What is dandruff and how does it occur?
HOW MUCH DO YOU CARE FOR YOUR HAIR
What is dandruff and how does it occur?
Dandruff is a condition of the scalp that causes white flakes, itchiness and redness. It may also cause itchiness in the ears and hair fall.
Dandruff occurs when your scalp sheds dead skin cells. Malassezia, a fungus or yeast, is naturally found on the skin and scalp. Normally, this fungus has limited growth but excessive oil on the scalp serves as food for this fungus, thus helping it grow immensely. This fungus produces oleic acid as a metabolic by-product. This oleic acid in turn produces an increased turnover of skin cells, causing unwanted white flakes or dead skin. This dead skin falls off and mixes with oil from the hair and scalp, turning into dandruff. This does not mean that those with an oily scalp usually have dandruff, but if the excess oils are not washed regularly or properly, it can lead to dandruff. Most shampoos dry out the scalp but they don’t get rid of dandruff. Why is that?
- The weather- Although weather is usually not the cause of dandruff; dandruff can worsen during dry, cold-weather months. It’s believed that the reduction of humidity in the air during winter can add to the build-up of dry skin that occurs with dandruff.
- Dry skin – people with dry skin tend to get dandruff more often. Winter cold air, combined with overheated rooms is a common cause of itchy, flaking skin. The flakes are usually small and not oily.
- Seborrheic dermatitis (itchy, scaly skin caused by an overproduction of oils in the skin and irritated Malassezia.) – People with seborrheic dermatitis are very prone to dandruff often in the scalp, backs of the ears, the breastbone, eyebrows and the sides of the nose. The patient will have red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales.
- Not enough shampooing or too much shampooing- Some experts believe that if you don’t shampoo enough there can be a build-up of oil and dead skin cells, causing dandruff. And if you shampoo too often, the skin may get irritated. It may also produce more oils since your scalp gets over-dried from excess washing, making your scalp feel greasy by the next day.
- Certain skin conditions – conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, etc. can also trigger dandruff for some people.
- Some illnesses – Adults with Parkinson’s disease and some other neurological illnesses are more prone to having dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Patients recovering from heart attack, stroke or a weak immune system may also have dandruff more often than others.
- Reaction to hair/skin care products – Some people react to some hair care products with a red, itchy, scaling scalp. Many experts say that shampooing too often may cause dandruff as it can irritate the scalp.
- Diet – Some experts say that people who do not consume enough foods that contain zinc, B vitamins, and some types of fats are more prone to dandruff.
Brushing your hair regularly helps distribute the oils throughout your scalp and hair that are naturally produced by your skin. It also massages your skin, which increases blood flow to the area and improves circulation. Brushing your hair upside down works best and helps distribute the oils better.
Other things that may help reduce dandruff include:
- Avoid stress and stressful situations. When we are in stress it can feel as if our body is in meltdown – our heart is permanently racing, it’s difficult to sleep, our head often gets itchy and dandruff develops as you itch.
- A balanced diet that includes both acidic and alkaline foods can help elevate a weakened immune system and prevent a build-up of unhealthy acid in the body. Eat a balanced diet with healthy foods that are better for healthy skin and scalp and include zinc and B vitamins in your diet.
- Get in the habit of washing your hair no more than 1-2 times a week. If your hair gets very greasy after 1-3 days, you might want to take a leap and try this wonderful technique: Stop washing your hair for 2 weeks straight. Your hair will feel very greasy, but it gives your skin enough time to adapt and learn to take the matter into its own hands and produce oils gradually. After the 2 weeks, begin washing your hair 1-2 times a week. You might be surprised! You may not “need” to wash as often as you normally did.
There can be just as many don’ts as there are dos when working with your own personal hairstyle. While it is important to follow the dos, it is also necessary to keep the don’ts in mind to achieve the hairstyle of your dreams
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