What is Dandruff?
It’s a common condition where small scales of dead skin are shed excessively from the scalp. The skin has its own life cycle of growing and decay, and it’s normal for a certain amount of dead skin to be shed. But in dandruff the life cycle speeds up and so shedding occurs in larger amounts than normal. The tiny scales stick together in oily bunches, and the scalp can be itchy. The condition may be chronic and embarrassing for the sufferer, but it’s not catching or serious in itself.
What causes it?
There can be many causes of dandruff. The condition is often seen in people in their teens or early twenties and then declines with age. It can be the result of dry scalp, over-secretion of sebaceous oils, diet, or over/underuse of shampoo. Dandruff can also be a product of: eczema; tinea capitis; seborrhoeic dermatitis; allergic contact dermatitis; and psoriasis.
The symptoms of dandruff are well known. Tiny, dry scales of dead skin are shed from the scalp, stick together in oily blocks and can be seen in the hair and on the shoulders of the sufferer, especially after combing or brushing.
It’s estimated that up to half of adults can expect to suffer from dandruff during their lives.
There is no cure for the underlying causes of dandruff, but the condition can be treated quite simply through the use of medicated and special shampoos. These can be anti-fungal or anti-bacterial. Shampoos which contain salicylic acid help to loosen the dry flakes and make them easier to wash away in the shower or bath.
Why see a trichologist?
A trichologist will be able to identify and confirm the presence of dandruff and, after examining the scalp and taking a history from the sufferer, will be able to recommend appropriate treatments.