One of the most common hair problems that many people have is dandruff. A person who has dandruff suffers from embarrassment and lack of confidence. He feels worse when people standing close by suddenly move further away. The sight of someone with dandruff can put one off. Imagine a person who is smartly dressed but has white powdery specks all over his shoulders!! This detracts from his image as a well-groomed person. It may also lead others to wonder at his standard of personal hygiene.
What is dandruff?
They are tiny white flakes that fall from the scalp onto the shoulders of dandruff sufferers. This is very noticeable when they wear dark-colored clothing and these little white specks stand out very clearly.
These white flakes are actually the dead skin cells that have sloughed off from our scalps.It is normal for us to shed dead skin cells from our body as our cells renew themselves regularly. However in some people this natural shedding process happens more quickly than is normal, resulting in an accumulation of these dead cells.
When there are too many dead cells stacked up, the scalp begins to itch. We try to relieve this uncomfortable itch by scratching our scalps which leads to the flakes falling off onto our shoulders.
How does one get dandruff?
There could be several causes although it can be quite difficult to pin down the exact cause. Some people are more prone to dandruff than others. It could be an allergy that triggered it or it could be poor hair care.
Some people do not wash their hair regularly, leading to a build up of sebum which makes the scalp oily. An oily scalp can be a contributory factor to dandruff. This is made worse if a person perspires a lot and the scalp and hair are wet with sweat, especially during the hot weather.
Using the wrong hair products can also cause dandruff. Certain ingredients in hair care products and dyes can irritate the scalp, causing it to itch. Using too many hair styling products is also not good for your hair or scalp. The chemicals could cause dandruff if the scalp is sensitive.
It can also be caused by a certain type of fungus. This fungus, known as malassezia, which feeds on the sebum produced by the sebaceous glands, can irritate the scalp and cause over production of skin cells which die and are shed off as tiny white flakes.
Eczema can also occur on the scalp leading to dandruff.
Is there any treatment for dandruff?
If the scalp is very oily, then hair must be washed frequently to remove the oil and the dead skin cells. There are special anti-dandruff shampoos which will clean the scalp effectively and prevent dandruff. It is preferable to use shampoos that do not contain chemicals like sodium lauryl sulphate and zinc pyrithione that are harmful because they are toxic substances.
Rinsing the hair with lemon juice mixed with water will leave it clean and shiny apart from smelling good. Lemon juice also kills germs.
Maintaining a healthy clean scalp and washing your hair frequently will keep dandruff at bay. Do not share your comb or hairbrush with others. This will prevent the spread of fungus. If you go to the hair salon regularly, bring along your own set of combs and hair brushes. To have a head of healthy hair requires a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables plus drinking plenty of water.
Nothing is more demoralizing than to know that your smart appearance and good personal grooming have come to naught simply because of dandruff. If nothing is done about dandruff it can lead to hair loss eventually.