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Dandruff – Facts, Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

May 30, 2018

young woman with hair covering her face

Dandruff is harmless. It’s not a serious health issue. However, when it occurs, it not only looks ugly, but it shows that there is something lacking in your health. Isn’t it enough for you to pay it the attention it deserves? Earth’s Wisdom therefore wants to share some dandruff facts that can help you overcome this itchy, flaky skin condition.

A Few Facts about Dandruff

As mentioned earlier, dandruff is a harmless condition. It’s chronic and arises when your scalp becomes either dry or greasy and thus forms white flakes of dead skin that are seen in the hair or fall on shoulders and back.

Although dandruff doesn’t give rise to any serious condition, it’s quite embarrassing because it shows that you are not taking proper care of yourself.

Dandruff typically begins anytime between 10 and 20 years of age and in 40% of people it continues even after the age of 30.


Skin of scalp constantly produces new cells and then dead skin cells are shed. This is a normal process. However, sometimes with dandruff these cells shed faster than normal. The skin oil from the scalp makes the skin cells to cluster together which are seen as white flakes.

The causes of dandruff can be many including dry skin, skin conditions like eczema or seborrheic dermatitis or sensitivity towards hair products.

One of the causes may even be the overgrowth of a fungus which appears like yeast. Causes of this overgrowth can be hormones, stress, excessive oil in the scalp or immune system problems.


Dandruff is easy to identify with the white flakes of dead skin cells in the head and falling on back and shoulders. These are typically scattered across the scalp. The scalp becomes itchy, scaly or red.

If the dandruff is caused due to seborrheic dermatitis, symptoms occur gradually. Scalp becomes greasy or dry, feels itchy and is red. Scaling of scalp is yellowish. If the condition worsens, symptoms are seen in other body parts too. Reddish or yellowish scales can occur on the hairline, on the chest and nose, and in and around ears. Newborn babies too can be affected with this condition and may get a yellowish, crusty rash on the head, known as cradle cap. But fortunately cradle cap often vanishes without any treatment within the first year of the infant’s life.

Prevention and Treatment

Dandruff can be managed with proper treatment. Firstly, start using a non-medicated shampoo. Massage the scalp firmly and then rinse thoroughly. Frequent shampooing will remove flakes, prevent dead skin cell buildup and reduce oiliness.

If this doesn’t help, special antidandruff shampoos often help. Some of these shampoos have to be applied daily, while others are to be used only once or twice in a week.

When you buy a shampoo on your own (without the recommendation of a doctor or beautician), look for ingredients like selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, sulfur, salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione or coal tar. You may have to try some products before finding the one that really works for you.

If these preparations don’t work even after 2 weeks or if your condition worsens, you may have to visit your doctor who may recommend you a corticosteroid lotion. You should not use corticosteroids for very long unless your doctor recommends it. There is a danger of thinning out of skin with their use and there are other side effects too.

Remember to shampoo frequently, lessen stress levels, reduce or stop using hair products like sprays and gels, and eat a healthy diet to keep your scalp free from dandruff. If you keep yourself healthy with right diet, exercise, meditation and proper hygiene, you can prevent dandruff or get rid of it if you already have it.



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