Dandruff is one of the most common ailments affecting the scalp. Dandruff is nothing but excessive scaling of dead cells of the skin of the scalp. As you are aware, the body undergoes constant but gradual renewal every 24 hours. However, when it is a much faster renewal of the skin, it becomes visible in the form of scales, which we call dandruff.

Symptoms of dandruff:

Dandruff, per se, is not a disease but a symptom. Excessive and obvious scaling of skin which is visible in the form of white (grey), the flaky substance is the most common symptom (or sign) of dandruff. It may often be associated with itching, oily skin, irritation or redness of the underlying skin. It tends to be chronic (long-lasting) as well as recurring.

Dandruff could be of two major types: a. Dry (flakes appear silvery and white) b. Moist. (where the flakes appear pale yellowish with an unpleasant smell.)

Causes of dandruff:

Dandruff results from rapid maturing (and hence shedding) of the cells every week, instead of every month.

Excessive oil (sebum) production precipitates dandruff in many people. This overactivity could result from more than one reason. The causes, triggering factors and maintaining factors can be categorized as under:

Internal Causes

Hormonal Imbalance

Poor Health

Allergic (Hypersensitive)

Emotional Stress

Excessive consumption of fat, starch, sugar

Improper Nutrition

Hereditary Predisposition

External Causes

Infection (Pityrosporum Ovale or Malassezia Globosa) (Debatable.)

Excessive use of hair sprays, gels

Improper use of hair: coloring products, hot iron curls

Cold weather, dry indoor heating

Infrequent shampooing of hair or Inadequate rinsing or shampooing of hair

Poor Hygiene

Excessive junk food

Dandruff is often found to be is mostly seasonal. Some patients find it most severe during winter and mildest during summer.

Though Dandruff is called as Dry Scalp, the people with oily scalp tend to suffer the most.

Diagnosis of dandruff:

While concluding the exact diagnosis of dandruff, your doctor often requires ruling out other underlying diseases, which often resemble present like dandruff: They are

  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Fungal infection

Your doctor will be able to evaluate your history and the exact diagnosis could be arrived at by a close clinical examination. No biopsy is required.

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