Dandruff is the nice term for dead skin cells. When skin cells die, they shed from our body as part of natural cell replacement. Excessive shedding leads to a collection of flakes, generally accumulating on the scalp. Flaking can also occur on other parts of the body, but normally accumulates where hair grows. Facial and eyebrow dandruff is also common.

Dandruff is not a sign of being unclean or unhygienic. It is a common condition that strikes nearly everyone. Some people just shed more than others.

Symptoms include itching, scaling and flaking.

Vast remedies have been presented to treat or control dandruff. Treatment ranges from home remedies to anti dandruff shampoos and scalp masks.

What does dandruff look like

Detection is easy. If you fold your hair over and see white flakes on your scalp, you have dandruff. Scratching your head causes pieces to fall to the shoulders, making dandruff noticeable. Severe dandruff sometimes causes hair loss.

The severity can vary from a few scattered pieces to tight masses assembling together and growing up to quarter of an inch high. Whilst the larger crusty looking formations may look dry, they are more likely to be oily.

What causes dandruff?

The usual conception is that dandruff comes from a dry scalp or dry skin. Surprisingly enough, dandruff is actually predominant in persons with oily skin due to secretions of sebum produced by your sebaceous glands.

The condition can be exacerbated by stress, bad diet and hormonal changes, particularly women during their premenstrual cycle. Avoiding lots of sugary, fatty, oily or salty foods is recommended.

Hair dryers and styling tools do not cause dandruff.

Oddly, during different seasons some people have experienced an influx of dandruff as a result of sudden changes in temperature or weather. It has not been tested whether shedding is affected in this way. Some persons also suffer from dandruff more in the summer time when the air is dry, rather than in winter.

Hormone Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances have been shown to cause dandruff in teens and adults alike. Initial appearance of symptoms usually comes at the time of adolescence when hormonal changes take place. Hormonal imbalances can cause the subaceous oil glands to work overtime. The oil production occurs as a result of hormonal increase, mainly in the male androgen hormones. This imbalance causes greasier skin and scalp, which helps the dandruff flakes stick together.

The flakiness is also increased with stress. Premenstrual stress, being connected to hormonal balances, also fluctuates the severity of flaking.

When hormones are balanced, dandruff problems are much easier to control.

Curing dandruff

Various anti dandruff shampoos such as Selsun, Head & Shoulders, Nizoral and Sebulex help control the symptoms of dandruff using Sulphur and Salicylic Acid. You could also use a scalp cream.

Natural home remedies include increasing your natural biotin intake or using topical applications such as diluted tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar.

Scratching is not a remedy, it makes dandruff worse.

Apple Cider Vinegar
This treatment involves mixing ¼ cup of water with ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar and pouring the contents into a spray bottle. Squirt onto your hair and scalp making sure to avoid your eyes and ears.

Leave in your hair by wrapping in a towel for a minimum of 15 minutes up to an hour.

Repeat this home remedy one to two times per week.

Hormonal balancing
If your scalp dandruff is severe, your local doctor may administer a blood test to check if your hormones levels are balanced. Hormone imbalances are treated with prescribed medication or a gradual positive change in lifestyle; including your sleeping pattern, diet, exercise or stress levels.

Seborrheic dermatitis

A severe form of dandruff causing redness, itching and larger flakes. Typically the front of the scalp, back of the neck, behind the ears, eyebrows and nose areas are affected as well as patching on the scalp. Again, despite the crusty look, the area is usually oily rather than dry.

If your scalp disorder is chronic, you may have a more severe condition such as Psoriasis, contact dermatitis, pityriasis amiantacea or neurodermatitis. Always see your doctor if symptoms persist.