Dandruff is a mild form of seborrhoeic eczema on the hairy head that causes a lot of skin flakes. They can also occur in the eyebrows and men in the beard or moustache, behind the ears or on the chest.
The small white flakes are usually loose in the hair and can whirl down and be seen on the clothes.
Roots cannot hurt and are not contagious. It can not cause baldness either.
How do flakes develop?
The flakes are old skin cells that release as soon as new skin cells are formed. With normal skin, these flakes are small and almost invisible.
In the case of eczema, however, the skin renews much faster and more and larger flakes are produced. Besides, they can clump together, making them even more visible.
How does dandruff develop?
Why one person gets flakes, and the other does not, is not precisely known. Possibly there is an (inherited) disposition. What certainly plays a role is the fatness of the skin due to excessive sebum production.
This is usually accompanied by an increased presence of certain types of fungi from the Pytiriasis or Malassezia family, such as Pityrosporum ovale, which occur naturally on everyone’s (primary) skin.
Roots can also be a result of dehydration as a result of shampoos against greasy hair, or irritation from shampoos or other hair care products, or due to a too dry (indoor) climate.
Head dandruff often begins in puberty. About half of the twenty-year-olds suffer from it, men slightly more often than women. Usually, it is less after the fiftieth year.
In babies, fatty yellow flakes sometimes appear on the head during the first months of life. That form of dandruff is called ‘mountain’. This form often disappears automatically before the first birthday.
Worse in the winter
Dandruff often gets worse at low temperatures and low humidity. In the winter in cold weather and with the heating on, you can have more problems with it. Sunlight (UVB radiation) gives improvement. Take advantage of sunny days.
What can you do?
Usually, dandruff disappears automatically after some time, but it can always come back.
• It is better not to scratch, as this damages the skin and can make the symptoms worse.
• Wash your hair every day or a few times a week with a mild or pH-neutral shampoo if you suffer from dandruff. Massaging the scalp reduces the flaking. Always rinse the shampoo thoroughly. If soap residues remain, they can irritate the scalp.
• You can often solve the problem with an anti-dandruff shampoo. It contains selenium sulphide or zinc pyrithione that slow down the rapid production of skin cells. Let the shampoo work for five to ten minutes before you rinse the hair with warm water. In the beginning, it is advisable to wash the hair daily or every other day. If the rose is visibly reduced, a mild (no oily!) Shampoo will suffice. You can use the anti-dandruff shampoo 1 to 2 times per week as maintenance therapy.
• With a baby with milk crusts, you can rub the head with oil (baby oil, salad oil or olive oil). Let the oil work for a few hours or a whole night. Then you can carefully scrape the milk crusts, for example with a playing card. After a while, the milk crusts will also disappear automatically.
• Hair care goods such as gel, or hairspray do not affect dandruff. You can continue to use them.
Consult your doctor in one of the following cases:
• The complaints are dangerous, and you also have other skin problems;
• If the skin is inflamed, for example by scratching;
• If there has been no improvement six weeks after the start of treatment with a special shampoo;
• If there is hair loss. Then the complaint is no ordinary dandruff;
• If the scaling looks silvery and there are also irritated scaling spots elsewhere on the body, for example in the knee cavities or the cavities of the elbows. Even then it is probably not dandruff.