natural hair care

Is dandruff a medical condition?

Ever wondered if your scaling scalp is a medical condition?

Well, it is a medical condition and is extremely common. Dandruff is described as oily flaking skin on the scalp with or without itching. You can think of it as cradle cap (occurs in infants) for adults. While dandruff does not cause hair loss, itching can lead to chronic scratching and inflammation which can cause hair breakage. Chronic inflammation can eventually lead to reduced hair growth in the area.

Dandruff can also affect the face primarily along the forehead and eyebrows, around the nose, in the beard region and the ears. Dandruff can be a chronic condition requiring intermittent treatment and tends to flare with season changes.

Dandruff can be caused by many things including eczema (dry skin), oily skin, allergies to hygienic products, other scaling conditions such as psoriasis, or a yeast called malasezzia. This yeast is practically on everyone’s scalp and face but some people become sensitive to the yeast and develop symptoms of flaking, itching, and redness.

Risk factors to developing dandruff include nutritional deficiencies,  leaving oils on the scalp for a long duration of time (weeks), infrequent hair washing, neurological conditions and immune suppression.

Treatment entails eating a healthy diet, managing stress (stress flares psoriasis and eczema), and washing the hair more frequently (daily most optimal, weekly if more feasible) with medicated shampoos. To alleviate itching, there are prescription medicated solutions that can applied to the scalp. It may be necessary to purchase two or three different medicated shampoos and rotate them every 3rd wash. Common over the counter medicated shampoos include the following ingredients:

1. Tea tree oil (natural)

2. Zinc pyrithione

3. Selenium sulfide

4. Tar (natural)

5. Ketoconazole

6. Salicylic acid

Have you found any natural or chemical products to help? Please share your experience with us.