Dandruff is a condition that affects many people, who often consider it to be a merely cosmetic issue. It may be so, but it is also a medical condition that should be addressed before the situation gets even worse.
Dandruff means that there are flakes of dead skin, detached from the scalp, in the hair and on the clothes, especially on the neck, shoulders and chest.
Possible causes of dandruff
Many experts have different ideas as on what exactly is the cause of dandruff and there are many theories about the nature and the origin of this issue.
According to some, dandruff is just a manifestation of a natural process in which dead skin cells shed and appear in the hair. While it is in fact absolutely normal for some dead skin to shed, dandruff appears outside of the normal shedding cycle too, which makes this theory less plausible.
There is a widely spread belief that dandruff means dry scalp. Dry scalp causes shedding of dead skin cells too, but dandruff is a completely different issue, the one associated with oily scalp and oily hair. Too much oil or sebum is secreted on the scalp, where it forms a layer. As the layer of sebum dries, it thickens and finally falls off in flakes.
Excessive perspiration can also lead to dandruff, especially in those who do not shampoo their hair as often as they are supposed to.
Some forms of dandruff are believed to be caused by fungi. In case dandruff is indeed caused by a fungus, it may be very difficult to solve it permanently because fungi are very persistent and sometimes they cannot be eliminated completely.
Other causes may include excessive use or hair products with harsh chemicals, cold weather, diet, stress, hormones, poor personal hygiene and shampoo or conditioner that have not been rinsed well.
Treatment for dandruff
Mild dandruff can be solved simply by washing the hair more often. However, it is important that the shampoo is suitable for frequent use. Those who have oily scalp and dry hair usually hesitate to wash their hair too often. They should only shampoo the scalp and then let the lather slide down the hair during rinsing. This will clean the scalp and the hair will not be damaged.
In case of more severe dandruff, special anti-dandruff shampoos are available in any drugstore. Those shampoos, which contain selenium sulfide, should be used sparingly because they are very strong.
As for the home remedies, tea tree oil and white vinegar are among the most popular ones when it comes to treatment of dandruff.