair care products. Sometimes sensitivities to certain ingredients in hair care products or hair dyes can cause a red, itchy, scaly scalp.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for dandruff?

There are many risk factors for dandruff, such as:

  • Dandruff usually begins in young adulthood and continues through middle age. But that does not mean older adults do not get dandruff. Sometimes, the problem can last for life.
  • Male hormones.Because more men have dandruff, it is thought that male hormones may be a cause.
  • Oily hair and scalp.Malassezia feeds on oils in your scalp. For that reason, having excessively oily skin and hair makes you more prone to dandruff.
  • Neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, are more likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. So are people with HIV infection, or those who have compromised immune systems from other conditions.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is dandruff diagnosed?

Doctor can easily diagnose dandruff by looking at your hair and scalp.

How is dandruff treated?

Using shampoo is the main treatment to get rid of dandruff. Other serious dandruff can be cured with prescription shampoo, steroid creams, or antifungal creams.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage dandruff?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with dandruff:

  • Washing your hair daily with shampoos containing tea tree oil. Do not scratch your scalp when using shampoos, just gently massage your scalp without scratching, as this will not damage your hair or scalp. Also avoid using hair products such as hairspray and gel until the dandruff clears.
  • Manage stress to prevent yourself from getting dandruff and other health conditions.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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