For anyone dealing with long-term dandruff, you know that the commercials for shampoos and treatments usually only cover one-half of the whole experience. While it's true that dry white flakes are problematic and sometimes embarrassing, they're also the least irritating part of handling a scalp that over-produces skin cells. There are, two primary forms of the condition: dry dandruff and oily dandruff, and most people who have the first kind will also experience the second. They are often caused by similar environmental conditions and genetic predisposition but need to be treated separately because of the variation in symptoms and severity.
Why Do Our Bodies Generate Dandruff?
Normally, the human body replaces a layer of skin about every 27 days, leaving activity and exfoliation to slowly remove the top layer. Dandruff occurs when your scalp's skin cell renewal process is shorter than it needs to be, which triggers rapid shedding and replacement skin, which in turn is shed as more replacement skin grows. This is called hyperproliferation, which means to reproduce quickly. Many people are born with over-active scalps while others develop the condition in response to weather, emotional stress, diet, shampoo rituals, or a very small form of yeast called Malassezia. However, the way that dandruff manifests depends on the conditions your scalp experiences.
It may not be fun, but if you have to have dandruff you want it to be the dry kind. When your scalp produces and sheds too much skin and nothing else occurs, it flakes off in the little white flecks you've come to know and loath. Each person with dandruff has their own hygiene rituals to reduce the shedding rate and clear the flakes, but what most people worry about is the itchiness.
It's only natural for your scalp to itch, because it's constantly producing new skin and trying to get rid of the old stuff, but it's also a healthy itch when dealt with correctly. When dealing with dry dandruff, use a gentle shampoo and remember to exfoliate regularly. Don't go crazy with the scrubbing, just massage your scalp at least once a day to loosen the flakes and clear room for the next layer of skin.
Sometimes, the conditions on the surface of your skin are not conducive to the dandruff flaking and falling away. This creates a much more serious problem as the oil from your scalp holds dead skin cells in place and prevents them from coming loose. Oily Dandruff, also sometimes known as Seborrheic Dermatitis, turns those fast-cycling skin flakes into a yellow scale that covers your scalp and can extend to the forehead, eyelids, eyebrows, and inside of the ear. This condition is more common in the winter and contrary to popular stigma it is not caused by poor hygiene. That said, it is important to scrub away the yellow scales because if left alone they will clog your pores and create bigger problems.
Treating oily dandruff will depend on your cause, but of course usually entails shampoo and scalp massage. Remember that you're treating two separate issues, the dandruff and the skin oil. A lot of people have oily skin and use a combination of oil-stripping shampoos and facial cleanser to reduce the amount of oil on their scalp, face, ears, and neck. Soothing and reducing dandruff should be done the same ways you would deal with dry flakes. However, the most important part of dealing with dry or oily dandruff is to check with your dermatologist before trying a new ingredient or technique.
At LH Hair, we care about the health and happiness of your scalp. If severe dandruff or other scalp problems have resulted in hair loss, we can provide expert and attentive hair restoration and replacement options. For more information about scalp health or hair restoration, please contact us today!