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Causes, symptoms and treatments

Dandruff is the most common condition of the scalp characterised by an appearance of white flakes of skin on the shoulders and noticeable patches in the hair. Itching often accompanies it. It is a harmless condition of the scalp skin that occurs when the scalp becomes greasy or dry and starts overproducing skin cells, causing visible white flakes of dead skin cells.

Although dandruff is harmless, it can be embarrassing for individuals who have it. It usually affects children and early adults having age between 12 to 20 and affects up to 35% of people over the age of 40.


Formation and shedding of skin cells on the scalp is a continuous and regular process.   At the normal rate, on average 21-28 days, we hardly notice it. When the shedding of dead skin cells become obvious, it becomes dandruff. It is only when the production of new cells are accelerated- in this case- to a few days that we start to notice.

Several things can cause dandruff, including dry and greasy skin; sensitivity to hair care products and certain skin conditions such as eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis.

The overgrowth of fungi can also cause dandruff. This growth can be caused by problems with the immune system, too much oil on the scalp, stress, or hormonal imbalance.

Symptoms and Complications

The appearance of the white flakes of dead skin in the hair and on the shoulders is the typical symptom of dandruff. White flakes are often, but not always, accompanied by a red, itchy or scaly scalp. The scalp becomes greasy or dry and feels itchy. As more and more skin cells die, they turn to yellowish scales. Normal dandruff flakes are scattered throughout the scalp; however, if seborrheic dermatitis is the underlying cause, the symptoms usually appear gradually. A bad case can also cause severe symptoms in other body parts. In such cases, reddish or yellowish scaling can appear on the neck, on the nose and chest or in and around the ears. Affected new-borns may get a yellowish, thick and crusty rash on the scalp, medically called cradle cap.


Treatment aims to reduce or stop dandruff by slowing down the faster turnover of skin cells or counteracting the predisposing factors like yeast production. The strategy will depend on the age of the patient and the severity of the symptoms. However, there are some lifestyle modifications, home remedies and medications that can help; these include:

Diet: consume enough foods that contain zinc, B vitamins, and biotin.

Managing stress: managing the stress better can reduce symptoms because it can be the triggering cause of dandruff in some people.

Sunlight: Excessive sunlight exposure is damaging; however, a little exposure can be helpful.

Shampooing more often: the excessive use or the opposite, not enough, can cause dandruff. Using a shampoo suited to your hair will reduce the condition- and in this case, the team at Trichologica can help you with this from our range of products.

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