Dandruff can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. There are plenty of treatments and prevention methods out there for those who suffer from dandruff, but it helps to understand just how this condition occurs in the first place. Read this article to learn more about why dandruff occurs, what causes it and the typical symptoms you might notice.
Dandruff is a chronic skin condition that is also known as seborrhea. It is most commonly associated with the scalp, but it can actually affect other areas of skin as well. Normal skin sheds dead cells at a rate of about 30,000 to 40,000 cells per day. With dandruff, however, dead skin cells shed at a faster rate due to a heightened production of oil in those areas of the skin. These dead cells form small clumps, which become noticeable once they fall off.
The good news about dandruff is that it won't harm your health. Fortunately, it is a skin condition that, although embarrassing at times, can usually be treated effectively with over-the-counter medication and special shampoos and conditioners.
Dandruff is a fairly common condition, with more men being affected than women. In many cases, the skin is simply producing excess oil which causes the increase in dead skin cells being shed. However, there are several other factors which can come into play to cause dandruff including:
The most common symptoms of dandruff include:
To check if you have dandruff, look at your scalp in the mirror (or have a friend or family member inspect your scalp for you). Look closely for red, dry patches of skin or tiny yellow clumps of dead skin. Scratch your scalp gently to see if any dry, white flakes appear or fall out.
Another good test to check for dandruff is to take a shower and wash your hair with regular shampoo. After the shower, comb out your hair and look at your scalp. People without dandruff usually wash out any excess dead skin cells while shampooing. If you still have noticeable flakes on your scalp right after a shampoo, you may have dandruff. If you have any concerns about your dandruff or how to treat it, see a doctor.
Although many people develop dandruff naturally (rather than as a result of anything they've done), there are a few ways you can try to prevent it or keep it from getting any worse:
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