The scalp is in a constant cycle of death and renewal. Therefore, everybody has some dead skin cells on his scalp. For as long as all is well, these scales are tiny and go unnoticed. In men more often than in women, there are however those times when the natural rhythm is upset and the scaling is excessive. The dead outer cells on the scalp then clump together and fall out of the hair in large visible scales. Luckily, there are plenty of weapons against the unsightly flakes like dandruff remedies and TLC. Soon there will be order on your scalp again
A fungus formerly known as Pityrosporon ovale and now identified as Malassezia furfur contributes to dandruff. This fungus regularly resides on the human scalp in small numbers without being a nuisance. However, if the conditions are right for the fungus it will multiply too fast and make trouble by speeding up the normal shedding of skin cells on the head. This happens for example when the scalp is oily. As a result we shed large yellowish and usually oily skin flakes. Fungi and bacteria love to make those oily flakes their home where they are surrounded by food. This in turn leads to infections, inflamed skin and itching of the scalp.
Dandruff may also occur under dry scalp conditions and may be triggered by the de-moisturizing effects of excessive blow-dryer heat, dry heated air in winter or very hot showers.
Dandruff shampoos are quite effective at clearing up dandruff for the duration. The tried and proven ingredients in these shampoos are either Octopirox or zinc pyrithione, which both stop the excessive flaking by removing the fungus that causes it. Using these shampoos until the flaking from your scalp stops is therefore the first line of defence against dandruff. For best results allow the shampoo to work on your scalp for two minutes. By the way, washing your hair daily does not worsen the dandruff problem because shampooing also removes the dandruff flakes.
In case your dandruff condition defies all your efforts of stopping it with special shampoos and TLC, you should visit your dermatologist to find out what causes the dandruff. Your dermatologist will check for skin diseases as the possible cause for the persistent dandruff. Such skin diseases are for example psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (eczema) or seborrhoea. Of course, these skin diseases call for the proper medical treatments.
- While suffering from dandruff, you should avoid irritating your scalp. Very hot showers and blow-dryers, swimming in chlorinated water or rough brushing would definitely aggravate dandruff
- Do not scratch your scalp no matter how much you may be tempted by the persistent itch. Shampoos or hair tonics with the active ingredient Polidocanol suppress the itching. Pure Aloe vera gel has a cooling effect and may also reduce the itch without adding fat to the scalp