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Dandruff is a harmless, chronic condition that occurs when the scalp becomes dry or greasy and produces white flakes of dead skin that appear in the hair or on the shoulders. People most often think of dandruff as anything that produces a flaky scalp.
Although it is harmless, dandruff can be embarrassing for those who have it. Dandruff usually starts between the ages of 10 and 20 and affects up to 40% of people over the age of 30.
Dandruff doesn’t come just from the scalp being dry. Instead, it comes from an overreaction to yeast like fungus called malassezia commonly found on the skin, which leads to an overproduction of oils. This causes irritation, and the creation of oily, waxy flakes. Dandruff could also be caused by eczema or psoriasis.
Some causes of dandruff
1) Seborrheic dermatitis (irritated, oily skin)
People with irritated, oily skin are very prone to dandruff. It affects many areas of the skin, including the backs of the ears, the breastbone, eyebrows, and the sides of the nose. The scalp can become irritated and produce extra skin cells. These extra skin cells die and fall off; they mix with the oil from the hair and scalp and turn into what we see as dandruff.
2) Not enough hair brushing
People who do not comb or brush their hair regularly have a slightly higher risk of having dandruff. This is because they are not aiding the shedding of skin that combing or brushing provides.
People who are sensitive to yeast have a slightly higher risk of having dandruff, so it is logical to assume that yeast may play a part.
4) Dry skin
People with dry skin tend to get dandruff more often. Winter cold air, combined with overheated rooms is a common cause of itchy, flaking skin. People with dandruff caused by dry skin tend to have small flakes of dandruff; the flakes are not oily.
5) Not shampooing often enough
If you don’t regularly wash your hair, oils and skin cells from your scalp can build up, causing dandruff.
6) Certain skin conditions
People with psoriasis, eczema, and some other skin disorders tend to get dandruff more frequently than other people.
7) Reaction to hair or skin care products
Some people react to certain hair care products with a red, itchy, scaling scalp. Many experts say that shampooing too often may cause dandruff as it can irritate the scalp.
Symptoms of Dandruff
1. Itchy scalp
The symptoms of dandruff include white flakes of dead skin in the hair and on the shoulders, as well as an itchy, red, or scaly scalp. Itching is the most common symptom of dandruff. If you have dandruff on scalp, itching might be a regular symptom you would experience. Itching is caused due to the loose visible flakes.
2. Hair fall
Hair fall is another prime symptoms of dandruff in hair. Nearly 20 out of every 50 women suffer from mechanical hair fall which is caused by the intense itching and scratching movements. Dandruff is caused by intense drying up of the scalp, and the constant urge to itch can lead to hair fall due to friction. Hair fall is a common experience when you are suffering with this scalp problem.
3. Dry and Dull Hair
Dandruff tends to extract the existing oil from the scalp, leaving the hair dry and lifeless. Your hair may appear dull and unmanageable even after proper brushing.
4. Acne and Pimples
People who have dandruff are more likely to have pimples on their face especially in the forehead area. Dandruff causes flaky skin on the scalp and these dry skin flakes can clog the pores on the face and body leading to pimples. The pimples caused by dandruff can be seen even in people more than 20 years of age. The signs and symptoms of pimples due to dandruff include pimples mainly on the forehead and hairline areas, dry facial skin, and dandruff on eyebrows.
5. Constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Constipation can cause dandruff and many other skin ailments. Some studies have shown that the causes of dandruff are an imbalanced diet, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. It is a common experience felt by many people having dandruff.
Common treatments for dandruff
Some home based treatments for common types of dandruff are listed here.
Castor pack for dandruff free scalp
Mix egg, 3 tsps of castor oil and 1 tsp of glycerine well. Apply it on hair layer by layer including the scalp and cover it with shower cap. Let this be for 20 minutes. Remove the cap and wait for few minutes and wash your hair. Do it regularly for best results once every 10 days.
Neem and Fenugreek Seeds Paste
Fenugreek seeds like the neem leaf have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, as well as a cooling and soothing effect. Soak about 2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds for 2-3 hours in water, and make it into a paste along with a bunch of neem leaves. Use this paste on your scalp and leave in for an hour, after which wash your hair thoroughly. This mixture is considered very beneficial for the treatment of dandruff.