Dandruff is more of a cosmetic problem than a medical issue because of white unsightly flakes developing in abundance in the hair and scalp. A vast majority of human beings around the world have this ubiquitous condition that is the result of dermatitis (skin inflammation) due to seborrhea or build up of dead skin in the scalp.
Dandruff – Its Causes
Because of its need to always stay healthy, the skin constantly replaces itself with new skin tissue. The dead skin cells fall off and are replaced by new skin formations that rise up from underneath these dead skin tissues. This is all perfectly normal; however, people suffering from too much dandruff have an overabundance of these dead cells that accumulate in the scalp.
It is not true that dandruff flaking is due to extreme dryness of the scalp. As mentioned above, the flaking occurs due to an overabundance of dead skin cells in the scalp. Certain dermatologists and physicians think that dandruff is the result of an imbalance in the hormones, or an overgrowth of fungi residing on the skin.
If the scalp of a person is typically moist and free of dandruff, he/she might still experience dandruff from time to time but its cause may be due to his/her failure to completely wash off shampoo from the head when taking a bath or a shower. Unwashed and residual shampoo on the scalp often leads to scalp irritation in a lot of people especially if the person has sensitive skin.
Current research has led to the assumption that dandruff may be passed on genetically and that stress and anxiety may be triggers for the development of dandruff. In certain cases, dandruff can be a symptoms or sign of eczema or psoriasis.
Based on the tenets of Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, internal causes underpin the generation of dandruff. These causes may include overabundance of heat or yin deficiency. Dandruff usually sets in when the body does not have enough cooling energy or body fluid.
Symptoms of Dandruff
Dandruff can lead to symptoms that may include:
-Development of white tiny flakes on the scalp
-An itchy scalp
-A scalp with red bright patches
-Excessive greasy skin and hair
There may be occasions when other hair-covered parts of the body can also suffer from this condition. Occasionally:
-The skin might develop scaly patches above the ears
-Red areas mighty develop on the face, especially on the forehead and areas surrounding the eyebrows
-A yellow hard crust can ooze from the skin if it is dry and cracked
Basic cases of dandruff can be detected by the person and resolved without the need for any medical intervention. But, if the dandruff problem is severe, treatment may require the help of a health practitioner such as a dermatologist to make sure that adequate treatment may be rendered and to make sure no underlying problem exists that may have caused the dandruff.
Treatment of Dandruff
The application of shampoo fortified with pyrithione zinc, salicylic acid, or more importantly selenium on the scalp is perhaps the most common treatment for dandruff.
A diet of fresh vegetables and fruits including pears, carrots, radishes, spinach and celery can also help. Other foods good for dandruff sufferers include brown rice, mussels, oysters and fish. To help prevent the rise of dandruff, vitamins C, E and A taken in adequate amounts should help.
Supplements of biotin that is found in B-complex vitamins can be helpful in the fight against dandruff. Biotin on its own and biotin from B-complex vitamins can both be taken for better results.
Some other remedies that can help neutralize dandruff include:
Wintergreen and eucalyptus oils – They can be made into ointment that acts as a general healer and a skin antiseptic which can be very effective in treating dandruff.
Burdock root – In order to soothe the inflammation and bring about healing, burdock root needs to be applied topically; this herb can be found at your local health food stores and can be used internally, as well. When all other treatments have proved unsuccessful, Burdock is usually the only treatment that will work.
Aloe vera lotion – You can apply lotion on your scalp or other affected parts of your body for a month or a month and a half twice a day with a 30% solution of this lotion.
Tea tree oil – Tea tree oil is a very powerful essential oil that can be used to treat various kinds of health conditions. For the treatment of dandruff, you can add a 5% solution of this oil in water to wash your scalp everyday for several weeks. If the effect of tea tree oil is too strong on your skin, discontinue its use.
Zinc – To help stop or prevent dandruff, taking 30 mg of zinc can make the skin healthy.
Borage oil and primrose oil– Use as indicated on the label
Copper – The recommended amount for the treatment of dandruff is 3 mg daily.
One other very effective way of fighting dandruff is to wash your hair in a solution of 10 parts water, one part hydrogen peroxide and one part apple cider vinegar. Use the solution as a shampoo and afterwards vigorously rinse you hair. After rinsing, apply on your scalp tea tree oil (20 drops), and massage your scalp. You can leave the tea tree oil on your scalp overnight. This technique eliminates the fungus and clears off the flakes on your scalp.
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners argue that dandruff is a secondary symptom of certain disorders or imbalances in the body. To treat this condition they highly recommend acupuncture for long-term resolution of this problem.
In you want a healthy scalp and skin and prevent the rise of dandruff you need to eliminate eggs and dairy products from your diet. Gluten can also cause the development of dandruff and other skin conditions so avoiding this is important for dandruff sufferers. Some doctors think that avoiding chocolate, seafood, peanuts , sugar and fats can also help in preventing dandruff.
Dandruff Risk Factors
No one is immune to dandruff. If you have dandruff it is important to thoroughly wash off any traces of shampoo from your scalp when you are bathing or showering as this is the most common reason for its occurrence.
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