Have you ever felt the need to itch your scalp and as a result saw tiny white flakes appearing ? These tiny flakes that cause itching and irritation of your scalp result in formation of dandruff. Irrespective of age and gender, dandruff can happen to anyone. Dandruff may not be a serious skin condition, but yes, the itchy scalp can cause a lot of discomfort while in public.
You must be wondering that even after washing the hair regularly, how is it that you are still facing the issue of dandruff. It is the most common skin condition but at the same time it is tricky to treat. But before treating dandruff, it is always better to understand what causes dandruff. Only then will you comprehensively treat the issue at hand. In this article, you will get to know everything you need to know about dandruff. So, keep reading.
What Is Dandruff?
Dandruff is a common scalp condition which causes the scalp to become dry, itchy and flaky. The flakes that appear are nothing but the dead skin. Dandruff is found to be more common in men than in women as the scalp barrier in men is weaker as compared to the women. Generally, dandruff starts around puberty and subsides in adulthood. During the process of cell regeneration, new cells are formed which replace the older ones and these older cells are pushed outward which eventually die and shed off.
But when you have dandruff, the new skin cells of the scalp begin to replace more rapidly than the normal cycle, the older dead skin cells start clumping together with the oil to form a white flaky substance which becomes visible on your scalp.
The severity of dandruff can differ from person to person. Some people have a mild form of dandruff, which can be treated with home remedies while the severe form of dandruff such as Seborrheic dermatitis may need proper diagnosis and require proper medical treatment.
The itchy and irritated scalp can cause a lot of discomfort and may hamper your day-to-day activities. If you notice white flaky substance on your scalp then you need to treat it at the earliest before the condition becomes worse. If you think that the symptoms of dandruff observed are same in all cases, then you are probably wrong. There are different types of dandruff and you need to know which type of dandruff you are suffering from so that you can treat it accordingly. Let’s find out more about the types of dandruff:
1. Dry Skin Dandruff
Dry skin dandruff is a skin condition in which your scalp becomes dry and itchy. It usually happens on the onset of winter when your skin becomes extremely dry. People with curly or coily hair usually suffer from this type of scalp condition. Another common habit that can dry out your scalp is taking a head bath with hot water which can make your scalp extremely dry and flaky.
2. Oil Related Dandruff
This type of dandruff is due to the oily/ greasy scalp. The sebum gets accumulated on the scalp which clumps together with dirt and dead skin eventually forming flaky skin on your scalp. Excess production of sebum can be the main reason for this type of dandruff. Stress, tension, depression, anxiety can be the primary reasons for excess sebum production.
3. Fungal Dandruff
Fungal Malassezia, is a type of fungus which is found on the skin of human beings. However, this type of fungus breeds on excessive oil found on the scalp. This in turn produces oleic acid that causes the skin cells to clump together to produce white flakes.
This type of dandruff is related to any underlying skin conditions like as psoriasis, eczema. In this condition there is an excessive production of skin cells, leading to scaly skin. These skin cells together with dirt and sebum result in formation of white flakes on your scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis is another severe skin condition that causes itchiness, soreness, redness on your scalp, neck, back, forehead. You need to consult a good dermatologist to treat this type of skin condition.
Dandruff is a common skin condition and almost everyone suffers from it at different stages of life. Some people have a mild form of dandruff, while others suffer from severe form of dandruff. People with severe condition of dandruff should not ignore it and get immediate medical attention. Below mentioned are few symptoms of dandruff which should not be disregarded.
- Dry and itchy scalp with flaky skin is the initial symptom of dandruff, which is then followed by visible flakes of dead skin on your scalp, hair and on your dress.
- You might feel the sudden dryness of skin and persistent irritation of your scalp.
- Red patches that are greasy start appearing on the scalp.
Timely identification and care can help prevent major scalp issues that can lead to severe hair issues. The problem of dandruff generally gets worse in extreme climatic conditions.
Causes Of Dandruff
It can be daunting to figure out the exact cause of dandruff. In order to treat it, you should be aware of the causes. Below mentioned are a few possible reasons which can trigger dandruff:
- The most common cause can be due to a skin condition called the seborrheic dermatitis which is a severe form of dandruff that occur due to oily scalp and dead skin cell accumulation.
- Sensitivity to some hair care products can cause the skin to dry and make it itchy leading to dandruff.
- Not cleaning your scalp properly can lead to accumulation of dead skin cells on the scalp, creating flakes and itchy scalp.
