What Causes Dandruff And How To Get Rid Of It
If you are currently struggling with dandruff, identify your skin type and the severity of your dandruff before choosing a treatment method.
Dandruff affects half the global adult population, being more prevalent in men than in women. Despite being an incredibly common issue, most people don’t know what causes dandruff or the best ways to deal with it. Contrary to popular assumption, dandruff has nothing to do with your hair or how often you wash it. Instead, it’s the skin cells dying too quickly that pose the real problem.
For most people, certain home remedies or an anti-dandruff shampoo is enough to treat this scalp condition, but for some, dandruff can be a symptom of a medical condition, such as eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, or fungal infection of the scalp. In order to find a treatment plan that best meets your needs, it’s important that you know the various underlying causes of dandruff and available treatment options you can use.
What Causes Dandruff?
If you have dark hair or you like wearing dark colours, you may notice dry, white flakes of skin in your hair or on your shoulders. These oily, white flakes are what we call dandruff. Before you pick any treatment method, it’s best if you know what’s causing your dandruff.
- If your skin tends to get dry really quickly, then contact dermatitis can be a potential cause. It is an itchy rash that occurs when your skin has an allergic reaction to certain substances, shampoos, conditioners or other hair care products in this case. Contact can cause skin peeling, itchiness and flaking i.e. dandruff
- If you have oily skin and you’re experiencing excessive dandruff, then Malassezia globosa, a yeast that feeds on oily scalp, can be a potential cause. Additionally, oily scalps are also at risk for seborrheic dermatitis or seborrhea. It is a chronic skin disease that creates an itchy rash with flaky scales, causing extreme dandruff
- Hormonal changes are another major contributing factor to dandruff since most people first get dandruff in puberty
- Some diseases like Parkinson's disease and a weak immune system caused by HIV can also cause dandruff
- Lastly, poor skin hygiene and not shampooing for long periods of time can also cause skin cells to accumulate, causing dandruff and an itchy scalp. Ideally, you must wash your hair with a gentle shampoo at least twice a week
Depending on the severity of your dandruff, the underlying cause can vary from dry skin and allergic reactions to hair products to skin conditions driven partly by hormonal changes or yeast infection. If you are currently struggling with dandruff, identify your skin type and the severity of your dandruff before choosing a treatment method.
How To Get Rid Of Dandruff?
For most people, certain natural remedies or anti-dandruff shampoos are enough to get rid of their dandruff. If you have mild seborrheic dermatitis or run-of-the-mill dandruff or, you can treat it with an over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoo. These shampoos contain antifungal ingredients like pyrithione zinc, selenium sulphide or ketoconazole which attack the yeast that drives dandruff. As for at-home remedies, here are some popular recommendations:
- Take 10 drops of olive oil, gently rub it into your scalp, and leave it overnight. Then, wash your hair with shampoo the next morning
- Take 3 to 5 teaspoons of coconut oil, gently rub it into your scalp, and leave it for an hour. Then shampoo your hair and wash out
- Take a few teaspoons of baking soda, gently rub it into your scalp, and rinse after a few minutes
- Take 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup of water, mix them well, and apply the solution to your hair. Leave it in for 15 minutes to 1 hour, and then wash your hair with a gentle daily shampoo. Do this twice a week
- Aloe vera is another natural remedy for dandruff caused by dry skin. Before you get into the shower, take some aloe vera, gently rub it into your scalp and leave it in for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing it out
But for more severe cases of dandruff, a consultation with a dermatologist may be required. The skin specialist will then prescribe an appropriate scalp treatment depending on the severity of the issue.
Although dandruff usually doesn’t pose any serious health issues, it can make the scalp really itchy and the constant shedding of oily, white flakes can be embarrassing at times. If you opt for natural remedies, baking soda, olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera and coconut oil are fairly effective. But if these home remedies show little to no results, then you should consult a dermatologist who will prescribe you the appropriate OTC shampoo or scalp treatment best suited for your skin.
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