Technically referred to as “Pityriasis simplex capilitti”; dandruff refers to a scalp condition whereby there is marked shedding of dead cells. While it is usual for dead scalp skins to flake and shed; when the normally occurring shedding reaches the estimate of eight lakhs per square centimeter, the scalp condition takes the form of a disease.

What are the causes of Dandruff?

  • Early maturity of cells leads to increased and frequent shedding, which is facilitated by marked production of sebum..
  • A micro organism by the name of ‘Malasezzia’ yeast is also responsible for causing dandruff.
  • Exposure to excesses of heat and cold also give way to excessive shedding and dandruff.
  • Excess of perspiration and climatic factors also aid the development of dandruff.
  • Sometimes the condition may develop as a result of allergic reaction with the scalp’s exposure to chemicals.
  • Psychological stress, improperly balanced diet and lack of immunity may also facilitate the growth of dandruff.

What are the different types of Dandruff

  • According to the causative agent dandruff may be categorized into three different types.
  • Fungal in origin ‘malasezzia’ with the micro organisms feed on oily secretion of the scalp.
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis giving way to scalp condition where there is an influx of shedding in form of scales.
  • Psoriasis is another form of dandruff which is marked by shedding of silver colored flakes.

Symptoms of Dandruff

  • Marked by the release of patchy scales; dandruff may also affect areas other than scalp.
  • Generally affecting youngsters around their puberty or pre puberty stage; dandruff can affect people of any age or sex.
  • Release of scales may be localized in patches or it may also affect the entire scalp.
  • Along with shedding the scalp may be itchy and irritating.
  • At times there may be inflammation of scalp.
  • Other than cases of oily scalp, dandruff may give way to loss of hair.
  • On account of dandruff one may suffer from social inferiority and depression.

Diagnosis of Dandruff

  • Shedding of flakes with increased secretion of oil is enough for self diagnoses.
  • In cases of severe flaking, an examination of the scalp condition and nature of flaking can enable physicians to get an insight into the nature of flaking.

Treatment for Dandruff

  • In situations of dandruff bringing about inflammation, ointments and lotion containing cortisone are prescribed to overcome the conditions of inflammation.
  • Certain medicated formula based on tar, salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione have also been found helpful.
  • Shampoo based on ketoconazole is also useful in overcoming excess dandruff, if used twice on weekly basis.
  • With fungus contributing to dandruff formation, application of anti fungal cream has also been found to be useful.
  • Use of shampoo containing ‘selenium’ is also effective in overcoming the fungal base of dandruff.

Self care and natural remedies to Reduce Dandruff

  • Self care regimen can go a long way in assuring relief from dandruff. Equally effective can be the application of natural remedies.
  • Keeping in mind the contagious nature of dandruff it is imperative that one does not use combs used by others. It is always better to have individual sets of combs.
  • Consumption of food enriched with Vitamin B such as whole grains, egg yolk, nuts and cauliflower helps overcome dandruff. At times supplements of Biotin is also helpful.
  • Consumption of food high in their oily content should be avoided along with beverages based on alcohol and carbonated drinks. However consumption of food enriched with Omega 6 fatty acids is helpful from the point of view of curbing the growth of dandruff.
  • Unclean hair lacking in maintenance and proper nourishment aid the growth of dandruff. So cleaning and washing of hair with medicated or herbal shampoo are of immense importance.
  • One should be cautious about the choice of shampoo. It is worth mentioning in this context that egg based shampoo serves to overcome excess flaking.
  • You may purchase or prepare an egg based shampoo by combining egg and water.
  • After washing of hair, it is important that you pat it dry as moisture serves to breed dandruff.
  • According to naturopathic mode of treatment, paste of fenugreek helps overcome the itchy scales of dandruff, when applied to scalp.
  • Rinsing hair with water soaking or boiling neem leaves is also advantageous from the point of view of dandruff.
  • Equally useful is the application of cider vinegar followed by washing the scalp after an hour.
  • Topical use of tea oil is also advantageous with four to five drops of the same being added to your shampoo meant for washing the dandruff prone scalp. Besides tea oil, flaxseed oil and oil enriched with Vitamin E can also be added to an egg based shampoo for washing the dandruff stricken scalp.