- Shampooing your hair very often makes your scalp dry. Always keep a watch on the number of times you wash your hair.
- A yeast-like a fungus Malassezia globose, can aggravate your scalp and cause excess skin cell growth. This fungus feeds on the oil of your scalp, producing oleic acid which causes your skin cells to shed.
- Some personal care products may cause skin allergy or contact dermatitis, which makes your scalp red and itchy.
- Long term illness
- Extreme cold and the dry climatic conditions.
These are a few possible reasons for dandruff. When you suffer from dandruff, think of the cause for it and look for the type of dandruff you have in order to treat it.
Risk Factor Of Dandruff
When a person reaches the adolescence stage, the hormonal changes in the body can trigger the outbreak of dandruff and in some people this can be continued into adulthood as well. Males are at a higher risk of suffering from dandruff than females. This is due to the presence of hormones. People with oily skin, especially scalp are at the increased risk of suffering from dandruff.
Dandruff can not only cause a lot of embarrassment and discomfort to the person, but if left unattended it can become more severe, giving rise to various skin, hair and health issues. It is of utmost importance to seek proper treatment for this chronic skin condition. Dandruff can clog the hair follicles and retard the growth of healthy hair, which leads to hair fall, hair thinning and breakage. The treatment of dandruff depends upon its severity. Not so severe form of dandruff can be treated at home by following these simple remedies.
1. Using Medicated Shampoos
Use of medicated shampoos can combat dandruff to some extent. Choose a shampoo which contains zinc pyrithione, sulfur, salicylic acid, selenium disulfide, ketoconazole and tar as these ingredients are known to be quite effective against dandruff. Shampoos containing salicylic acid are beneficial if you have a thick buildup of dandruff which is sticky. Salicylic acid is known to loosen the thick buildup, thus making it easier to treat the actual fungus responsible for causing dandruff.
- Apply coconut oil on your scalp and massage for 5 minutes and leave it for 30 minutes.
- Massage the medicated shampoo onto your scalp for 5 minutes and then wash off.
- Towel dry your hair. Repeat this process thrice a week.
Some useful ingredients to treat dandruff are readily available in your kitchen itself. Coconut oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey are some ingredients which are easily available in every household that can be used to treat dandruff. You can also try some home remedies to treat dandruff.
1. Raw Honey
Raw honey is beneficial in treating dandruff, because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It has a soothing effect on your itchy scalp and helps to clean your scalp. Take 3 tablespoons of raw honey and to this add few drops of lemon juice. Apply this mixture evenly on your scalp and wash it after 30 minutes.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps to maintain the acidic pH of the scalp. Dry, brittle and dull hair is alkaline in nature and rinsing your hair with diluted apple cider vinegar after washing helps to maintain the acidity of the scalp and hair, thus returning your hair back to normal. The acetic acid in the ACV helps to maintain the optimum health of your scalp, thus preventing dandruff. ACV is known to be rich in vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients vital for the growth of hair and its anti-inflammatory property helps to soothe the itchy scalp.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil is popular for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties due to which it is considered to be beneficial in treating dandruff. Its moisturizing and nourishing properties help to keep your scalp well-nourished and moisturized. Thus, coconut oil is considered to be effective in treating dry scalp conditions. Take 2 tablespoons of Coconut Oil and to this add few drops of Tea Tree oil. Apply evenly on your scalp. Let is rest for 1 hour before rinsing off.
These are a few of the best home remedies to treat dandruff. But at-home treatments will not give you immediate results. You have to do it regularly to see the desired result. You have to be consistent and patient whenever you are following any treatment for a particular treatment.
Tips For Maintaining A Healthy Scalp
A healthy scalp is considered to be the foundation of healthy hair. In order to have healthy hair, you should always keep your scalp clean, well-nourished and hydrated. This in turn promotes the growth of healthy hair. We are going to share a few healthy habits to promote the growth of hair:
- Brushing your hair daily, starting from the roots helps to improve blood circulation.
- Wash your hair twice or thrice a week, to prevent the sebum or product buildup on your scalp.
- Use clarifying shampoo once a month to thoroughly cleanse your scalp and hair.
- Eat protein-rich food such as all dairy products, meat, egg, soy, grains, salmon, beef, pumpkin seeds etc.
- Drink lots of water and always keep yourself hydrated.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep.
- Try to stay away from stress, tension and anxiety by practising yoga and meditation.
Following these simple habits in your life can lead to you maintaining a healthy scalp for better hair growth.
Effective Home Remedies And Tips For Dandruff Control
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