Author: James Anderson

The Truth About Dandruff

what is dandrugg

When babies have seborrheic dermatitis, it’s called cradle cap. You may find it on the skin of a baby’s scalp, eyelids, nose, and groin area. Cradle cap normally clears up on its own by the time the baby is 8 to 12 months old. Try putting mineral or vegetable oil on the baby’s scalp for 10 minutes, then washing with a mild baby shampoo. Talk to your health care provider if it doesn’t go away.

Your dermatologist may prescribe stronger dandruff shampoo or medication. Mild dandruff can usually be treated with a gentle shampoo. Shampooing daily can reduce the oil on the scalp and prevent the buildup of dead skin cells.

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  2. These medicated shampoos are often recommended for daily use when they are first started.
  3. Dandruff occurs, essentially, when small bits of dry skin are shed from the scalp.

People with serious medical problems such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and HIV are prone to developing dandruff. And, for unclear reasons, people recovering from a stroke, heart attack, or head injury are also more likely to have dandruff. If you’ve been using a dandruff shampoo for several weeks but still have dandruff, it may be time to see a doctor. You should also see a doctor if your scalp is swollen or red, if your hair is falling out, or if you have a red, scaly rash on other parts of your body. You may need prescription-strength dandruff shampoo, an antifungal product, or a steroid cream for your scalp or other parts of your body. Dandruff doesn’t mean you have dirty hair, but the way you style your hair or the products you use might cause a flaky scalp.

What Causes Dandruff?

The signs and symptoms may be more severe if you’re stressed, and they tend to flare in cold, dry seasons. Read and follow the directions on each bottle of shampoo you try. Some products need to be left on for a few minutes, while others need to be rinsed off quickly. This kind of shampoo can discolor light hair and make your scalp more sensitive to the sun. If you use it, make sure you take extra precautions when you’re exposed to sunlight. If you want to diminish a noticeable scar, know these 10 things before having laser treatment.

what is dandrugg

For most individuals, these flakes of skin are too small to be visible. However, certain conditions cause cell turnover to be unusually rapid, especially in the scalp. It is hypothesized that for people with dandruff, skin cells may mature and be shed in two to seven days, as opposed to around a month in people without dandruff. The result is that dead skin cells are shed in large, oily clumps, which appear as white or grayish flakes on the scalp, skin and clothes.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Dandruff is a very common skin condition, involving skin flakes, itching, and mild redness of the scalp. It is estimated that dandruff—along with a more severe skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis (SD)—affects 50% of the adult population in the United States. Sometimes what seems like dandruff can be an entirely different condition. Head lice are itchy and lay eggs that look like dandruff, but they’re harder to shake off or brush out. Or your scalp could be itching from ringworm, a fungus that causes dandruff-like flakes. With ringworm, you might also have round patches of hair loss and blistered, scaly areas on your scalp.

Using the pads of your fingers, gently rub the shampoo into your scalp. Leave the shampoo on your head for 5 minutes — or as directed — before you rinse. If you prefer the smell of your normal shampoo and conditioner, you can use those afterward. As your dandruff gets better, you may not need to use dandruff shampoo as often. But, it can also happen from some hair products that you might be using on your scalp that may be stripping your scalp of its natural oils.

Dandruff Symptoms

Treatments like dandruff shampoo typically loosen flakes or target fungal overgrowth. For most people, dandruff does not require medical attention. If your dandruff doesn’t go away after following these tips, or if you develop severe dandruff, partner with a board-certified dermatologist. “Sometimes what you think is dandruff is simply product debris, like hair gel or hair spray,” says McMichael.

Skin cells that grow and die off too fast are the cause of dandruff, but doctors don’t know why this happens. Some research supports these natural dandruff treatments, but there’s no proof they work consistently. The good news is that many cases of dandruff can be treated effectively with over-the-counter (OTC) shampoos and other lifestyle measures. Some people may be more predisposed to dandruff than others for reasons that are unknown. However, it’s known that men develop dandruff more frequently than women.

A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating the skin, hair, and nails. Salicylic acid is an approved anti-dandruff active as per the US FDA OTC drug monograph and also used in many cosmetic anti-dandruff shampoos globally. Skin cells that grow and die off too fast are the problem. A very common fungus called malassezia may contribute to dandruff. This fungus lives on the scalp of most healthy adults without causing any problems.

Just make sure to protect your skin, including any exposed scalp, by wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher. Use an anti-dandruff shampoo for a minimum of 2 to 3 weeks. If you don’t experience an improvement, switch to a product that has a different active ingredient. You may have to try two or three products before contacting a specialist.

You may need to try more than one product to find the routine that works for you. And you’ll likely need repeated or long-term treatment. Shampoos for dandruff can be medicated (which requires a prescription to purchase) or available over the counter.

Learn more about the types, symptoms, causes, and treatment of dandruff. The AAD is the largest dermatology group in the United States and its website is full of resources, tips, and more. Shampoos use a combination of special ingredients to control dandruff. Oiling your scalp “Certain oils applied to the scalp can cover the scale, but worsen the flaking and itching response,” notes McMichael. Shampooing habits “For those who are already at risk for dandruff, washing infrequently can worsen the condition,” says Dr. McMichael.