Dandruff, is the commonest of all the complaints a Trichologist always encounters. The shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp is called as Dandruff. Dandruff occurs due to an imbalance between cell regeneration and cell shedding.
Factors contributing to Dandruff
1) Poor scalp hygiene.
2) Severe stress.
3) Continuously working under the arc lights.
4) Allergy to cosmetics.
5) Wrong grooming habits.
Dandruff is linked with many myths which are obviously wrong.
MYTHS ON DANDRUFF
MYTH #1 – Dandruff is more common in people with dry scalp.
FACT – Absolutely wrong! Dry scalp simply proves lack of moisture or oil and it may lead to small dry flakes but these flakes does not count to dandruff. This is because dandruff flakes are larger in size, white in color and oily.
MYTH #2 – Dandruff is contagious.
FACT – Probably you don’t like to sit with a person having white flakes on his/her shirt but calling that disease communicable is absolutely not fair. Dandruff can never spread from one person to another.
MYTH #3 – Only adults have dandruff.
FACT – If you are below 12 then you may be right in thinking so but teenagers need to revive their thinking. Dandruff typically occurs during the teenage years. Today, over 50% of the teenagers are a patient to dandruff.
MYTH #4 – Blow drying reduces dandruff.
FACT – Blow drying may make your hair look beautiful on a particular night but it only damages your hair in the long run. It never contributes in the reduction of dandruff.
MYTH #5 – Baldness and dandruff go hand in hand.
FACT – This is the most common understanding among people that dandruff is the only cause for hair fall. However this has never been proved. They may occur simultaneously but the fact that one is the reason for the other is a misconception till now.
MYTH #6 – Dandruff is seasonal.
FACT – You would have hated a particular season if this was so. But the fact is dandruff can occur in all seasons. Extreme conditions like acute heat or cold are a reason for aggravation of dandruff condition.
There are major variants of Dandruff, which are
A) Seborrheic dermatitis/Pityriasis Capitis-
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common, inflammatory skin condition that causes flaky, white to yellowish scales to form on oily areas such as the scalp or inside the ear. It can occur with or without reddened skin. In general, symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include– Skin lesions, Plaques over large area, greasy, oily areas of skin, Skin scales — white and flaking, or yellowish, oily, and adherent — “dandruff”, Itching — may become itchier if infected, Mild redness, Hair loss.
The cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown. It is thought to result from a combination of factors. One factor is the sebum level, which accounts for the fact that this condition occurs more commonly in adolescents when sebaceous glands are most active.
Seborrheic dermatitis can occur in infants younger than three months (cradle cap) and it causes a thick, oily, yellowish crust around the hairline and on the scalp.
B) Psoriasis – Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin. The name psoriasis is from Ancient Greek, meaning roughly “itching condition.” Psoriasis can appear anywhere on the skin. When it forms on the scalp, it is often called scalp psoriasis .Scalp psoriasis can extend beyond the scalp. It can appear on the forehead. Sometimes, it extends to the back of the neck or appears behind the ears. Fingernails can show pitting (pinprick holes) or are separated from the nail bed.
Environmental factors are known to trigger it. Such a factor could be
2) Common infections.
4) Physical agents. (e.g., HIV infection, alcoholism, smoking Etc.)
C) Pityriasis amiantacea (also known as “Tinea amiantacea”) is an eczematous condition of the scalp resulting in hair loss in which thick tenaciously adherent scale infiltrates and surrounds the base of a group of scalp hairs. Pityriasis amiantacea affects the scalp as shiny asbestos-like (amiantaceus) thick scales attached in layers to the hair shaft. The scales surround and bind down tufts of hair. The condition can be localized or covering over the entire scalp. Temporary alopecia and scarring alopecia may occur due to repeated removal of hairs attached to the scale. Pityriasis amiantacea can easily be misdiagnosed due its close resemblance to other scalp diseases such as psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis.