What Is Dandruff & How To Treat It!!!

Dandruff holds no health risk, even though it may be itchy and embarrassing.


  • Shedding skin cells is a natural process that occurs all over the body as new cells push up from beneath to replace the old ones.
  • Excessive shedding of the skin on the scalp is called dandruff. Inflammation, that is redness/itching, is not a feature.
  • These flakes pose no health risk but can be itchy and cause embarrassment. Although dandruff cannot be cured, it can be controlled.
  • A seborrhoeic dermatitis is a form of dermatitis in which a fungus, Pityrosporum ovale, plays a role.
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis involves the scalp, the ear, the eyebrows, paranasal area, central chest, and back.
  • Psoriasis may cause redness and scaling of the scalp.
  • Psoriasis is a scaly eruption of the skin that usually begins between the ages of 5 and 26 years.
  • Sufferers can learn how to cope with it and it is not infectious.


  • Dandruff is caused by excessive shedding of the skin of the scalp


  • A scaly scalp without inflammation (see above) or loss of hair.


  • The prevalence in South Africa is unknown, but about 50 million Americans suffer from dandruff and spend roughly $300 million annually on products to control it.
  • Dandruff can occur in any age group.

When to see a doctor

  1. If home treatment does not improve the condition
  2. If scaling is greasy and yellow
  3. If the dandruff is localized in a few patches and is very itchy, which may indicate a fungal infection, dermatitis of psoriasis


  • Mild cases often improve with careful shampooing using over-the-counter anti-dandruff products.
  • These can also be alternated with a regular shampoo.
  • Shampoos containing salicylic acid, coal tar, pyrithione zinc, selenium sulfide or sulfur are safe and effective for the treatment of dandruff.
  • Massaging the scalp vigorously as you shampoo helps to loosen the flakes so that they can be rinsed away.
  • Thorough rinsing is essential since shampoo residue can aggravate skin problems.
  • For best results, shampoo daily, leaving the lather on for at least 10 minutes before rinsing.
  • When the condition clears up, keep it in check by shampooing with medicated shampoo once or twice a week (these products are too harsh for daily use).
  • Let your hair dry naturally instead of blow-drying it.
  • Brushing hair with a moderately stiff, natural-bristle brush can be of benefit.
  • Full strokes from the scalp to the tips of the hair will distribute the hair’s natural oil away from the scalp to the hair strands.


In stubborn cases, a doctor may prescribe the following:

  • Steroid lotion or cream applied to affected areas to suppress flaking.
  • Coal tar or salicylic acid lotion to loosen thick scaling: these are usually applied and left on overnight under a shower cap.
  • This treatment will help shampoos to work more effectively.
  • If psoriasis of the scalp is the underlying problem, a coal-tar shampoo and topical steroid may be needed.


  • Herbal remedies may relieve the itching and dryness, but a tar-based product is usually needed to subdue the greasy scales.


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