- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
What is dandruff? How to treat dandruff?
Dandruff is a condition that affects the scalp. It is characterized by the flaking of dead skin cells that are white or gray in color. Dandruff can be found sticking to the scalp or as loose white powder scattered throughout the scalp and hair strands.
Dandruff can be controlled and cured with proper treatment, but this condition can recur again.
What is Dandruff?
Dandruff is flakes of dead skin cells that are white or gray in color. Dandruff can be found on the scalp in clumps, or it can be seen scattered on the scalp and in hair strands in a powdery form.
The cells of the scalp keep multiplying forming new skin cells when this happens the old dead skin cells rise to the surface and is pushed out of the scalp. This is a natural process through which the scalp constantly renews itself.
When the rate at which the cells multiply increases, the dead skin cells are shed at a rapid rate and are visible as white or gray flakes of dandruff. When excess dandruff falls on the clothes that you wear or seen on your hair, it becomes an embarrassing situation.
Dandruff becomes clearly visible when you wear dark colored clothes. Dandruff is nothing to worry about, with proper treatment and care dandruff can be controlled.
What causes Dandruff?
Malassezia is a yeast-like fungus that lives on the scalp and does not affect the scalp in any way but for some people this fungus irritates the scalp causing the formation of dandruff.
Dandruff can also be due to the following reasons -
- skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis
- diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's
- extreme changes in weather conditions
- exposing scalp to harsh heat or chemical treatments
- extremely dry skin conditions
- not washing hair regularly
- lack of zinc mineral in your body
- hormonal imbalance
Certain ingredients in hair care products can irritate the scalp and result in the formation of dandruff. Using strong shampoos that totally dry out the scalp can also lead to dandruff.
How to treat Dandruff
Dandruff can be treated by using anti-dandruff shampoos. If anti-dandruff shampoos do not work, you can use medicated anti-dandruff shampoos that you can buy over the counter.
Use the medicated anti-dandruff shampoo every day till the condition is under control.
How to wash your hair with anti-dandruff shampoo?
- wet your scalp thoroughly
- massage the anti-dandruff shampoo gently on the scalp
- leave on for about five minutes or as specified in the instruction
- wash off thoroughly
- repeat once again
- use a gentle conditioner after using an anti-dandruff shampoo.
Follow the given instructions for the treatment to be effective -
Scratching your scalp with your nails or with a comb to get rid of flakes of dandruff on the scalp will worsen the condition further. When you scratch or use a comb on your scalp, the cells can rupture giving way to further infection of your scalp.
Make sure that you include food from which your body can obtain zinc mineral that is vital to control dandruff.
Zinc can be obtained from pork, beef, poultry, oysters and crab meat. Vegetarians can get zinc from milk, chickpeas, cheddar cheese, beans, almonds, and peanuts.
Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoos to Treat Dandruff
There are many types of medicated anti-dandruff shampoos to treat dandruff.
The following are medicated anti-dandruff shampoos that help to treat this condition -
1. Tar based anti-dandruff shampoos have coal tar as one of their ingredients. Coal tar is a by-product that is produced in the process of manufacturing coal. It helps to treat dandruff by slowing down the flaking of skin cells on the scalp.
2. Anti-dandruff Shampoos containing salicylic acid help to get rid of the flakes of dandruff but leave the scalp extremely dry. Using a conditioner helps to ease the dryness of the scalp.
3. Selenium sulfide anti-dandruff shampoos help to slow down the flaking of skin cells and controls the growth of the Malassezia fungus. Remember that these shampoos can discolor blond, gray or chemically treated hair.
4. Selenium sulfide anti-dandruff shampoos kill any infection on the scalp and control the flaking of dead skin cells. These anti-dandruff shampoos leave a strong odor in the hair. Make sure to rinse the shampoo thoroughly out your hair when you use selenium sulfide shampoos.
5. Ketoconazole anti-dandruff shampoos are broad spectrum anti-fungal agents that effectively treat and control dandruff.
Home Remedies to Treat Dandruff
Home remedies help to cure dandruff the natural way. There are many ingredients that you use for cooking that also help to clear dandruff from your scalp.
Here are some of the home remedies that you can prepare and use to control dandruff -
Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix half cup warm water and half cup Apple Cider Vinegar. Massage the mixture into your scalp using your fingers but do not scratch with your nails. Apple Cider Vinegar kills infection on the scalp and controls dandruff.
Yogurt and Fenugreek Seeds
A combination of yogurt and fenugreek seeds help to control and treat dandruff. Yogurt soothes the scalp and reduces the flaking of the scalp. Fenugreek seeds exfoliate and remove dead skin cells from the scalp. It also helps to kill fungal infection on the scalp.
Soak 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in warm water overnight. Grind the fenugreek seeds to a fine paste. Mix one cup of curd with the ground fenugreek paste. Mix well and massage it into the scalp. Leave the mixture on the scalp for about fifteen minutes and then wash off.
Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel has anti-fungal properties and helps to get rid of any fungal infection. It also helps to sooth and heal the infected skin. Massage the gel into the scalp and leave it on for fifteen minutes and then wash off.
Neem and Lemon
Neem leaves with lemon juice helps to get rid of dandruff effectively. Make a paste of six big Neem leaves. Add two tablespoons of lemon juice to this paste and mix well. Massage your scalp with this paste and leave on for about fifteen minutes and then wash off. Neem along with lemon kills fungal infection on the scalp and controls the excessive production of dead skin cells.
Gooseberry is also known as Amla. Mix three tablespoons of gooseberry powder with water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the scalp and leave it on your scalp for about half an hour and then wash off. Gooseberry kills infection on scalp, controls flaking of dead skin cells and acts as a conditioner.
Separate the egg whites of two eggs. Squeeze a small lemon and mix the juice with the egg whites. Apply on scalp and massage gently. Leave it on for half an hour and then wash off to control and treat dandruff.
Coconut Oil with Camphor
Heat three tablespoons of coconut oil in a pan. When the oil is heated, add a small piece of camphor to the oil. Massage the oil into the scalp, leave it on for half an hour and then wash off.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree oil has anti-fungal properties and helps to kill infection on the scalp. It helps to exfoliate the scalp and get rid of the dead skin cells. Soak a cotton ball in Tea Tree oil and rub on the affected areas. Wait for five minutes before washing off.
Do a patch test to find out if you are allergic to any of the ingredients that you are going to apply to your scalp. If you already know that you are allergic to any of the ingredients mentioned above do not use them on your scalp.
Dandruff in a Glance
- dandruff is a condition of the scalp characterized by flaking of dead skin cells
- the flakes are white or gray in color
- dandruff can be treated with over the counter medicated shampoos
- home remedies can also get rid of dandruff
- dandruff is different from seborrheic dermatitis
- contact your doctor if the condition worsens
- dandruff can be cured but can recur again
Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis - The Difference
Dandruff is also referred to as Seborrheic dermatitis by some, but they are not one and the same skin conditions.
Dandruff is confined to the scalp and is gray or white in color. It may be found as patches or found scattered throughout the scalp and in hair strands.
In Seborrheic dermatitis, the white flakes turn yellow and greasy in texture. The flakes can build up as raised patches on the scalp. The scalp can also become inflamed and turn into red patches. Seborrheic dermatitis can spread beyond the scalp and infect the forehead, the area behind the ears, nose and chest.
Dandruff is a condition of the scalp that can be treated by using home remedies or by using medicated shampoos. If dandruff persists or increases contact your doctor for further advice.