The flakes that we call dandruff, or scurf, are actually an accumulation of dead skin cells. When the cells of the scalp grow too fast, they clump together noticeably in the hair. Static electricity and sticky, oily hair surfaces keep the scales from falling. Any scaling may be called dandruff; but most cases are probably just a mild form of seborrhoeic dermatitis. The actual cause of this condition is now known, but it seems to be determined by genetic and hormonal factors. If your dandruff is unmanageable or spreads to your eyebrows or other parts of the body, consult a dermatologist, as the condition could be due to severe seborrhoeic dermatitis, blepharitis or psoriasis.
As a rule, dandruff doesn’t go away and must be controlled with regular treatment. There are a variety of shampoos designed for that purpose: tar shampoos and those containing selenium sulphide, zinc pyrithione and salicylic acid work best, so it’s worth checking the list of ingredients. If such a shampoo doesn’t provide relief, your doctor will be able to prescribe a more effective treatment.
The most you can hope to do is to control the symptoms of this minor but annoying complaint. No one knows for sure what causes dandruff. Some theories suggest that it comes from a dry scalp. Others point to an oily scalp as the cause, and there is some evidence that bacteria may be responsible. There are a variety of shampoos that may – if you are lucky – keep your dandruff within manageable bounds. Coal-tar shampoos, and those containing salicylic acid, selenium sulphide or zinc pyrithione can lessen dandruff; but be careful that these medicated shampoos don’t come in contact with your eyes – they can irritate. If such shampoos do not help your dandruff and it seems to be spreading to your eyebrows, ask your GP to refer you to a dermatologist. He will treat you with a formula tailored to your needs Dandruff does not bring baldness.