Dandruff, also known as seborrhea, is a common chronic skin condition that causes flakes of the dead skin appear in the hair. Everybody experience dandruff at one point in their lives regardless of their age, sex or ethnicity. Body areas like scalp, eyebrows, ears, face, chest and folds of skin are usually affected by dandruff.
Though dandruff isn't infectious and poses no serious health risk of any kind, it can be a major source of embarrassment and sometimes challenging to treat. Fortunately, dandruff can be controlled with little care. Mild cases of dandruff may be treated with daily shampooing and a mild cleanser, while stubborn cases may be treated with medicated shampoos.
Repeated exposure to extreme heat and cold conditions could be the reason for bringing on dandruff. The condition may get worse with stress. Minor flaking is normal and common as it is usual for skin cells to die and flake off. However, if the skin cells grow and die off too fast, there is a reason to worry about.
Symptoms of Dandruff
The main symptoms of dandruff are easy to spot: white or grey dry flakes of skin on your scalp that dot your hair and shoulders. Your scalp may also feel itchy and dry. The situation may turn ugly during the fall and winter, when indoor heating can make your skin dry, and improve during the hot, summer days.
If the dandruff is link with seborrhoeic dermatitis, a skin condition, the person may also notice additional symptoms. The other symptoms include scaling and itching of the skin. The most affected areas of the body are scalp, face, ears, chest, and skin folds. Mild pink patches and extensive thick crusts of skin can be a sign of scaling. If the scales become infected, it may lead to patches becoming red, painful and discharging fluid. Serious cases of patching on the scalp may cause some degree of hair loss.
Cradle cap is a type of dandruff that can affect babies. Newborn babies may develop yellow, greasy scaly patches on their scalp. Though it can be distressing for parents, it is not dangerous and generally clears up on its own by the age of two.
When to seek a doctor's advice
It is advisable to contact your doctor if you are still scratching your head after several weeks of testing with latest dandruff shampoos, or if your scalp turns red or swollen. You may need a strong medical treatment for this problem. You may be having seborrheic dermatitis or another condition that looks like dandruff. Your doctor can identify the problem just by seeing at your hair and scalp.