Dandruff: Causes and Symptoms
Dandruff is a common problem that occurs when the scalp becomes itchy and flaky. It is caused by a fungus called Malassezia globosa which has the tendency to overgrow on the scalp. Various other factors contribute to dandruff such as genetics, water hardness, stress and hormonal changes.
Here are a few dandruff symptoms:
- Itchy scalp that is red and irritated
- White-coloured flakes on the scalp
- Sensitive scalp that is easily irritated by various other substances such as sweat, shampoo or other products
Dandruff can be treated by a dermatologist who will first prescribe a dandruff shampoo based on other symptoms and conditions of the scalp.
The patient will be asked to clarify the other symptoms and conditions before coming up with a plan.
The dermatologist may also request a scalp biopsy to identify the cause of dandruff. This test will help determine if it is caused due to an underlying medical condition.
Well, there are many causes for dandruff. There can be a fungal overgrowth, bacterial overgrowth which causes the flakes when not treated. It also can be caused by actual dryness in the scalp that causes flakes to fall out. A common misconception is that dandruff is not a disease but rather a skin condition. It often appears with conditions such as psoriasis and eczema which can cause redness, dryness and flaking of skin.
6 Myths About Dandruff You Need to Stop Believing
There are many dandruff-myths that exist among young adults. So we’ve done some myth-busting to help you better understand your dandruff:
- Dandruff is contagious
Dandruff is not a contagious disease. If there is severe itching, we highly recommend consulting a dermatologist to rule out the other conditions such as dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis.
- Dandruff does not affect hair growth
The link between dandruff and hair loss is fully established yet but some experts think that dandruff may interfere with the normal hair shedding cycle. As itching impulses are triggered when you have dandruff, it makes sense to say that it can disrupt your already fragile hair. So, if you are already dealing with some hair loss issues, it is important to manage your dandruff effectively and quickly to prevent further hair loss.
- Summer is the season of dandruff
There is no real seasonality to dandruff. It varies from person to person and there are several other causes. People usually cut down on shampooing due to cold temperatures, which can also make the buildup of products and white flakes in the scalp worse. Other people find hot, humid weather is triggering their dandruff issues. Well, there are people who deal with dandruff all round the year.
- All flakes are a sign of dandruff
There are many different types of scalp issues that can cause flakes like psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, etc. So, only a proper diagnosis can reveal the cause of your flakes. While many people get confused between dandruff and psoriasis, it is necessary to understand that both the issues are different from each other and flakes are not the sign of dandruff only.
- Only a dry scalp experiences dandruff issues
It is true that dry skin flakes are often mistaken for dandruff flakes due to their similar appearance, but the truth is, an oily scalp is more prone to dandruff because of excess oil production in the scalp, which becomes a suitable place for dandruff-causing fungus to sustain. This causes skin cells to shed faster than normal and hence results in dandruff flakes.
- Dandruff is hereditary
Many scalp and hair conditions like premature greying and baldness are caused by genetics but dandruff is not a genetic condition. Dandruff is purely caused due to the yeast-like fungus Malassezia, which thrives on skin cells and sheds them onto the skin.
Home Remedies to Treat Dandruff
Dandruff is a very common ailment that affects millions of people across the world. While there are numerous over-the-counter conditioners and shampoos available in the market, one must also pay attention to some home remedies to get rid of dandruff. Hair Care products containing tea tree oil, neem oil and various other essential oils are some of the best ways to get rid of dandruff.
1) Resolve to drink adequate water daily.
2) Massage your scalp with anti-dandruff hair oils before taking a shower.
3) Mix two teaspoons each of lemon juice, olive oil and mustard oil. Apply the mixture to your scalp and leave it overnight. Wash it off with plain water in the morning. Perform this regularly to get rid of dandruff.
4) To get rid of dandruff, you can also use onion juice. Cut two onions in half and squeeze their juice into a bowl. Add two tablespoons of cane sugar to the juice. Mix well. Apply this mixture to your scalp using your fingertips. You will then need to wrap your head in a towel for 30 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water.
5) Apple cider vinegar is an essential remedy for dandruff as it contains antifungal and antibacterial properties that quickly eliminate dandruff and itchiness on the scalp and hair. There are many other hair masks to beat dandruff that you can try at home.
Most people will experience dandruff at one time or another. It is a common condition affecting the scalp. Excessive shedding of old skin cells is normal. Dandruff occurs when these dead skin cells layer up on the scalp, creating an itchy, flaky residue. In most cases, dandruff is not serious and does not require treatment from a medical professional.