Do you ever notice white flakes in your hair or on your shoulders?

You may have dandruff.

We Know: All About Dandruff

What is dandruff?

Dandruff is a skin condition affecting the scalp that results in itching and flaking of the scalp. The most obvious symptom of dandruff is white, oily flakes that appear in the hair and on the shoulders.

What are the causes of dandruff?

Dandruff is caused by malassezia, a fungus that lives in the scalp. Everyone has this fungus-like bacteria in the scalp, and it typically goes undetected, but it can begin to excessively feed on the oil produced by your hair follicles. Should this occur, a large amount of dead skin cells slough off faster than normal, producing a white, flaky residue called dandruff.

What dandruff treatments are there?

The most common treatments for dandruff are available over-the-counter in shampoo form. A few examples include:

  • Head & Shoulders: This shampoo has antifungal properties that suppress the multiplying malassezia.
  • Tegrin: This shampoo and others like it are tar-based which helps to lower oil production.
  • Ionil T: Salicylic acid acts as the primary ingredient in this shampoo and although it is great for reducing oil, it can cause drying of the scalp.

How can I reduce my risk of dandruff?

There are several ways to prevent dandruff from ever forming.

  • Shampoo daily. Keeping your scalp clean helps to prevent oil from building up.
  • Eat balanced diet. Keeping your body healthy in general is good for your skin and scalp.
  • Minimize your use of hair products. Overuse of gels and hairsprays can cause material to build up on the scalp.
  • Spend time outdoors. The sun has a drying affect on built up oil.

When should I see a doctor?

If shampoos and self-care tips don't do the trick, see a dermatologist. It's possible you have another skin condition that merely has the same symptoms as dandruff.

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