Eczema of the scalp, which results in itching, flaking, or crusting of the scalp, is called scalp peeling or is commonly referred to as “dandruff”. This condition causes increased shedding of normal scalp skin cells. Dandruff may also be caused by a fungal infection, other than just dehydration of the scalp.
The causes of an extremely dry scalp, thereby causing dandruff or even bigger flakes falling from the head onto shoulders and clothes, may be due to scalp psoriasis, eczema, poor nutrition, generalized dehydration, exposure to too much direct heat, and using too much of shampoo.
The three types of dandruff that need to be treated are those resulting from fungal growth, dry scalp and the one resulting from product build-up.
- Fungal growth: This kind of dandruff is a chronic condition, caused by increased oil content on the scalp or an off-balance pH of the scalp. It may also be due to poor cleansing habits, or even an allergic reaction to the hair products one uses. Try switching shampoos, conditioners, or styling products to sulfate-free formulas to cure this condition.
- Dry scalp: Sometimes, the skin of the scalp is literally so parched and dry that it is flaky and falls away like snakeskin. People with this kind of dandruff usually have drier hair and notice a tightness in their scalp. To treat dry-scalp dandruff, it is wise to indulge one’s hair with moisturizing and hydrating shampoos, cut down on or space out harsh chemical treatments like relaxers, permanents, or dyes, and take in more moisture from the inside - drink at least 8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day, and your skin (including your scalp) will show you results that you want. Eliminating sulfates from your shampoos or other hair care products will also help with dry scalp, since these ingredients help strip away natural oils. Brushing hair or massaging the scalp - either with bare fingertips or a few drops of oil - is another great treatment, since massage helps stimulate circulation and bring blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the scalp and hair.
- Product buildup: The most common type of dandruff is due to product buildup. This is what happens when people with otherwise healthy manes and scalps use too many styling products, such as layering gels, hair serum, hairspray, wrap lotions, scalp oils, heat-protecting serum, and so on. Dandruff caused by product buildup usually looks more like small clumps or balls of dirt. It may have a brownish color, since all those products attract and trap plenty of dirt and sweat. Product-buildup dandruff also tends to appear sporadically, only when hair is in need of a wash, whereas other types of dandruff show up more quickly and regularly.
To treat this kind of dandruff, one should wash hair more often or simply aim for using minimum chemical-rich hair products.