Understanding Dandruff

. 2 min read

Welcome to the latest in our series of blog posts covering various conditions so far. In our previous posts, we explored conditions such as acne, stretch marks, hair fall, and dark circles. In this post, we explore one of the most common conditions we encounter in our patients – dandruff.

Ever experienced those pesky white flakes when you run your fingers through your hair? Dandruff is a common nuisance. It consists of powdery dry loose flakes on the scalp, and is caused by the fungus malassezia. This fungus is also responsible for the scaling and itching that you’ve definitely experienced if you’ve ever had this condition yourself. In basic terms, dandruff is just excess scaling of the skin on your scalp. It can be the result of an oily scalp that’s not cleansed regularly, or an increase in the fungal counts on the scalp. While it can be controlled, it cannot be totally cured.

Dandruff generally appears at puberty and is more severe in men than women, which means it has a hormonal component. Some people are just more genetically prone to it.
It’s important to distinguish dandruff from other conditions which might look similar. A variety of skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis and scalp psoriasis may present as dandruff but are much more than that, as they have an inflammatory component. They will therefore need more specialised treatment than only controlling the dandruff. Thus if you ever experience the symptoms of dandruff, it is important to get it checked by a dermatologist.

How can I treat it?
There are a few things you can do to help control your dandruff. Stress is known to aggravate dandruff, so keeping it under control will help. Since oily scalp skin results in more inflammation, you should also avoid excessive oiling of your hair or keeping it overnight. Just leave the oil in for a couple of hours before washing it.

Regular shampooing is important to get rid of the scales. For very mild dandruff, regular non-medicated shampoos will usually do the trick, but resistant dandruff needs a dedicated anti-dandruff shampoo with anti-fungal ingredients. Shampoos with zinc pyrithione and selenium sulfide also help in reducing scalp fungus. While you may get relief from your dandruff if you use these shampoos, it will often come back if you stop using them. Being regular with these products will ensure your dandruff stays in check.

If your dandruff is associated with redness and a lot of itching, then it means some inflammation is present. In this case, using anti-inflammatory lotions for a few days to clear it, and then maintaining it using specific shampoos is the best way to go.

It’s important to note that you should never self-medicate – only take medical treatment for your dandruff that has been prescribed by a dermatologist.

With Remedico, you can consult with a certified dermatologist from your phone. Fill up a 5-minute questionnaire, and we will send you a personalised treatment plan within 24 hours.