Dandruff is one of the common skin problems caused by Malassezia, a yeast-like fungus. Dandruff mainly affects the scalp. Almost everyone, regardless of age, suffered from dandruff at some point in life. Dandruff makes a person feel uncomfortable when appearing in public. Why not? After all flecks of skin flakes always be there on our shoulders causing mere embarrassment. And the uncontrollable urge to scratch the skin due to the itchy scalp is unavoidable. Dandruff is often mistaken for dry scalp and lice. These conditions only have the same symptoms but are different.
Common Causes of Dandruff
We do not have the exact cause of Dandruff, however, we look at a few possible factors that cause Dandruff.
- Seborrheic dermatitis – People with Seborrheic dermatitis are more likely to have dandruff as it affects multiple areas of skin including the backs of the ears, the breastbone, eyebrows and the sides of the nose. The skin will be red, greasy, and covered with flaky white or yellow scales.
Seborrheic dermatitis is linked with a fungus called Malassezia that lives on the scalps and feeds on the oil secreted by hair follicles.
While this is not problematic, in some people it becomes overactive, causing the scalp to get irritated and produce extra skin. When the extra skin dies and falls off, they mix with the oil from the hair and scalp and form dandruff.
- Irregular brushing of hair – Regular brushing or combing the hair aids in the normal shedding of a hair and reduces the risk of dandruff.
- Yeast – People sensitive to yeast have a slightly higher chance of dandruff. Dandruff is often worse in winter days than warmer days which might be because ultraviolet-A (UVA) light from the sun counteracts the yeast.
- Dry Skin – This is one of the most common causes of dandruff people often mention. People with dry skin are more likely to have dandruff especially during colder days as cold air combined with overheated rooms is a common cause of itchy, flaking skin. Dandruff from dry skin normally has small, non-oily flakes.
- Shampooing and skin care products – This usually depends on person to person and the products that suit their skin. Certain products can trigger a red, itchy, scaling scalp and frequent usage of these products can irritate the scalp and cause dandruff.
- Certain skin and medical conditions – People with skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema and Tinea Capitis, a fungal infection also known as scalp ringworm tend to get dandruff more frequently than others.
Adults with Parkinson’s disease and some other neurological illnesses are more prone to dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. As per one study, 30 to 83% of people with HIV have Seborrheic dermatitis compared with 3 to 5% of the general population.People with a weak immune system and also who are recovering from a heart attack or stroke are prone to dandruff.
- Diet – Not consuming food with enough zinc, B Vitamins and some fats may also be the reason for dandruff.
- Age & Mental Stress – People are more likely to get dandruff from adolescence to middle age though it can be lifelong. Men are more affected than women who could be due to hormonal reasons.
Stress can also be a reason for many skin problems like dryness and itchiness which could lead to more dandruff.
Best Ways to Get Rid of Dandruff
There are plenty of natural remedies available to reduce dandruff. Below are a few remedies that can really help.
- Shampooing frequently can help reduce the oils on the scalp.
- Coconut Oil – Coconut oil is well known for multiple health benefits and it is often used as a natural remedy for dandruff. Studies showed that coconut oil was effective in improving skin hydration and it could also aid in the treatment of eczema, a skin condition which may contribute to dandruff. In comparison, applying coconut oil to the skin for 8 weeks reduces these symptoms by 68% against 38% to the mineral oil.
Easy Ways to Prevent Dandruff
- Regular Hair wash – Good hair hygiene can help keep your scalp and hair healthy thus preventing dandruff. Wash your hair regularly, especially if you have an oily or irritated scalp.
- Try avoiding hairspray and hair gel – Using styling products like hair spray, hair gel, mousses, and hair wax leads to increase of oil on your hair and scalp, leading to the development of dandruff. Avoid using styling products especially if you already have an oily scalp or starting to develop dandruff.
- Natural Light –Sunlight can also help you prevent dandruff. Try to spend more time under the sun.
- Stress management – We learnt earlier that stress also plays a prominent role in developing skin problems and dandruff.Try reducing any stress you are dealing with at home, at school, or at work.
- Maintain a diet high in zinc and B vitamins – A diet high in zinc such as legumes, nuts and grains, B vitamins, and healthy fats can help to prevent the fungi that cause dandruff.
Varieties of Effective Anti-Dandruff Shampoos
There are multiple causes of dandruff-like dry skin, sensitivity to hair products and yeast-like fungus which are common. You may need to experiment with different products based on the type of symptoms to find what works best for you.
According to dermatologists below are 4 anti-dandruff shampoos that they recommend.
- Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
- Head & Shoulders
- Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo
- DHS Shampoo
Some other recommended anti-dandruff shampoos are as below.
- Phyto Dandruff Treatment Shampoo. …
- Philip B Anti-Flake II Relief Shampoo. …
- Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo. …
- Redken Scalp Relief Dandruff Control Shampoo.
Best Natural Remedies for Dandruff
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is always the best natural remedy for dandruff. Coconut oil improves skin hydration and prevents the skin from drying.
Aloe vera: Aloe vera is used in the treatment of many skin conditions and dandruff is no exception. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of aloe vera protect against dandruff. Aloe vera reduces inflammation.
Apple Cider Vinegar: It is often used as a natural remedy for dandruff as it removes dead skin cells. Apple cider vinegar balances the pH of the skin and prevents the growth of fungus.
Salicylic acid: Salicylic is effective against dandruff. It is an active ingredient found in many anti-dandruff shampoos.
Fenugreek seeds, lemon, curd, baking soda, tea tree oil, henna, neem juice, and orange peel can be used as hair packs to effectively prevent dandruff.