Dandruff is a chronic condition that affects men and women year round. It's identified by white flakes on the shoulder and an increased itchy scalp. There are a variety of factors that cause dandruff, but many sufferers have noticed a correlation between dandruff and excessive hair loss. Let’s take a look at dandruff, how it forms, and what you can do to treat the health of your scalp.
Symptoms of Dandruff
Typically, the first sign of dandruff is the appearance of white flakes on the scalp. They are oily in texture and comprise mostly of dead skin. In the fall and winter months, when the air becomes dryer, dandruff becomes more prevalent. Those affected will find their scalp itches much more frequently and a white flaky residue is now on their head and shoulders.
Causes of Dandruff
There are a few contributing factors to dandruff.
Irritated and oily skin: The most common cause of dandruff is irritated and oily skin. You can tell by the greasiness of the scalp and the appearance of either red or yellow scales.
Infrequent shampoos: Without regular hair washes, the scalp becomes overwhelmed with a buildup of oil and skin.
Yeast/Fungus: A yeast-like fungus called Malassezia lives on the scalp of most adults. Unfortunately for some, it can cause irritation that leads to dandruff.
Dry Skin: Dry skin and dandruff are a little harder to differentiate between each other. They look similar but are noticeably different in texture. Dry skin won't have the red irritation that follows dandruff. If your scalp is dry, it's likely that other areas of your body will also suffer from dryness.
Intolerance to Hair Care Products: Hair products are formulated with a variety of ingredients, and some of them can become quite damaging. If you notice a change to your scalp try switching to a gentler shampoo to see if the condition clears on its own.
How Dandruff Effects Hair Loss
The good news is that dandruff does not cause hair to fall out, and in no way does it weaken strands or cause premature balding. Even the redness of the scalp isn't the issue. However, itching your scalp consistently will cause hair loss as frequent scratching, no matter the intensity, will harm your hair.
Because your skin is inflamed and agitated by dandruff, your regular scratching sessions wear down the hair follicle. Many individuals suffering from hair loss will find they are shedding from the roots. The reason your hair is shedding this way is because the constant and aggravated pressure inflicted upon the hair shaft.
Treatment for Dandruff
1. Switch Shampoos.
As we previously mentioned, there are many shampoos formulated with ingredients that are harsh on both the hair and scalp. The easiest (and cheapest) way to find a solution is by changing out your shampoo. You'll want to check that the product doesn't contain an additive that causes issues. If that doesn't work, switch to a mild shampoo designed to relieve dandruff.
2. Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that helps with conditions like dandruff. Just add a little to your current shampoo for at least two weeks.
3. White Vinegar: The acid levels in vinegar make the environment on your scalp unsuitable for fungal growth. Apply in the same manner as tea tree oil, by adding a bit to your shampoo. Because of the smell, you may want to wash twice.
4. Olive Oil: When dandruff is a result of a dry and irritated scalp, olive oil will work wonders. The oil will deeply condition the scalp leaving it well-nourished and moisturized.