Dandruff: what is it and how can you treat it?

Of the people who suffer from scalp problems, dandruff is the most common form. Dandruff is characterized by scaling on the scalp and is not contagious. Dandruff can be an annoying and sometimes embarrassing problem because it causes the skin to flake, making it easy to see the flakes on the hair, shoulders and clothing. The flakes are especially visible on dark clothing. Dandruff is also accompanied by an itchy scalp which can cause a lot of irritation. It is important to scratch as little as possible to prevent inflammation of the scalp.

What causes dandruff?

Dandruff is often seen as a mild form of Seborrhic eczema. The cause of dandruff is therefore the same as that of Seborrhic eczema. The only difference is that with Seborroic eczema the flakes are more greasy, while with dandruff the flake are mostly dry. Most of the times you will have less complaints with dandruff because the symptoms are less severe. Just as with Seborroic eczema a yeast-like fungus causes the scalp to flake. However, this is often not the only cause.

Some people who suffer from dandruff get this because the scalp renews itself faster than other people. With a healthy scalp, the skin is constantly renewed, the cells in the skin divide and form a new skin layer. The old cells die and fall off. The flakes that result from this are not visible to the naked eye. In people with dandruff, the cells of the skin divide twice as fast. These stick together and then form flakes that are visible. Just like Psoriasis , this causes too many skin flakes to come off. However, with dandruff this does not form a build-up of skin cells or inflammation, as is the case with Psoriasis.

How can I treat drandruff?

There are various products available to treat dandruff. Some products are aimed at combating yeasts and others at inhibiting the inflammation of the skin and therefore the itching. The product that is most used by consumers is an anti-dandruff shampoo. When buying an anti-dandruff shampoo, check the ingredient deck if the product contains one of the following ingredients: climbazole, zinc pyrithione or salicylic acid.

When treating dandruff, it is important to massage the shampoo onto the entire scalp and then allow it to absorb for two to three minutes. This allows the active ingredients in the shampoo to soak the flakes and reduce the inflammation of the scalp. In addition to using a shampoo, it is also important to neutralize the acidity (pH value) of the scalp with a hair and scalp conditioner.