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Dandruff

What is Dandruff?

Dandruff is a condition that occurs when the scalp sheds its skin as flakes in hair and on clothing. Dandruff flakes grow in size with the accumulation of dirt and oil.

Dandruff does not cause hair loss.

If dandruff persists, or if very large flakes are present, with symptoms showing around your nose, ears, or chest, you should see a doctor. You may be experiencing symptoms of seborrhea, psoriasis, or eczema.

Symptoms of Dandruff

The most common symptom of dandruff is itching and excessive flaking of the scalp.

Can Dandruff be Treated?

Dandruff cannot be cured, but it can be controlled.

Common ways to treat dandruff include:

  • Shampoo daily with an over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoo.
    • Active ingredients in some popular products include: Zinc Pyrithione, Climbazole, Octopirox and Ketoconazole.
  • Use a hair conditioner to smooth out tangles.
  • Anti-dandruff shampoo prescribed by your doctor.

What causes Dandruff?

The exact cause of dandruff is unknown. However, some of the conditions below may cause dandruff.

  • Dry skin.
    • Dry skin is the most common cause of itchy, flaking skin. Flakes from dry skin are usually smaller and less oily than those caused by dandruff.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis.
    • Seborrheic dermatitis is a frequent cause of dandruff. Dandruff caused by seborrheic dermatitis is characterized by red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales.
  • Psoriasis.
    • Psoriasis causes an accumulation of dead skin cells that form thick silvery scales. It can occur on your scalp, forehead, neck, arms. knees, elbows, trunk, and neck.
  • Cradle cap
    • Cradle cap causes a scaling, crusty scalp. It is most common in newborns.
  • Contact dermatitis.
    • Sometimes sensitivities to certain hair-care products or hair dyes can cause a red, itchy, scaling scalp.

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