Skin Conditons: Dandruff


What is it?

Dandruff is the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp, often in the form of dry flakes. It is a manifestation of seborrhea, which is a common form of skin eczema that commonly affects the ears, face, chest, folds of skin, as well as the scalp.
 

Who does it affect?

It often occurs after puberty and is most common in people in their early twenties, continuing into middle age. Studies show that it is more of a men's health issue rather than women but it is thought to affect all ethnic groups equally.

What causes Dandruff?

  • There are numerous triggers for dandruff.
     
  • The most common cause is simply having generally dry skin. If you suffer from general skin problems such as eczema or psoriasis you are more likely to suffer from dandruff.  Conversely, overly oily skin can also cause flaking of the scalp.
     
  • Irregular brushing of the hair can be an issue.  Brushing your hair stimulates and aerates the scalp which is essential to healthy skin and getting rid of dead flakes (which can go on to aggravate further flakiness).
     
  • A yeast-like fungus called Malassezia furfur, which can be found on the surface of many animals, plays a role in the development of dandruff by breaking down the natural oils on the human scalp.
     
  • Sensitivity or an allergy to skin and hair products is also a common trigger for dandruff.
     
  • Studies have shown us that stress has also been directly linked to dandruff as well as other skin conditions such as facial seborrhea.
     

Skin Conditon

Issues

Although dandruff isn’t harmful to the sufferer, it can be difficult to treat and can cause embarrassment and anxiety. 

Severity of flakiness can fluctuate according to factors outside the sufferer’s control, such as the temperature and seasons.  It is often worse in winter.

Dandruff treatment and prevention

Treatment of the condition is mostly aimed at fighting the skin inflammation and normally involves controlling the levels of flaky skin, rather than preventing it altogether.  There are a number of creams, shampoos and chemicals that can soothe the symptoms.  These include:

  • Hydroxypyridones
     
  • Steroids
     
  • Selenium sulfide
     
  • Zinc pyrithione
     
  • Coal tar
     
  • Anti-fungal and cortisone creams
     

As always there are a number of homespun and natural remedies and lifestyle adjustments that can help manage your dandruff levels:

  • Washing your hair regularly will help to wash away loose flakes as well as removing excess oil from your scalp.  However, try not to be too rough when shampooing or brushing your hair as this can irritate or even damage your scalp.
  • Black Pepper is an anti-dandruff treatment that has been around for centuries.  The pepper helps to pull flakes of skin away from the scalp.  Some people choose to mix pepper and yoghurt as the yoghurt helps to hydrate, soothe and reduce flakiness while the pepper goes to work. 
  • Exposure to sunlight is recommended for a number of skin conditions and is recommended by many to help treat dandruff. 
  • Olive oil, so good for us in so many ways, is one of the most popular home remedies for dandruff.  It is an excellent natural moisturizer.  The best method is to gently warm a small amount and softly rub it into your scalp before going to sleep.  Leave it in until the morning before washing it out with a little shampoo.  Failing to do so will give you extremely greasy hair!

 

If you need further information regarding mens health please visit your local pharmacy and ask your pharmacist, for advice.

 
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