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Dandruff - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Home Remedies

Last Updated: Oct 18, 2021

What is Dandruff?

Though dandruff needs no formal introduction yet it is the shedding of dead skin cells of the scalp. Skin cells also die and a little bit of flaking is well within normal boundaries. For most people, it is an ongoing problem which not only results in hair fall but also causes the hair to fall. Your dermatologist or trichologist can recommend shampoos and other overnight lotions with active ingredients to mitigate dandruff problems.

To get the best results, you must follow the instructions given on the bottle of the product you are using. For instance, some shampoos may rather well while others may have to be applied and washed off while still others cannot be left on the scalp for some time. Not only the product, but its usage also determines whether or not the product would work for you

Is Dandruff a fungus?

Dandruff is nothing but an overgrowth of fungus on the scalp. That fungus, commonly known as Malassezia, belongs to the yeast family. Stimulated by the various factors such as excess oil present on the scalp, the skin cells there multiply in numbers resulting in the accumulation of dead skin cells which start flaking off due to the presence of fungus.

What are the causes of dandruff?

  • Avoiding shampooing: If the hairs are not washed often, the skin cells and oils on the head skin can develop dandruff.
  • Skin oiliness and irritation: This condition, a standout amongst the most incessant reasons for dandruff, is set apart by red, oily skin under flaky yellow or white scales. Seborrheic dermatitis may influence your scalp and different regions wealthy in oil gland, for example, armpits, the sides of the nose, crotch zone, the backs of the ears, eyebrows, crotch zone, and breastbone.
  • Yeast parasite: A parasite, named Malassezia which found on the head skin of grown-ups commonly. In some cases, it aggravates the head skin and develops more skin cells. The additional skin cells kick the Malasseziadie and tumble off, causing them to seem white and flaky in your hair or on your garments. Why Malassezia bothers a few scalps isn't known.
  • Dry skin: The crumbs of the dry scalp are commonly little less greasy than the other reasons for dandruff. The redness or irritation is improbable. Other then the scalp, dry skin also appears at different places of the body, for example, arms and legs.
  • Affectability to hair care items: In some cases, sensitivities to specific fixings in hair care items or hair colours can cause a red, bothersome, textured scalp.

Can Dandruff spread to your face?

Dandruff, commonly referred to as seborrheic dermatitis, is a condition that usually affects the scalp but can reach up to the face and ears too. The reasons for facial Dandruff may be such as oily skin, dry skin, sensitivity to oleic acid, and an increased skin cell turnover. The basic reason for its development is the excess secretion of sebum on the skin which ultimately increases the risk of fungal overgrowth there.

Can Dandruff cause hair loss?

Dandruff is the condition of the flaky scalp that results in hair loss, not directly but ultimately. Due to some of its symptoms such as itching, scratching of the scalp is aggravated which leads to the weakening of the hair follicles and is ultimately followed by hair loss which is partial. Besides this, conditions like androgenic alopecia are also responsible for this condition.

Can Dandruff be itchy?

Itching is a common symptom. It is caused when the fungus overgrowth over the scalp causes shedding off the skin cells as flakes, resulting in the flaking skin which becomes scaly too. This leads to an irritation in the skin, causing itchiness followed by redness and pain. This condition arises when the skin is too oily or it is too dry.

What vitamin deficiency causes dandruff?

Nutrient-poor diet is also a major cause for dandruff. Foods rich in vitamins like niacin (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) helps in reducing the skin related issues.

What are the Symptoms of Dandruff?

Some of the symptoms that are commonly visible if a person having dandruff are crumbs or flakes on the head skin. In the initial stage, these flakes are white & small followed by the yellow and greasy appearance by the end. These flakes further create itchiness on the scalp and other parts such as nose, ears, around the hairline, chest or back and eyebrows.


How dandruff is diagnosed by doctors?

Scalp examinations are usually used to determine why excessive dandruff is present. After the examination of the scalp, the cause of the condition is most often obvious. Sometimes though a scalp biopsy may be in order in such a procedure, local anaesthesia is applied and a sample of the skin of the scalp is taken for further investigation.

