We’ve all seen it—little white flakes falling off the scalp and landing on your shoulders or clothes. Dandruff is a common problem that can be embarrassing and itchy. Many people don’t think of dandruff as a skincare issue, but a Loveland skin clinic is an excellent resource for dandruff questions and solutions. Here are some things you need to know about dandruff.
What is Dandruff?
Dandruff is dry, white skin that flakes off the scalp. The technical medical term is “seborrheic dermatitis.” It typically occurs in dry skin or areas with lots of oil glands that produce too many skin cells. As more skin cells are produced, the old cells flake off and create dandruff. Those areas of the skin may appear dry, but that dryness is typically related to an overproduction of oil, which when combined with yeast and an overproduction of skin cells, leads to dandruff. Most dandruff occurs on the scalp, but it can also be found on eyelashes, eyebrows, and eyelids, as well as men’s beards.
The severity of dandruff varies for each person, ranging from occasional white flakes and itchiness in certain areas to very severe cases with large areas of redness and itchiness on the entire scalp. Although dandruff is itchy, scratching it will actually make it worse because it helps the skin fall off more easily, which leads to the production of more skin cells.
What Causes Dandruff?
Many people connect dandruff to how often a person washes their hair or if their hair is oily or greasy, but dandruff really has more to do with the skin on the scalp than the hair itself. There hasn’t been a definite cause for dandruff aside from the combination of oil, yeast, and excess skin cells. There is a possible link with a common fungus called malassezia, which produces yeast that irritates the skin and causes an increase on skin cell production.
Dandruff is fairly common and affects roughly 20% of people. It isn’t limited to a certain race, gender, or age. Dandruff gets worse for many people during cold, dry months or when they are sick or stressed. This could affect their hormones, which leads to more irritated skin.
Is Dandruff Harmful?
Dandruff is harmless, and only affects the scalp for most people. It isn’t a condition that affects other parts of your body, although it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing.
How Is Dandruff Treated?
Most cases of dandruff can be controlled fairly easily. There isn’t a way to get rid of it forever, but there are numerous options of how to treat dandruff when it flares up. Start by washing your hair daily and scrubbing your scalp for longer. Shampoo and conditioner that is specifically formulated to fight dandruff can help control the flakey skin and add moisture to the scalp, but normal shampoo can still be effective in fighting less severe cases. A sensitive shampoo can help if the itchiness becomes unbearable.
Stop using hair styling products like mousse or gel that can add buildup to the scalp. These products add extra layers to the oil glands and skin cells and create buildup. Exercising can also help dandruff because it gets the blood pumping through your body, which can lead to healthier hair. Be sure to wash your hair soon after exercising because sweat can build up and irritate the scalp.
For severe cases or dandruff that just won’t go away, consult a dermatologist for a more intense treatment plan. If dandruff appears in your eyebrows or beard, look for an anti-fungal lotion as a topical treatment.
Dandruff is a common condition that generally isn’t connected to other health issues. However, it can be uncomfortable and itchy and shouldn’t be ignored. At-home remedies can treat most cases, but extreme dandruff or cases that don’t improve over time are best treated by a dermatologist. With their help, you can have a healthy scalp without little flakes on your shoulders.