Dandruff arises due to the accumulation or overproduction of sticky skin cells of the scalp. These sticky skin cells of the scalp either shed as clumps or individual flakes. Recently, many scientific studies have concluded that the cause of dandruff is a fungus known as Malassezia. This is a natural fungus on the scalp of many people but can be found in abundance on people with dandruff. One thing to note however is that not all flakes on the scalp are dandruff. The building up of styling products like hairsprays and gels, and medications like Rogaine also can cause flaking, which can easily be mistaken for dandruff.
How to tell if its dandruff?
The flakes caused by dandruff are white. They also tend to have a thick, heavy texture. Itching occurs all over the scalp and not only in localised areas. Flakes can be found on both the scalp and the hair. Flakes caused by styling products are usually not white and they are usually only found on the hair.
- Treatment products with antifungal agents to directly attack the fungus Malassezia.
- Products with zinc pyrithione can also help by discouraging bacteria.
- Coal tar and selenium sulphide can be used to treat dandruff by slowing the rate in which skin cell on your scalp die and flake off.
- Salicylic acid can help to slough off the excessive skin cells too.
Some people claim that by alternating using the ingredients stated above, they find that they get better results. When shampooing, message the scalp with gentle circular motions, encouraging dead skin cells to lift off the surface. If the shampoo is medicated, try leaving the shampoo on the scalp for 2 to 3 mins to give the medicine time to work. Be careful to rinse away the medicated shampoo well as leaving traces of it on the scalp can cause irritation and increase both itching and flaking. Consult a dermatologist if you see no noticeable results after trying the above recommended treatments. The dermatologist can pinpoint the cause of the flakiness and prescribe a treatment of suitable strength.
Do not use heavy conditioners or oils if you have flaky scalp. Excess oil can increase the presence of the fungus that causes dandruff.
With all these knowledge on dandruffs, we have equipped ourselves well to protect against dandruff from our hair!