What is the best treatment for severe dandruff?

Seborrhea or dandruff is treated by fighting the inflammation of the skin. This may be achieved directly through the use of lotions and creams based on cortisone which reduces the inflammation. Another treatment is to put into use topical shampoos and lotions that deter yeast. The direction of dandruff treatment is usually dictated by the cause which is behind the condition.

Frequently oiling the scalp with the essential oils and interchanging an effective anti-dandruff shampoo with a moisturizer in order to remove the existing flakes and provide smoothness to the scalp. If you still have dandruff after implementing these procedures, then it is advised to visit a dermatologist for getting a stronger treatment.

Should I wash my hair everyday if I Have Dandruff?

Dandruff is basically a fungal yeast overgrowth that is stimulated by the deposition of excessive oil or impurities on the scalp. Hence regular shampoo for the hair is recommended. It is needed to wash the affected hair on an everyday basis, with an anti-fungal shampoo containing ingredients like ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or zinc.

What are the home remedies for dandruff?

Some of the best home remedies to get rid of dandruff which can be easily tried at home are given below:

  • Applying green tea to hairs: Green tea and peppermint fundamental oil have cell reinforcement and antimicrobial properties that promote advance scalp wellbeing while at the same time conditioning the hairs.
  • Using neem leaves solution: Neem leaves mitigate tingling, however, they additionally repress the over-development of the dandruff-causing organism.
  • Applying Apple vinegar juice: Apple juice vinegar is convenient for opposing the growth of dandruff. It gives moment help from irritation while disposing of dandruff with only a couple of uses through the span of a couple of days.
  • Massaging with Coconut oil: Coconut oil is another astonishing enemy of parasitic sustenance that is equipped for eliminating organism and dispensing with dandruff. This Tea tree oil also gives a pleasant sparkle to your hair.
  • Curd as a hair pack: Its acidic quality helps in killing dandruff along with proving shine and smoothness to the scalp.

What is the best shampoo for dandruff?

Medicated shampoos may help a person to fight dandruff. These shampoos available at the pharmacy contain:

Such shampoos may be used for every occasion or even just twice or once every week. This is dependent on the severity of the condition. When it is mild or negligible switch to ordinary shampoos. Sometimes a particular shampoo might work for some time then be rendered ineffective. In such instances switch to another type of shampoo. If one has a resistant variant between dandruff alternate between two different shampoo types that are effective in the case of the patient.

It is not that harmful to regularly use shampoos which one may use regularly to keep dandruff at bay. Topical steroids like antifungal creams and creams based on cortisone also help to fight it. They are available over the counter at concentrations of either 1% or 0.5%. They are safe for the face with results visible within a few days of regular application. Lotions and creams may be combined with medicated shampoos for even more effectiveness.

Antifungal creams are also highly efficient in the task of reducing severe dandruff. They work as they decrease skin yeast organisms. Creams and lotions, although should be used till dandruff persists after which it should be avoided. When it strikes back one may use them again.

What is the fastest way to get rid of dandruff?

There are many home-based treatment solutions which include the use of vinegar, lemon juice, coconut oil, neem oil and various others. Some people use anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners and get practical results from it. But if you cannot get rid of the problem through all these methods, then you should consult with a dermatologist.

Can Lemon remove Dandruff?

Lemon, due to its significant medicinal properties, is considered to be the most effective home remedy for the treatment of Dandruff. It boosts the immune system as well as strengthens the hair follicles with the help of its nutrients such as vitamin c, iron, flavonoid, and citrus acid. It also plays a key role in maintaining the pH of the scalp and removing the excess oil from it that stimulates fungal overgrowth there.

Summary: Dandruff is basically a fungal yeast overgrowth that is stimulated by the deposition of excessive oil or impurities on the scalp. It is the condition of the flaky scalp that results in hair loss, not directly but ultimately. Regular shampoo for the hair is recommended in order to treat the condition. It is needed to wash the affected hair on an everyday basis, with an anti-fungal shampoo containing ingredients like ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or zinc.


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Written ByDr. Ganesh Avhad MD, DNB, FIDP, FILDermatology
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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