Dandruff is characterized as the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp. It can be a embarrassing condition that causes excess flaking and itching, depending on the severity of the dandruff. Almost half of the world’s population suffers from dandruff. There are many different anti-dandruff shampoos on the market, and the treatment of this condition has created a multibillion dollar industry. Have you ever wondered what causes this common condition? Read on to find out.
What causes dandruff?
There is some disagreement about what causes dandruff, but most experts agree that certain conditions cause the cell turnover in the scalp to be very rapid. For example, people suffering from dandruff shed skin cells in 2-7 days, compared with the normal 30 days.
It is widely believed that 3 things that are required for a person to suffer from dandruff. Skin oil (called sebum or sebaceous) secretions, skin micro organisms (a fungus called Malassezia is the most common) and a personal susceptibility. Malassezia yeasts are found naturally on all people, but in people with dandruff the levels of this micro organism can be up to 2 times the normal level. There is also some evidence that sweating and climate can play a large role in the condition. Although it is rare, allergic reaction to certain chemicals in hair products can cause dandruff.
There are many different anti-dandruff shampoos on the market, but the most common active ingredient for the control of dandruff is Salicylic acid and Zinc pyrithione.
There other conditions, such as seborrhoeic dermatitis and psoriasis, that cause flaking of the scalp but these conditions also affect other parts of the body. If you suffer from bad dandruff it is important to see a dermatologist to get an accurate diagnosis.