Dandruff is the excessive shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp. It is normal for skin cells to die and flake off on a regular basis, and this goes unnoticed. In some people however, skin cells die and flake off at an unusually high rate. This is seen in the form of whitish flakes that fall off over the neck and shoulders, and even over the forehead and eyebrows in severe cases.
Dandruff simply does not go down with black clothing, and can be very embarrassing when someone brushes off white flakes of dandruff from the shoulders of your beautiful black dress.
In people with dandruff, the cell turnover, especially on the scalp becomes unusually rapid; and these cells get trapped in the excessive sebum (oil) being produced, forming a white, flaky, powdery, dry substance that keeps powdering off onto your shoulders after combing.
Traditionally, dandruff is regarded as very dry scalp, but in reality, it is a very oily scalp with a large number of trapped dead skin cells forming a crusty whitish layer that peels off.
The specific causes of dandruff are not clearly understood. It may be the result of several factors including an overproduction of sebum, a rapid turn over of cells, and individual susceptibility.
Dandruff is not genetically inherited in the classical sense, but its prevalence is higher in some families.
Malassezia furfur is a fungus which is a normal resident on our skin. In people with dandruff it grows out of control, feeding on the excessive oil secreted by the hair follicles, causing irritation and increased cell turnover.
It is not very clear, whether fungus causes dandruff or the dandruff encourages the growth of the fungus.
It is however definitely present in large numbers in many people with dandruff.
Dandruff does not cause hair loss except in very severe cases, in which there is itching, it is more of a social embarrassment rather than a disease. It is not an infection and it is not contagious.
The treatment is limited to the use of a few well known Shampoos.
Shampoos that contain Zinc Pyrithione can be used in the milder cases, two to three times in a week. Others with Selenium Sulfide and Ketokenazole are very effective in the more severe cases.
It is best to discuss with your doctor before selecting the appropriate shampoo; though there are many other home remedies and off-the-shelf products.
Cultivate the habit of choosing scientifically proven ways to take care of ailments, including acne and dandruff; no matter how overactive your oil wells become, either on your face or on your scalp.
Your hair along with your nails are your best jewelry. You should not use any chemicals on them than is absolutely necessary.
Dr. Shabihul Hassan
+234 806 016 4004