Dandruff is a skin condition, affecting mainly the scalp, in which there is a lot of shedding of the top layer of the skin in the form of flakes along with itching of the scalp. The flakes are fragments of the top layer of the skin.
Why does it happen?
The exact cause of dandruff is not clear. It might be due to a mild fungal infection and might run in families. It tends to get aggravated in people with an oily scalp and also in winter. Stress can also be a trigger.
What does it look like?
An itchy scalp and silvery flakes are typical of dandruff.
How is it treated?
Your doctor will examine your scalp and might even examine a skin scraping under the microscope to diagnose dandruff. The doctor might prescribe the use of a medicated shampoo which contains ingredients like ketoconazole which is an antifungal medicine. Other ingredients include zinc pyrithione, which slows down the fungal growth, and selenium disulfide, which reduces the oiliness of the scalp. These shampoos are meant to be used once or twice a week, left on the scalp for a few minutes and washed off. Once the condition is controlled, some form of maintenance treatment might be needed by shampooing a few times a month with an anti-dandruff shampoo.
Dos and Don’ts
- Regular shampooing helps to keep the scalp clean and prevent excess oiliness.
- Avoid sharing towels and combs.
- Have a well-balanced diet with fresh fruits, nuts and green leafy vegetables as these provide elements essential for healthy skin and hair, like zinc, B vitamins and healthy fats.
- Meditation and yoga help to keep stress under control.
- Avoid scratching your scalp as this can lead to infection of the area.
- Can dandruff cause baldness?
Dandruff per se does not cause hair fall, but an itchy and irritated scalp can result in temporary hair fall due to scratching.
- Can dandruff be cured with hot baths?
No, hot baths can only help in controlling scalp oiliness. A medicated ant-dandruff shampoo will be needed to keep the dandruff under control.
- Is dandruff contagious?
Since a fungal infection plays a role in causing dandruff, it can spread by sharing items of personal hygiene.
- Is dandruff caused due to dry skin?
Dandruff has no relation with dry skin. In fact, an oily scalp can increase the chances of dandruff.
Though dandruff can be an irritating and, sometimes, socially embarrassing condition, it is easily manageable with the correct treatment.
We strongly recommend that you consult your doctor before starting any treatment regime.
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