A person's entire body surface continuously sheds dead skin cells. The skin itself sheds every twenty-four days. Dandruff, the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp at an excessive rate, is the result of the normal growing process of the skin cells of the scalp. Dandruff is seasonal. It is most severe during the winter and mildest during the summer.

The most common symptom of dandruff is scaling and flaky skin on your head. Itching is also occasionally present.. A doctor should be consulted if redness is present, or if scaling occurs on parts of the body other than the scalp.

Causes of Dandruff include : Excessive use of hairsprays and gels, improper use of hair-coloring products or excessive use of electric hair curlers, cold weather and dry indoor heating, tight fitting hats and scarves, infrequent shampooing of the hair or inadequate rinsing or even stress, anxiety and tension.

Dandruff can be treated with shampoo, creams and special soaps that are available at the drugstore or by prescription.
Dermatologists agree that “virtually everyone” suffers from dandruff to some degree. So don’t feel bad, fellow nerds. I have mild dandruff problems, and in my efforts to defeat that condition, stumbled upon a treasure trove of a book called The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies. The tips and quotes below are derived from that book. I haven’t tried all of them, but have had some luck in banishing those unsightly flakes of skin. I hope they work for you.

Shampoo daily. This is pretty self-explanatory. It is generally a good idea, even if you don’t suffer from dandruff.

Use dandruff shampoo. There are different types of dandruff shampoo – differentiated by their active ingredient. The shampoos that contain selenium sulfide or zinc pyrithione slow down the multiplication of scalp cells and are reputed to produce the quickest result. Shampoos with salicylic acid and sulfur loosen dandruff flakes so that they can be washed out easily. Antibacterial shampoos, obviously, kill the bacteria on the scalp; this helps prevent infection. And, finally, tar-based shampoos slow down cell growth. The shampoo I use, which is a zinc pyrithione-based shampoo, doesn’t seem to be very effective, but this is perhaps because my scalp has grown tolerant to that particular type of shampoo (read on).

Use tar-based formulas. Lather with the shampoos, and then allow it to work by leaving it in for five to ten minutes. Tar shampoos, once infamous for their objectionable odor, are apparently much more pleasant nowadays. Keep that in mind if the smell has put you off in the past. Quick note: if you have light-colored hair, (“blond or silver”) it probably isn’t a good idea to use a tar-based shampoo, inasmuch as they can leave a stain.

Lather twice. A good strategy is to lather your hair up as soon as you get in the shower and leave it in as you wash your body. After you’ve done that, rinse off, and then shampoo your hair again. I have found this to be temporarily effective, but I think I need to switch shampoos. Another thing you can try is to lather up, and then put a shower cap on. Most people don’t leave the shampoo in their hair long enough for it to do its work.

Change your shampoo every once in a while. It’s a little known fact that your scalp can adapt to the ingredients found in your shampoo. It’s is a good idea, therefore, to change shampoos every few months.

For God’s sake, massage it in! Make sure you actually TOUCH your scalp when you’re shampooing. Massage it gently with your fingertips. This helps loosen your flakes, and gets the shampoo to where it is needed – THE SCALP. You shouldn’t use your fingernails – for obvious reasons.

The Thyme Treatment. Thyme, apparently, has antiseptic properties that help with your dandruff. Boil four tablespoons of dried thyme in two cups of water for ten minutes. Strain it and let it cool. Pour half of it over your damp hair, making sure it gets to the scalp. Massage it in, but do not rinse. The remainder can be used another day.

Don’t forget conditioner. Dandruff shampoos aren’t great for your hair, so make sure you use conditioner.

The Olive Oil Treatment. This helps loosen dandruff flakes. Heat a few ounces of olive oil until it is warm. Wet your hair and apply the oil using a brush. Remember: you aren’t treating your hair, so try to get as much of the oil as possible onto the scalp. Leave it in for thirty minutes, and then wash it out using a dandruff shampoo.

Sunshine is good. Try to pull yourself away from your PC every once in a while and take a walk outside. “UV light has an anti-inflammatory effect on scaly skin conditions.”

And, of course, realize that dandruff is, in part, caused by stress. Take it easy. Kick back.

Thanks to CentrX and tribbel for the constructive critism. I have made some changes.

A dry, scaly, itchy eruption of the scalp; it may also occur, less commonly, as thick, greasy scales. Dandruff is also known as seborrheic dermatitis. It is thought to affect about 60 percent of people to some degree; the condition, although unsightly, is of little consequence. It is sometimes associated with blepharitis.

There are many shampoos on the market that are designed to relieve this common condition. If the dandruff is not responsive to the medicated shampoos and the condition is a troubling one, the person should seek advice from a physician. There are prescription medications available, including a selenium shampoo, that may be of help.

Dandruff (?), n. [Prob. from W. toncrust, peel, skin + AS. drf dirty, draffy, or W. drwg bad: cf. AS. tan a letter, an eruption. &root;240.]

A scurf which forms on the head, and comes off in small or particles.

[Written also dandriff.]


© Webster 1913.

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