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Dandruff: When, how and where

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Dandruff: When, how and where

Dandruff or Pityriasis capitis is a scalp descamative condition that form aggregates of several cells corneas result of an acceleration in the replacement of epidermal cells. It is characterized by the presence of white or yellowish particles in the scalp and / or hair. Doctors called the scaly particles, dandruff. Dandruff is composed of dead cells that are derived from the skin as a result of accelerated metabolism.

Dandruff is rare in childhood but increases progressively from adolescence, at the age of 20, 50% of the population has suffered an outbreak, which gives an idea of its frequency. Although the cause of dandruff is complex and controversial, it is convenient to consider the elements that act together in appearance, to understand the treatments used to correct and prevent hair loss.

It is generally thought that dandruff is a capillary, because the physical manifestation of this disease occurs in the hair. However, its causes and symptoms are present in the skin covering the skull, the scalp.

A study of Cecil Textbook of Medicine, which emphasizes the prevalence of skin diseases in the United States, reveals that among the 18 most common diseases, dandruff is the third involving a greater proportion of the people, just some types of acne are over it. The figure shows that 2.82 percent of the population suffers it.

The scientific term is "seborrhea dermatitis", an inflammation of the skin. Dandruff, then, is a visual manifestation of this disease.


Etiology or the causes of dandruff have focused on several issues, says expert in skin diseases Frank Parker. Although there is no a single cause of seborrhea or all the causes have not been precisely identified, science has progressed in this way: 

  • It may be occurring in areas with high concentrations of seborrheic glands. The lack of such activity or, conversely, overproduction, can create the flaky skin and brittle hair or fat, respectively
  • It may occur in conjunction or as a result of other diseases such as Parkinson's, stroke or AIDS, says Parker.
  • Some of the causes which promote the emergence and spread of dandruff are attributed, according to experts, increasing fatigue, stress or digestive problems.
  • Scientists revealed that pityrosporum, a small fungus, can grow on the head, making the dermatitis more persistent.

Types of dandruff:

There are several types of dandruff, being the two most common dry dandruff and oily dandruff

Dry Dandruff or Pityriasis simplex 

It is the descamative state that appears more frequently in the prepubertad and often stay for long periods of time. If left untreated can have relapses or even become oily dandruff.

Sometimes it disappears spontaneously. This one is easier to remove because it is clear but it reappears quickly. Its main features are:

  • Presence of fine, dry, white or gray scales, which easily and fully occupy the area of the scalp. The scales can create a layer of white powder on the scalp. 
  • The scales are divided so unsightly by the neck and shoulder
  • Scalp hair dry and dull.
  • No signs of inflammation and pruritus is moderate or absent.

Oily Dandruff or Pityriasis steatoide 

It is a descamative state associated with the presence of seborrhoea, which could happen to a pityriasis simplex or arise spontaneously. Its main features are:

  • Presence of scales of larger size, thick, yellowish and greasy, preferably located in seborrhoeic areas (frontal scalp)
  • The scales are attached to the scalp and hair, forming plaques.

Process of Dandruff

For Humberto Garcia from Hair Diffusion in Santiago de Chile, as dandruff is a skin disease, you can learn to understand the cycles of the skin. Explains that "the skin of the scalp, like the whole body is renewed every 20 or 30 days. It is a natural process that helps to explain the origin of dandruff in accelerating this process, accompanied by a imbalance in the microbial flora, which leads to dandruff, which causes an excessive flaking of the scalp, often associated with irritation".

When this happens, there is an alteration referred to as dandruff, which is a real aesthetic problem and requires urgent treatment of some kind.

Dandruff is not only in the head, but can take other hair as half of the face, auditory conduits, eyebrows, armpits and groin, manifested as inflammatory and descamative plaques , yellow and greasy.

Prevention and cure

Parker says that the basis for treatment of dandruff is the use of anti-seborrea shampoos . Although it is difficult to prevent, and there are no treatments that will eliminate some of the causes, who have this disease or some of the symptoms, can treat thir hair as if they had dandruff.

Shampoos should contain the following: salicylic acid, tar, sulfur, selenium sulfide. These should be used daily, as recommended by dermatologists.

In some cases, seborrhoea has a dimension of inflammation that requires stronger treatments, under the supervision of a specialist. Topics that have between 1 percent and 2.5 percent with hydro-cortisone, for example, is one of the treatments reported by the Treaty of Internal Medicine of Cecil.

Whatever the type of dandruff and origin, its solutions or precautions may also come from natural medicine, especially when it is mild. In any case, you should consult a medical specialist.

Anti-dandruff Diet

Some doctors, tells Garcia, recommend special diets rich in B vitamins and beta carotene, which may help stabilize the scalp. The ingestion of seafood, meat, peanuts and sunflower seeds may contribute, in the same direction, to counteract the absence of zinc, one of the generators of the disease. Also essential fatty acids (found in fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and trout) are very useful to prevent dryness of the hair.

Hair care

Garcia talks about the mistakes that must be avoided, such as:

  • Suddenly stop the anti-dandruff treatment.
  • Use a shampoo not suited for you
  • Abusing of permanent dyes.
  • Acquire the habit of passing the hand through hair, or worse, constantly rubbing the scalp. 

And recommended attitudes to be taken:

  • Rinse hair well after each application of shampoo.
  • Preserve general fitness.
  • Maintain a balanced diet.

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2 Reviews about Dandruff: When, how and where
on 11/09/2014
I had no idea that disease like AIDS and parkinson's could cause dandruff. That's so strange. Would you be able to post any information about homemade shampoos and conditioners we could use to make our own homemade remedies? Or are there any essential oils we could use that woud also be beneficial for the hair as well? Thanks!
on 31/12/2012
HEllo good morning people, I always wondered the cause of dandruff because it affects many people around the world and even though there are special shampoos to stop it, they don't always acomplish the goal, so maybe you should post an article about diet recommendations to avoid this kind of problem.

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