Dandruff is excessive scaling of dead skin on the scalp
What to look for
- flakes of skin that range from small and white to large, greasy, and yellow.
- itchy flaking that appears on the scalp or eyebrows, or around the hairline, ears, or nose.
Dandruff usually poses no danger whatsoever. But it can be annoying and also embarrassing.
Washing your hair more often is not always the answer and dandruff does not necessarily happen because you don’t wash your hair enough.
Dandruff is actually the shedding of dead skin cells.
Skin cells that grow and die off too fast are the cause of dandruff, but doctors do not know why this happens. Some people with severe flaking have overactive sebaceous glands; others have an elevated level of fungus which is present in most people but to excess in dandruff sufferers. Other causative factors include hereditary, food allergies, excessive sweating, use of strong shampoos, yeast infections, stress or the time of the year.
Dandruff flakes are greasy and yellow are linked to a type of dermatitis; Dry, thick lesions consisting of large scales may be psoriasis of the scalp. You do not usually have to worry about these types of dandruff unless you scratch your scalp continuously, then bacteria have more chance of entering the skin.
Shampoos that you can buy over-the-counter shampoos can help moderate dandruff, but you may have to consult your doctor about more stubborn forms. Some herbal remedies may relieve the itching and dryness, but it usually takes tougher tar-based product to remove the greasy scales.
If you find that you are still scratching and shedding after trying over-the-counter preparations, see your doctor.
Doctors recommend being careful with medicated shampoos and to rinse them thoroughly after use. Also once the dandruff has cleared up, do not use the medicated shampoo too often as it is too strong for frequent use.
Brushing your hair with a natural-bristle brush can also prove beneficial.
In addition to herbal preparations a careful balanced diet, stress-reducing activities, and massage may prove to be of some benefit in treating dandruff.
Herbal Therapies –To prevent flaking and protect against infection, try massaging tea tree oil into your scalp. Some herbalists believe it is as effective as prescription creams.
Another option is to rub Aloe Vera into the scalp before shampooing along with Nettle Tea and Rosemary oil. Use Olive oil as the carrier cream if your scalp is dry and diluted lemon juice or apple cider if your scalp is oily.
Stress may aggravate dandruff. Regular exercise is also good for your stress levels.
At Home Solutions – Briskly massaging your scalp while using a herbal preparation such as tea tree oil or olive oil, will improve the circulation in your scalp.
Watch your diet – eat nutritious, low-fat foods.
Wash your hair and scalp at least once a week with a medicated dandruff shampoo or try one of the herbal alternatives listed above to prevent recurrences. Another shampoo to try is one based on soothing herbs like Chamomile, Rosemary, Thyme, Comfrey, Elderflower and Nettle. (Go to Herbs Information)
Dandruff is a common symptom of food allergies, however it is often difficult to determine which foods or combination of foods is the culprit.
If standard dandruff treatments don’t seem to be working for you, try cutting fatty foods (such as nuts and chocolate), dairy products, excessive sugar, spicy foods, and seafood out of your diet. Supplements of vitamins, such as biotin, thiamine (vitamin B1), Niacin (vitamin B3), Evening Primrose oil, Dandelion Extract and Vitamin B12), may help eliminate dandruff by improving your body’s ability to break down fatty acids. (Go to Vitamin Information)
When to seek further professional advice
- scaling is greasy and yellow, and does not respond to over-the-counter dandruff shampoos and lotions; you may have Seborrheic Dermatitis and need more aggressive treatment to relieve the itching and flaking.
- your dandruff is itchy and only in a few patches.