Hair Problems - Dandruff

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What is dandruff ?

Dandruff is a common condition that causes flaky, white to yellowish scales on the oily areas such as scalp or inside the ear. It can occur with or without reddened skin. It affects almost half of the population at the post-pubertal age and of any sex and ethnicity.

How is it formed ?

Dandruff is thought to be due to a combination of an over production of skin oil and irritation from a yeast called mallesizia.

Is it same as seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis is the medical terminology for severe form of dandruff.

Is dandruff contagious?


Will there be more dandruff if the head is covered or wrapped?

Wrapping the hair in bandanas and scarf causes a humid atmosphere which is very favourable for the fungus to thrive. So it does aggravate dandruff.

Is winter a prime dandruff season?

True. But even in the summer season, because of excessive sweating, the fungus can grow.

Which type of scalp dry / oily predisposes to dandruff?

Generally oily scalp is more likely to develop dandruff but even dry scalp can have dandruff. It is caused due to the fungus on the scalp and type of scalp is only an additive.

Is dandruff associated with acne?

Yes. The presence of acne on the forehead and upper back are generally because of the dandruff falling on the skin and clogging the sebaceous glands.

Is dandruff associated with itchy shoulders / back?

Yes. The fungus which is responsible for dandruff can also block the hair follicle openings and cause folliculitis. This is commonly seen on the shoulders and upper back and generally very itchy.

Can dandruff be cured by the anti-dandruff shampoos?

No. Even though many shampoo and oil companies may claim so, no product can eliminate dandruff in a head bath. We can only control dandruff but not cure it. It often has extended inactive periods followed by flare-ups.

Do newborns and infants have dandruff?

Also called as Seborrheic dermatitis of infants or cradle cap. It is a harmless, temporary condition. It appears as thick, crusty, yellow or brown scales over the child's scalp. Similar scales may also be found on the eyelids, ear, around the nose, and in the groin. Cradle cap may be seen in newborns and small children up to age 3 .