Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What Is Dandruff And What Are the Main Factors That Cause It?

If you ever wonder what dandruff really is and like to dig deeper to what the cause is, then there's more to it than just the old myth of bad hygiene. Its natural build-up may have been overlooked by many; however, it can have a long term effect if ignored or not treated properly.

Dandruff affects 50% of the world's adult population (can occur on infants too), is one of the common problems affecting individual's social and physical behavior. It is sometimes called scurf, a skin disorder that builds up during regeneration of the scalp's skin. Normally, old skin cells are replaced by new skin once a month without being visible to the naked eye. With dandruff infested scalp, old skin peels off rapidly and can be distinguished through their flaky formation. Basically, skin regeneration or flaking happens before old skin cells die out. This is why large skin scales are visible when having dandruff problems.

Dandruff attacks in two ways: internally or externally, or it could even be both simultaneously.

Factors of Internal Dandruff:

  • Fungus and bacteria leading to skin inflammation and allergies
  • Irregular hormonal activities
  • Weak Immune System
  • Heredity
  • Emotional stress

Most common fungus:

  • Malassezia - is a normal human scalp thriving-fungus that can cause dandruff if one of its species like Malassezia furfur disposes waste lipids that can cause irritation to the scalp skin or inflammation called Seborrheic Dermatitis. If individual's scalp is sensitive to their lipid wastes, then they are likely to encounter severe itchiness and flaking of the skin.
  • Factors of external dandruff:
  • Skin Inflammation due to strong chemical compounds found in certain hair styling products
  • soap or shampoo residues
  • weather

Most common skin inflammation caused by active ingredients:

  • Contact Dermatitis - an allergic reaction of the skin that can cause inflammation triggered by strong chemical compounds found in anti-dandruff shampoos, hair dyes, hair colors, and other hair treatments.

Dandruff easily attacks on sweaty and oily scalp. These excess normally creates flakes in cold weather resulting in dandruff build-up. Same happens with soap residues as they cause the skin to peel off if improperly washed. Besides washing, it is best to thoroughly comb the hair on a regular basis too.

Signs of Dandruff attack:

  • Itchy scalp
  • Irritating skin
  • Soreness in the scalp
  • Reddish skin spots
  • Flakes

If you are suffering from dandruff, there are several ways to prevent it from causing further build-up: anti-dandruff shampoo remedies and herbal home remedies

Active ingredients in anti-dandruff shampoos:

  • zinc pyritheone
  • Tar based shampoos
  • salicylic acid
  • selenium sulfide

Home & herbal remedies

  • olive oil
  • baking soda.
  • lemon or lime juice
  • tea tree oil
  • thyme
  • white vinegar
  • apple cider vinegar
  • baby oil
  • fenugreek seeds
  • Aloe Vera
  • milk of magnesia

Active ingredients and other anti-fungal agents in many dandruff shampoos have always been effective in slowing down skin cell regeneration and reduce fungus formation. They are quite effective; however, they can cause allergies and inflammatory reaction of the skin. The reaction normally occurs on individuals with hyper-sensitive skin. Therefore, herbal and home remedies are a safer way for them to treat dandruff. If problem persists, dermatologists do have special ointments and medications to treat those.

Skin cells normally regenerate and shed off old skin. It is unlikely for fresh skin to flake off, accompanied with chronic irritations. These are likely symptoms of dandruff in progress. If problem continues, you can always consult with your doctor, apply dandruff shampoo, try other dandruff remedies and avoid other contributing factors. It is best to treat it early, before they can affect other parts of the scalp area.

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