Dandruff is a chronic yet harmless condition when your scalp becomes either dry or greasy and builds up white flakes of dead skin that appear in your hair or fall on the shoulders. People often mistake dandruff as being produced by a flaky scalp.
Never mind dandruff being harmless; it can be embarrassing for those with it. Dandruff usually starts between the ages of 10 and 20 and affects up to 40% of people over 30.
Causes of Dandruff
Skin cells are formed on your scalp constantly. Therefore, it is a normal process for dead skin cells to shed. With dandruff, these skin cells are discarded much faster than average. Oil from your scalp causes the skin cells to cluster together and materialize as white flakes.
Several things apart from dry skin can also cause dandruff, for example, sensitivity to hair products, and skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis (a skin condition that causes red skin and scaly patches, mainly on your scalp), psoriasis, or eczema (basically means inflammation of the skin).
Another cause of dandruff can be the overgrowth of yeast. This overgrowth can be caused by reasons such as too much oil on the scalp, stress, hormones, or problems with the immune system.
Dandruff – Symptoms and Complications
The symptoms of dandruff are pretty common and known to almost everybody; these include itchy, scaly, or red scalp, as well as white shreds of dead skin in the hair and on the shoulders. Commonly dandruff flakes are present scattered throughout the scalp.
If seborrheic dermatitis (also known as seborrheic eczema) is the cause of dandruff, the symptoms usually appear gradually over time. The scalp becomes greasy or dry and feels itchy. As the skin cells die, they turn into yellowish-colored scales. A bad seborrheic dermatitis may also cause similar symptoms in other body parts. Reddish or yellowish scaling can surface on the hairline, nose, chest, or in and around the ears. Newborn babies with this may get a thick crusty scalp rash known as cradle cap.
The shreds associated with psoriasis look like silver shavings, which may commonly appear on the ears, extremities, palms, and soles of feet.
Dandruff is a condition you can diagnose by yourself, from the symptoms of an itchy, dry, and scaly scalp. A dermatologist or doctor would usually diagnose psoriasis or seborrhea dermatitis based on the appearance of the skin. Seborrheic dermatitis appears as red-looking skin with light, greasy, yellow scales and plaques with blurred margins, whereas psoriasis is mainly associated with scaly, silver-colored well-defined plaques.
Why should you shampoo every day?
Usually, dermatologists suggest shampooing your hair daily because you might end up stripping your scalp and hair of its natural oils and cause more irritation. Dandruff creates the opposite problem. If you don’t shampoo enough, you will only make dandruff worse; it causes additional oil and dead skin cells to gather on your scalp, which the yeast continues to feed upon. To remove dandruff from your scalp, you must clear out all the unnecessary junk, which a regular shampoo would fail to do. Search for a medicated dandruff shampoo; these are readily available in medical stores and online sites; look out for one that contains selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, or zinc. If your hair is rough, and you are worried that daily shampooing could make it more brittle, you could use an anti-dandruff conditioner too.
Dandruff that can’t be cured can be controlled.
Sadly, if you are prone to dandruff, it’s most likely an issue that will continue to occur. Still, it would help if you did not wait for flakes to appear before treating them; you can take defensive action to avoid sudden flare-ups. Foods high in trans and saturated fats cause your sebaceous glands to produce more oil, making dandruff worse. You can start by avoiding these fats and include fruits and vegetables that contain B vitamins and zinc in your diet. This will help keep the scraps of dandruff at bay. Consider taking a probiotic; any of a group of essential bacteria found in yogurt can be taken as a supplement to withstand the overgrowth of yeast.
Your Scalp Is Not The Only Place Where You Can Get Dandruff
These embarrassing oily flakes are not restricted only to your scalp. It is common for men and women to discover dandruff flakes in their eyebrows, around their ears, and sometimes even along the sides of their noses. They can manifest anywhere an excess of oil is produced. Mainly such scaly patches arise in addition to a flaky scalp. If you tend to have these extra skin-shedding spots, you can gently use your dandruff shampoo to clean them when you shampoo your hair.
Remedies to Treat Dandruff at Home
Apple Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar Rinse
Rinsing your hair with either Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) or white vinegar can effectively treat dandruff. ACV addresses the root of your dandruff problem. Dandruff results from the skin cells maturing and dying too fast, accumulating and causing irritation. The acidity of apple cider vinegar changes the pH of your scalp, making it difficult for yeast to grow. Vinegar removes the gathered unwanted skin that flakes off as dandruff. It will neither clog your pores nor cause more damage. By now, we know that an overgrowth of yeast or fungus can also cause dandruff, and vinegar possesses antifungal properties. So giving your hair a final rinse (after shampooing) with apple cider vinegar can be beneficial in getting rid of dandruff.
Things you’ll need to make the rinse
1 cup warm water (or half a cup, depending on the length of your hair)
1 cup ACV or white vinegar (or half a cup, depending upon the size of your hair)
A bowl or a cup
Now, Mix the vinegar and warm water in a bowl. Pour the mix over your hair and scalp, scrub it carefully for 4 to 5 minutes, and then rinse it thoroughly with plain water. Wait about 8 to 10 hours before retaking a regular shower. Repeat this once each week or once in two weeks, depending on your need.
Use Tea Tree Oil To Fend Off Dandruff
An excess of oil is mostly the root cause of dandruff, but some essential oils can help keep it under control. A study revealed that shampoos with as less as 5 percent tea tree oil can significantly improve the severity of dandruff. So you can add a couple of drops of tea tree oil to your regular shampoo as you wash typically.
The oil extracted from the tea tree leaves has antifungal properties, providing an overall specificity to your skin, especially when it is irritably itchy or sore. Ensure you don’t ingest tea tree oil; it is only for topical use.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera gel may be used more commonly for its skin benefits or to help minor burns; it can also help relieve dandruff. It works because its components inhibit the process of skin cell growth. Simply put, it means that the stuff that makes up Aloe Vera gel slows down the increased growth of the cells, and since dandruff is often caused by cells growing and dying rapidly, aloe vera gel can help restore them to normalcy.
You don’t need many things, just a proper amount of Aloe Vera gel to spread it all around your scalp freely. Apply the gel to your scalp and let it stay for 15 to 20 minutes, then shampoo it off.
Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda is a proven and highly recommended remedy for eliminating dandruff. The best thing about it is that it lies somewhere around your kitchen. Using baking soda on your scalp and hair will help clear out dandruff and give you a clean scalp. The absorbing quality of baking soda helps remove excess oil, dead cells, and dirt from your scalp. It assists in clearing out excessive sebum from your scalp without causing your hair to dry. Baking soda also acts as a natural cleansing agent. It clears your scalp of dead cells and oils and maintains its natural moisture content. The fine grain-like texture of baking soda gently scrubs, exfoliating dead cells present on your scalp. Lastly, baking soda acts like a dry shampoo by eliminating oil and dirt from your hair and scalp, leaving hair shiny and soft.