Dandruff is a fairly common scalp condition that affects tens of thousands of men and women each year. While not considered serious or severe, it is difficult to treat and has both medical and cosmetic implications.
Dandruff is easily identified because patients have oily, white flakes of dry or dead skin along their hair. Running your hands through your hair will frequently reveal flakes of dry skin falling from the scalp.
- Scaly flakes of oily, dry skin along the scalp and shoulders.
- Itchy scalp
- Excess oiliness along your hairline.
- Scales along the scalp.
- Redness or inflammation along the scalp.
These symptoms are noticeably worse during the dry fall and winter months. Can affect, adults, teens, children and even newborns – regardless of gender.
Dandruff has a number of different causes. Some of the most common include:
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
This condition, the most common cause of dandruff, is characterized by red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales. Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that causes it to become irritated and oily. It causes dandruff when it affects your scalp, but it can also affect other areas near your oil glands, such as the brows, sides of the nose, behind the ears, breastbone or sternum, groin area, and sometimes the armpits.
- Poor Hygiene or Lack of Shampooing
Those who do not wash their hair regularly, tend to build up oils and dead skin cells along the scalp.
- Dry Skin
This may be due to the weather, lack of hydration, and more. Those who suffer from dry skin on other parts of the body are likely to have dandruff as well.
A common yeast-like fungus that grows on the scalp – is generally harmless, but for some it causes irritation and an overgrowth of skin cells on the scalp. These excess skin cells will dry easily and cause dandruff.
- Contact Dermatitis
Some might be allergic or sensitive to certain hair care products – causing them to scratch, and the scalp to dry out.
While dandruff can happen to anyone, there are also certain risk factors that can make you more susceptible, including:
- Age – Dandruff usually begins during your early-adulthood or late teens. For some, it will continue into their later years.
- Gender – Men are more likely to have dandruff. Many believe this is due to testosterone.
- Oily, Greasy Hair – Those who have greasier hair or add oil to their scalp, have higher rates of dandruff.
- Diseases & Overall Health – Certain neurological conditions tend to cause dry skin, and thus dandruff as a side effect – Parkinson’s being a major one. Also, those who suffer from HIV/AIDS or other conditions that compromise the immune system, are more likely to have dandruff.