DANDRUFF is the single most common problem that can occur to a lot of people.
To have a few white-flaked cells is normal for it is simply the sloughing of matured skin cells and waste material through the pores of the scalp.
It is only when this becomes excessive that it has to be considered a problem.
Well-looked-after, clean, healthy hair with the proper acid balance does not have a problem of dandruff.
There are two forms of dandruff, namely oily and dry dandruff.
Dry dandruff appears as loose white flakes, and the scalp itches a great deal.
Oily dandruff is sticky and yellow in colour, and the scalp with oily dandruff smells bad.
The oily form is found mostly among adolescents and adults with an excessively oily skin and scalp.
The basic causes of dandruff are a faulty diet, emotional tension, stress, hormonal disturbances, infection, injury to the scalp and unwise or excessive use of hair cosmetics and dry weather.
The reason why so many adolescents have dandruff is that this is the time when they secrete an excess of androgen hormones which cause sebum, the skin oil.
As the epidermis of the scalp is replaced, the old skin cells of the scalp are shed.
Normally, this shedding is not noticeable.
In people who have dandruff, however, the cells in the scalp mature much earlier, and are shed by two to seven days rather than the supposed one month.
Thus, oily, noticeable clumps of dead skin are formed and shed. Dandruff is also associated with a fungus known as malassezia globosa. This fungus is responsible for creating the inflammation in the scalp.
The motto of hair-care is “Keep It Clean”.
Wash your hair and scalp frequently — it could be every day depending on how stubborn your dandruff is.
If your hair and scalp are oily, you should use herbal shampoo, although frequently washing your hair with shampoo can harm it.
Massaging and brushing your hair daily is extremely helpful in treating dandruff.
It invigorates blood circulation to the scalp, promotes the traffic of oil effusion and dislodges the dead skin cells sticking to the scalp for easy exfoliation.
If you have dry dandruff, use an oil to massage your scalp especially before washing your hair.
Anti-dandruff shampoos can be extremely helpful when dealing with problems with excessive dandruff.
Anti-dandruff shampoos contain various chemicals, such as zinc pyrithione, tar, piroctone olamine and selenium sulfide.
Shampoos containing zinc pyrithione and selenium sulfide are quite popular and effective, as these chemicals are able to slow down the process of flaking.
Some anti-dandruff shampoos also contain ketoconazole, an anti-fungal agent.
This does not only help relieve dandruff but also prevents the recurrence of the condition.
More recently, tea tree oil has been discovered to be an effective anti-dandruff agent, due to its anti-fungal properties.
When using anti-dandruff shampoo, it is best to alternate between several types or brands. This is because by using a single kind of shampoo, your scalp may develop some sort of tolerance to it, making the shampoo less effective.
It is advisable to use one anti-fungal shampoo for one month then switch to another one. For best results, try rotating three different brands of anti-dandruff shampoos.
When shampooing with an anti-dandruff shampoo, lather your hair two times.
The first time allows you to get rid of the flakes on your scalp, clearing it up.
The second time should be left on your scalp for about five minutes, to enable the shampoo to penetrate the cells.
After using an anti-dandruff shampoo, it is advisable to use a conditioner.
The chemicals in the anti-dandruff shampoos usually make the hair stiff and dry.
Conditioning the hair helps keep the moisture in the hair. If you have an itchy scalp, try not to scratch it, as you might injure your scalp further.
You should also make sure that you shower immediately after any strenuous activity, since sweat can further irritate the scalp.
It is a good idea to lessen the use of hair products, such as sprays and gels, as they can cause further build-up of oil in the scalp.
Lastly, eat less animal fat, and more poly-unsaturated vegetable oils. Avoid nuts, chocolate, fried food, shellfish and iodised salt.
Follow a diet high in greens, chicken, fish, milk and its products and food high in vitamins.
If the problem persists after trying shampooing and other home remedies, contact a dermatologist.