Dandruff is a condition that is often commonly mistaken for being a hair condition. While dandruff is harmless, the flakes that appear in your hair and on your collar or shoulders can be uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Dandruff isn't about your hair, or how clean it is, but is associated with the health of your scalp's skin. The condition occurs when skin cells on the scalp die off too fast, causing the skin on the scalp to flake. Dandruff isn't contagious or serious, but it can be challenging to treat, and left untreated may lead to hair thinning and hair loss.
The signs and symptoms of dandruff include skin flakes on your scalp, hair, and shoulders, and the scalp may become irritated and itchy. The condition may become worse under periods of high stress, and they tend to flare in cold, dry seasons. Dandruff is a very prevalent scalp condition that comes in two forms.
The medical term for oily dandruff is seborrhoeic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis causes the skin on the scalp to become irritated and itchy and leaves red or light-colored patches as well as stubborn dandruff.
Dandruff occurs when oily, yellow flakes or scales begin to form on your scalp. These flakes stick together due to sebum, the light yellow, oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands. Sebum is produced to help protect and moisturize the skin, but seborrheic dermatitis can cause an increase in the gland's sebum production. The result is oily, and yellow flakes become large enough to stick to your head and hair as well as fall off on your shoulders and clothes.
Seborrheic dermatitis is not contagious and is treatable. The condition sometimes affects other areas of the body, including the face, eyebrows, and chest. Washing the head and scalp daily with a mild, gentle shampoo can reduce the buildup of sebum and dead skin cells, and the condition may clear up without further treatment. Seborrheic dermatitis may clear up and return later and may require repeated treatments before the symptoms go away.
Another common condition is dry scalp, which includes many of the symptoms associated with seborrheic dermatitis. While not actually dandruff, dry scalp causes small scales that are white or gray to fall from the scalp and hair. Like seborrheic dermatitis, the condition leaves the scalp irritated and itchy, and when touched, the small flakes often fall from the head and are visible in the hair and on clothing. While dandruff is a product of dead skin cells and an oily scalp, dry scalp is caused by a lack of sebum production and can be aggravated by the use of harsh shampoos and hair products.
Like the rest of your skin, when your scalp becomes dry, it can become irritated and itchy. Understanding the type of dandruff you have and the cause ensures that you can get the treatment you need.
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While dandruff is not a life-threatening or severe condition, it can be annoying and embarrassing, and left untreated may lead to other scalp and hair issues. Both dry scalp and seborrheic dermatitis can damage the hair follicles, clogging them, and inhibiting their ability to produce healthy hair. The constant irritation can cause you to scratch your scalp repeatedly, causing the condition to worsen and further damaging the hair follicles.
Early treatment of stubborn dandruff conditions can reverse damage to the hair follicles as well as renew healthy hair growth. The first step in treating your dandruff condition is to schedule a free consultation with the hair experts at LH Hair. The dedicated staff is experts at diagnosing and treating scalp conditions, including dandruff. At your initial visit, our team will perform a thorough examination of your hair and scalp, as well as other factors that may be contributing to your condition. With this information, we will help to develop a custom treatment plan to solve the issue.