Dandruff: if the scalp revolts
Dandruff is unpleasant. The majority of adults struggle with dandruff. Anti-dandruff shampoos help, but unfortunately not always. It's high time to track down the dandruff!
What are dandruff?
First a reassuring information: Everyone has dandruff. Because our scalp renews itself every 28 days, throwing away dead skin flakes every day. Skin cells migrate from deeper to upper skin layers and are repelled at the surface. Often, however, they are so small that one does not notice them. If this renewal process of the skin takes place too quickly, for example, the skin cells stick together and become visible as scales.
Dry or oily dandruff?
Depending on the trigger, a distinction is made between dry dandruff, which trickles from the head to the shoulders as small, light skin flakes and is often an indication of dry scalp, and, if the skin forms too much fat (sebum), larger, oily dandruff, which shimmers oily yellow and adheres to the head. Oily dandruff is often accompanied by an inflamed scalp or itching. Dandruff is not always a purely cosmetic problem, it can also be a symptom of skin diseases (e.g. eczema, psoriasis).
Possible causes of dandruff
The trigger for the faster formation of new skin is a microorganism, a yeast fungus called Malassezia globosa. This fungus occurs in small quantities as a normal inhabitant of our skin and scalp. As the fungus feeds particularly well on the sebum secreted by our sebaceous glands, increased sebum formation often leads to a strong proliferation of the fungus. This can lead to further irritation. As a defensive reaction, the skin begins to form more new skin cells than usual in order to quickly repel the endangering influences from the body, thus creating dandruff. Possible causes for an increased dandruff formation of the skin and scalp are therefore:
- Fungal diseases of the scalp
- Irritating hair care (frequent shampooing, aggressive shampoos, hot blow-drying)
- Climate (e.g. cold, heating air in winter or solar radiation, heat in summer)
- Hormonal changes (puberty, menopause)
- Hereditary predisposition
- Wrong diet
When to see a doctor in case of dandruff - Diagnosis
If shampoos are unsuccessful and symptoms persist or recur over a long period of time, it is advisable to consult a doctor or pharmacist. The characteristics of dandruff are often clear, so that with a few specific questions and an examination of the scalp a diagnosis can be quickly made by the doctor. Depending on the cause, further examinations (e.g. allergy test, blood test, pathogen detection) may be necessary.
Treat dandruff: What helps?
If dandruff is a concomitant symptom of a skin disease, it should be the focus of therapy. The cause and intensity of dandruff formation are decisive for the effectiveness of a remedy against dandruff. For simple dandruff, the short-term use of cosmetic anti-dandruff shampoos can help to control the dandruff or provide temporary relief. However, the pathogens often want to reclaim their territory and dandruff occurs again. Medical shampoos such as the classic active ingredient ketoconazole are suitable for counteracting dandruff on a long-term basis.
- Ketoconazole combats the cause of dandruff, the fungal disease
- Can be used as a cure for a limited period of two to four weeks or as a prophylaxis every one to two weeks.
In the case of very persistent dandruff in combination with severely inflamed scalp, the use of solutions containing cortisone can be useful.
Tips against dandruff
1. Do not wash or blow-dry your hair hot. Better let the wet hair dry in the air and do not rub too dry. If this is not possible for time reasons, blow-dry with sufficient distance to the scalp.
2. The use of mild shampoos and few additional hair care products keeps the scalp in balance.
3. Even if the scalp itches, it is recommended not to scratch.
4. Permanent wearing of caps or baseball caps should be avoided as the scalp needs air.
5. a balanced diet strengthens the body and can prevent dandruff.
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