According to leading hair care brand Head & Shoulders, 1 in 2 people have suffered from dandruff at least once in their lives, most commonly around puberty when hormones start to change. They note that the cause of dandruff is a naturally-occurring microbe on the scalp known as Malassezia globosa, which then feeds on your scalp sebum, producing a by-product called oleic acid. Almost half the population is allergic to oleic acid, and when present on their scalp, it reacts by becoming irritated, inflamed, and itchy, and begins to shed skin cells faster in an attempt to get rid of the irritant. The shedding of the skin is what causes the flakes known as dandruff.
While dandruff is considered an aesthetic rather than a medical problem, anyone who has suffered with this condition would agree that as soon as you experience it, you immediately want to know how to treat it.
Shampoo and scalp treatments are key to treating dandruff
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) believes the most effective and affordable way to treat dandruff is to use dandruff shampoo and scalp treatments. You can buy these at your local drugstore, however, it’s important to follow instructions on the bottle to achieve the best result. It’s also important to note that ethnicity could play a role in treating dandruff. The AAD recommends that Caucasians and Asians shampoo every day, and use dandruff shampoo twice a week to treat dandruff. African-Americans should shampoo only once a week with a dandruff shampoo.
If you are not seeing a difference, try another shampoo or treatment with slightly different active ingredients. It’s worth noting that the AAD warns against the use of dandruff treatments containing coal tar as it can discolor light-colored hair and make your scalp more sensitive to the sun. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and there’s still no improvement, book yourself in with a fully-qualified dermatologist as it may be a more serious issue, such as eczema.
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