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Coping With Dandruff

By: Steven Goodman - Updated: 16 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Dandruff Dandruff Flakes Flakes Dry

Dandruff in its simplest explanation is dead skin cells flaking off of the scalp. This is a perfectly normal occurrence and bodily function. In most people everyday grooming and washing with a regular shampoo removes the flakes so they are not noticeable. However in some folks, certain conditions or triggers cause the cell die off to be more severe, and the resulting Dandruff to be far more noticeable, especially when wearing that favorite black turtle neck. Dandruff at this level is usually accompanied by itching and redness making it as annoying as it can be embarrassing. Most cases of dandruff can be brought under control with the use of an over-the-counter anti dandruff product.

What Causes Dandruff?
While Dandruff has been around for a long, long time, even modern medical science has yet to agree 100% on what causes it. The most common medical thinking is that excessive itching and flaking of skin is due to a scalp fungus. The fungus lives in the scalp of all people. But some individuals who are predisposed to dandruff have a reaction to the oily waste products of the fungus. In such a susceptible person, in reaction to the fatty wastes of the fungus, the scalp produces more oils. This environment causes more skin cells to die, and results in the flaking and itching typical of dandruff. In susceptible individuals stress also seems to bring on an exacerbation of the dandruff, leading some scientists to believe there is an autoimmune aspect the condition. There are several myths sand misconceptions surrounding dandruff. One that it is a living organism like head lice, not true the white flakes are just dead skin. Another widely held misbelief is that dandruff leads to hair lose, there is no evidence of this.

Treatments for Dandruff
While dandruff is an ailment that cannot be cured, it can certainly be treated effectively. There is no need for someone to walk around with embarrassing dandruff. The most tried and true methods are still the most effective. And that is daily shampooing with a quality anti-dandruff shampoo. For years that has been Head & Shoulders, with the active ingredient zinc pyrithione. It was one of the first effective anti-dandruff shampoos and still works for many people .Any shampoo will remove the flakes, but anti-fungal ingredients like zinc pyrithione help make dramatic improvements in the condition. Over the years much more effective anti-fungals have been discovered and more powerful anti-dandruff shampoos have been developed. In clinical studies ketoconazole, the active ingredient in the brand name Nizoral has been shown to be significantly more effective than zinc pyrithione. Nizoral has become the most recommended anti dandruff shampoo by doctors and pharmacists. Ketoconazole is not only an effective anti-fungal, its effects seems to last for days after use, so you do not have to use it everyday to treat the dandruff.

Natural Remedies and Prevention of Dandruff
While there are a wide variety of effective anti-dandruff shampoos available, some people prefer a natural approach. Here are some alternative suggestions to help control and prevent dandruff.

  • Adjust your diet - some naturopathic advocates suggest foods rich in B-vitamins can help control and prevent dandruff. They also suggest avoiding foods that are known allergens and can provoke a dandruff reaction such as chocolates, nuts and shellfish.
  • Sulfur applied to the scalp
  • Garlic eaten or in capsule form
  • Oil of oregano

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