Perhaps you have already heard of this very embarrassing hair and scalp condition known as dandruff. With all that itching and scratching, you are sure to grab attention, and not just the white flakes that can be seen on your hair and on your shoulders.
You may already be aware that there are dozens of products that are made to specifically target this scalp problem. But before you delve into the various shampoos and chemicals used to control dandruff, here is some info about the physiological basis of this condition.
The skin on the scalp, like on the rest of the body, has an outer layer called the stratum corneum. This top layer of epidermis normally sheds off on a regular basis to give rise to healthier and younger skin cells. However, in the case of a scalp that is affected by dandruff, this skin shedding is abnormal, and more regular than usual.
What brings about this skin abnormality? The skin on the scalp tends to produce too much sebum or oil, which causes the growth of a fungus known as Malassezia. This fungal species feeds on sebum and secretes certain oils that affect the stratum corneum, causing the cells to be irritated and shed off more rapidly than it can regenerate.
Besides the physiological causes, there are some sources that define dandruff as a possible allergic reaction to certain hair products. There are also scientific and health sources that explain how dandruff can be aggravated by the type of diet as well as the hygiene habits of an individual.
To be more specific, there are foods that cause active secretions of the sebaceous glands in the skin, especially on the scalp. These include spicy foods and overly fatty foods. One way to reduce the occurrence of dandruff is to keep the scalp clean, thus reducing the possibility of fungi thriving on it.
Dandruff cannot be totally eliminated, contrary to what anti dandruff shampoo commercials claim to be able to do. However, with the right approach, this scalp irritating problem can be controlled. For one thing, you can switch to an anti-dandruff shampoo that contains any of the following active ingredients: zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, and salicylic acid. Ketoconazole is also a known type of medication that is formulated to kill fungal spores and stop the growth of fungi. Ketoconazole can actually be found in some specially medicated shampoos for people with dandruff.