Affecting nearly half of the population at the pre-pubertal stage, dandruff has been shown to have wide impacts on large scales. Some studies confirm that 1 in 2 people have suffered from Dandruff at least during one stage in their lives.
It is mainly caused by Malassezia globose, a microbe that exists on most of our scalps and feeds off the natural oil in our skin and hair, producing a substance called oleic acid which may be responsible for the itchiness. In addition, in some people it may trigger an immune response causing a rapid turnover of skin cells. However, some of us are more susceptible to dandruff than others.
It is well established that dandruff affects aesthetic value by forming flakes which vary in size and color and may also be visible on wide areas of the hair, shoulders and back. As well as causing itchiness; being the two major symptoms and signs people complain from. Although according to many studies, the afore-mentioned symptoms may only be the tip of the iceberg.
Although, dandruff seems not to be inflammatory in its nature. It has been proven through many studies that keratinocytes play a major role in the expression of immunological reactions through the formation of dandruff. Thus, possibly leading to further non-visible systematic effects on health.
Overall, dandruff symptoms and signs tend to lessen during warmer weather and exacerbate during the cold climates.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, for most people, dandruff does not require medical attention. However, sometimes the flaking and itching that appears like dandruff is actually a medical condition, such as seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, fungal infections of the scalp, or eczema.
Many people believe that dandruff is caused by poor hygiene, but this is not true. Although infrequent shampooing can make dandruff more obvious, researchers are still studying the causes, which appear to be complex
As for the question to how to treat dandruff, Dandruff cannot be cured. However, with various topical treatments and medications prescribed by dermatologists it can be controlled to an extent.
Acquiring healthy hygienic habits may contribute to the alleviation of symptoms such as: frequent shampooing, proper hydration, and healthy vitamin rich nutrition. Although, dandruff formation is thought to be a natural cycle, there are certain habits, which may trigger it, some of which are the following: stress, smoking, undernourishment. Avoidance of the aforesaid habits may help suppress the dandruff formation cycle.
Many studies have proven the efficacy of using antifungal shampoos specifically targeting the main microbe, Malessezla globose, responsible for the dandruff formation.
A wide variety of over the counter shampoos containing different active ingredients such as ketoconazole, ciclopirox, coal tar, salicylic acid are readily available at the patient’s demand. Some of which work by directly targeting the fungi whereas, others function by decreasing or exfoliating the flakes on our skin.
The aforementioned treatment method is highly effective when applied properly, for example in some dandruff shampoos it is highly recommended to massage the scalp and let it sit for at least 5 minutes before rinsing. Others should not be left of the scalp, thus it is highly important to follow the instructions on the shampoo to guarantee healthy results.
It is essential when selecting a shampoo, to remember to choose one according to the condition of the scalp.
Topical steroids are most often considered to be the last resort for treatment. Never the less, despite having many side effects topical steroids have proven their efficacy to help relieve the itchiness with its anti-inflammatory properties.
While there are several over the counter products for the treatment of Dandruff, medicines should only be taken after consulting a dermatologist.