Flaked Out: Causes of Dandruff
Dandruff is dry skin cells that are white or greyish in colour and could become quite irritating when the condition worsens and there are consistent itching and shedding. They are a universal problem with almost half the population of the world suffering from it. Though not dangerous, dandruff problems are not easy to correct and require persistent efforts for a cure. At the initial stage, a mild shampoo is good enough, but if the situation persists a medicated shampoo might be necessary. The symptoms are itching and flaking and you could also have red and greasy patches.
So, what causes dandruff? The dandruff is caused by a fungus known as Malassezia Globosa and it derives its nutrition from the oils present in the scalp. The fungus breaks down the oils to produce oleic acid and this could cause the shedding of the scalp skin in some people allergic to it. People affected by this problem might find that their skin matures and peels off within 7 days as opposed to a month in other people. Now that we know what causes dandruff, let’s find out more about the dandruff causes and dandruff treatment.
Symptoms of Dandruff
Before looking and dandruff causes and dandruff treatment, let's see the possible symptoms. Dandruff symptoms make themselves appear much before the problem sets in. Some of the most apparent symptoms of dandruff are
- Skin flakes which could be small and white to yellow, large and greasy.
- Flaking on the scalp or eyebrows, the flakes could also be seen in the hairline, nose, or ears, on the back of the middle portion of the chest.
What Are the Various Dandruff Causes?
Dandruff causes are multiple. Men usually are more prone to dandruff than women. Individuals who have an oily scalp or are suffering from certain medical conditions have a high possibility of developing a dandruff problem. The dandruff causes could be numerous but there are some common reasons:
Dandruff Causes - 1
One of the main dandruff causes is oily skin which irritates. This is also the most common dandruff causes in hair. It is also referred to as seborrheic dermatitis. Scaly patches, dandruff, and red skin result from it. This could also affect the eyebrows, sides of the ear, eyelids, and chest. The condition might not need treatment as it could go away on its own. However, on occasions, it does require treatment.
The condition can be treated by washing regularly to soften and remove the scales from the hair. One should take care to avoid styling products that use chemicals as these are one of the main dandruff causes.
Dandruff Causes - 2
Lack of proper hair hygiene can also cause the skin cells to pile up and create flakes and irritation and is one of the main dandruff causes. Shampooing regularly is absolutely essential. At the same time, try and maintain some consistency and regularity in the hair products that you use, do not use too many. This could only serve to further irritate the scalp. Also, do NOT scratch your scalp to answer your itch as it will only aggravate your problem.
Dandruff Causes - 3
Yeast cells known as Malassezia affect your scalp and cause exaggerated skin cell growth. Ideally, your skin has a minimum amount of yeast which is not harmful, it is only when it grows inordinately that you might face a problem. This normally happens when a particular part of your body remains excessively damp or moist and does not receive air. This could be one of the reasons for dandruff. Yeast could also be a result of:
- Wrong medication
- Presence of chemicals in your hair products
- Bad diet
A prolonged infection could result in the accumulation of flakes and dead skin and that might demand medical intervention.
Dandruff Causes - 4
Some hair care products might have a harmful combination of chemicals that are unsuitable for your scalp and lead to dermatitis or skin inflammation. In this condition, the skin becomes dry and red. Some types of dermatitis last for a long time while you could face intermittent attacks in others due to reasons like stress, the weather, and other types of exposure. Certain people experience aggravated attacks in humid conditions while others might face significant issues during the dry winter season.
There are numerous home remedies that you can use to deal with your dandruff issues. Regardless of the fact of whether you have an oily or dry scalp, certain oil remedies can work wonders on your hair.
- Dandruff Treatment with Aloe Vera gel: The amino acids and antioxidants in aloe vera gel can help fight dandruff. It helps in moisture retention and facilitates healing. The anti-inflammatory properties can help solve dandruff problems that result in itchiness. Aloe vera can also repair dead cells to stop itching.
Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to ½ a cup of aloe vera gel and mix well. Apply this to your hair and scalp and wash your hair after half an hour. Try out his remedy once a week.
- Dandruff Treatment with Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar helps adjust the natural pH levels of the scalp and thereby assists in fighting dandruff. It penetrates the follicles and eliminates any build-up.
Massage apple cider vinegar into your scalp and wash it off after 10 minutes with a mild shampoo and apply a conditioner after that. Try out this remedy twice a week.
You can also use a mix of aloe vera and apple cider vinegar as it prevents flaking, promotes cell growth moisturizes your hair, and clears clogged follicles. Add 5 tablespoons of coconut milk to 6 tablespoons of aloe vera gel and mix it well. Wet your hair and massage it into your scalp and wash it out after 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water and use this mixture to rinse out your hair.
- Dandruff Treatment with Coconut oil: Coconut oil is also a very effective remedy for dandruff. It is a very good moisturiser and helps fight dryness which could increase dandruff. The anti-microbial properties solve inflammation and itching problems.
- Dandruff Treatment with Neem oil: Neem is blessed with antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties which build up a powerful armoury against the negative effects of dandruff. Neem oil or a neem hair mask are good options.
- Dandruff Treatment with Fenugreek seeds: Fenugreek seeds are rich in protein and are very helpful in combating the negative effects of hair fall due to dandruff and dryness. They moisturise the scalp and strengthen the roots.
- Dandruff Treatment with Baking soda: A very convenient remedy for dandruff found in most kitchens is baking soda. It can remove dead skin and exfoliate the scalp. It has antifungal properties that are very effective in the treatment of dandruff.
You can also use a mixture of baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Use 2 tablespoons each of baking soda and apple cider vinegar to make a thick paste and massage it into your scalp to clear the dead skin and remove build-up. Rinse your hair with cool water afterward.
- Dandruff Treatment with Neem leaves: You can boil neem leaves in water and use it to rinse your hair or you can also make a paste out of neem leaves and leave it on your scalp for half an hour before washing it off.
- Dandruff Treatment with A balanced diet: It is also very important to have a balanced diet that would build immunity and enable the body to fight against various infections.
A deficiency in Omega-3 fatty acids can lead to dry hair, hair fall, and dandruff. A nutritious diet with a good intake of foods rich in omega-3 like salmon and mackerel can help reduce problems related to dryness.
Probiotics are very important in raising the immunity levels of the body and can help prevent fungal infections which cause dandruff.
- Reducing stress levels: It is very important to reduce stress levels as prolonged periods of mental stress can lead to a weakened immune system. This will hamper the ability of the body to combat different infections including fungal issues which might lead to increased dandruff. Stress often leads to seborrheic dermatitis, one of the most frequent dandruff causes.
Dandruff in itself is not a very serious problem as once the reason behind the issue is uncovered, you have multiple options available for its treatment. What is important is quick corrective measures after you have identified the dandruff causes. If you allow the problem to fester it could lead to more serious scalp issues in the future. For early diagnosis and prompt care of all your hairy problems, do visit us at Traya and allow our experts to exercise their expertise.
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Dr. Jaspreet Sarna, M.D
Dr. Sarna is an MD (Skin & VD) with a decade-long experience in treating hair loss and working on hair regrowth. She believes stress management is the key to good health.