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HealthHow to deal with DANDRUFF

How to deal with DANDRUFF

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Ever have to deal with those pesky flakes falling off your head when you give your hair a morning brush? Or when you just cant seem to get rid of that head itch.
It could be that you have dandruff. Don't panic, even though it is harmless, dandruff can be embarrassing for those who have it. So we put together some information for you to know how to take care of this condition.

So what is dandruff?

Dandruff is a condition which occurs usually during puberty and reaches peak in early adulthood. Skin cells on the scalp shed normally. With dandruff, however, skin cells are shed at a faster rate than normal. Oil from the scalp causes the skin cells to clump together and appear as white flakes (scaling).

What are the causes?

Skin conditions such as psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, or eczema can cause dandruff. Also, irritants to the scalp such as hair dyes and relaxers can also lead to dandruff. Even poor rinsing after shampooing the hair can leave traces of shampoo which could irritate the scalp. It can be also caused by a mild form of seborrhoeic dermatitis and is associated with the yeast Malassezia furfur.

So what does it look like?

Dandruff is characterised by greyish-white flakes or scales on the scalp and an itchy scalp as a result of excessive scaling.
It is located only on the scalp and is generally a mild condition. However, scratching an itch caused by the dryness of the scalp may cause breakage of the skin, leading to soreness and the possibility of an infection. If there are signs of infections (crusting or weeping), you should seek medical attention from your pharmacist or doctor.

How to treat your dandruff.

Dandruff treatments, which should show results of improvement within 12 weeks of starting, need to be applied to the scalp and be left for at least 5 minutes for the best effect. However, if an appropriate treatment has been correctly used with no improvements, you should speak to your pharmacist or doctor.
Look out for hair products with these ingredients to help to treat dandruff.
•   Ketoconazole 2% shampoo, is an anti fungal agent used to reduce the level of M.furfur on the scalp. It can be used twice a week for 2-4 weeks, then once weekly or fortnightly to prevent reoccurrence.
•   Zinc pyrithione reduces the over growth of cells on the scalp and should be used twice weekly for the first 2 weeks, then once weekly as required.
•   Selenium sulphide 2.5% has been shown to be effective and works by reducing the growth of cells as well. It should be used twice a week for the first 2 weeks then weekly for the following 2 weeks, then it can be used as needed.

Please Note 

- Wash your hair thoroughly when using shampoos with selenium sulphide as discolouration of blond, grey or dyed hair can result. Frequent use can make the scalp greasy and therefore worsen seborrhoeic dermatitis. Products containing selenium sulphide should not be used within 48 hours of colouring or relaxing the hair. Also do not use selenium sulphide on inflamed or broken skin. 
- It is important to remember that treatment will not cure the dandruff permanently and it is advised to continuously use anti dandruff treatment occasionally to prevent reoccurrence.
- It is the scalp that requires the treatment and not the hair, therefore the treatment should be applied directly to the scalp and left for at least 5 minutes before rinsing.
- It is generally agreed that frequent hair washing is an important part of managing dandruff (3 times a week). You can use your normal shampoo between the days you use anti-dandruff treatment.

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Information sourced from “Symptoms in the pharmacy by Blenkinsopp et al” and
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