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How to Know if You Have Dandruff or Simply a Dry Scalp:

 Dandruff, everyone gets dandruff at some point; Dandruff can be described as a condition where there is occurrence of flaking of the scalp.  Dandruff is shedding of dead skin form the scalp, and is not to be confused with simply a dry scalp.  Dandruff comes in two types – dry and waxy; many people are not aware and either over treat or under treat the condition.  So before you self diagnose whether you have one of these types of dandruffs not just a dry scalp please read on.

Some people think their dandruff is caused by their scalp being too dry.  They try to deal with this by not washing their hair with shampoo, or wash it less often, believing that washing worsens the problem.  This is a myth (not true).  Dandruff differs from a dry scalp in that it usually gets better when you shampoo more frequently (with the right shampoos).

Dandruff is more common in men than in women, and in people with oily skin.  Some studies have suggested that diets that are too salty, sugary or spicy and accompanied by excessive alcohol may exacerbate dandruff.  Dandruff can be chronicle (long-term) or the result of certain triggers.  People with dandruff may also experience irritation and redness on the scalp.  In general, the health of a person is dependent upon diet, exercise and energy levels.   Excessive flaking may be caused by an underlying illness or condition, such as psoriases, a fungal infection, seborrheic dermatitis, or even head lice.  Other causes that might contribute to this condition are emotional tension, harsh shampoos, exposure to cold and general exhaustion.

Types of Dandruff:

Oil-Related Dandruff (Pityriasis-capitis): which is of a snowy dehydrated flakey consistency, falling from the scalp.  This type of dandruff typically occurs from bad hygiene practices.  Oil-related dandruff comes from not shampooing your hair often enough.

Yeast-Related Dandruff (Seborrhea Dermatitis): if the scalp is extremely greasy, and feels waxy like.  This condition almost always needs medical attention, so medicated shampoos that contain zinc as an ingredient.  This type of dandruff is formed due to the presence of a fungus called malassezia, which is present on the surface of every scalp without causing problems of dandruff.  However, when excess oil is present on the head, it provides enough food for the fungus to grow out of control.  As the fungus feeds, the skin becomes more and more irritated because of the formation of additional skin cells.

There is another type of dandruff called Disease-Related Dandruff.  It forms as a secondary side effect of any scalp disorder.  As the additional skin cells shed, they combine with sebum oil and transform into a case of dandruff.  Another example is eczema.  This is a common skin condition that can produce itching and dryness on the scalp ultimately contributing to the formation of dandruff.

…now are you thinking you just have a dry scalp?  If so simply increasing the moisture level of your regimen will do well enough for you.  My rule of thumb for my clients is as follows:

“If you have to increase the moisture you are putting on your hands or face, then you are going to have to do the same for your hair and scalp.  Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.”

Another tip to help break up the flaky skin is to exfoliate.  My favorite trick to soothe a dry, itchy winter scalp, is to crush a few ibuprofen and mix them into a moisture rich shampoo.  Works much like an apricot scrub -the ibuprofen helps to elevate irritation.  The crushed pill particles work as an exfoliant to scrub and remove dead skin cells from scalp to make it flake free.

If you think you may have more then a dry itchy scalp, talk to your stylist to discuss shampoos that will help with your Dandruff and if not they will refer you to see your family Doctor or a Dermatologist.  -Matrix Makes a great Dandruff Shampoo if you do not feel comfortable talking to your stylist quite yet.  It is a professional formula containing Pyrithione Zinc and Bio Cushion Complex that cleanses and removes pollutants, helping to alleviate the symptoms of dandruff.

Here are a few other household tips if you are certain you have dandruff that may help:

  • Massage your scalp with almond oil and steam your hair in it.  This is done by taking a towel dipped in boiling water and wrapping it around your hair like a turban.  Let sit until towel is cool and rinse with luke warm to cooler water.
  • You can also prepare a homemade mixture consisting of 1tbsp of fresh lemon juice with 100g of witch hazel in 200ml of water.  Use this on washed hair.  If this is continued regularly, it maybe the long-term cure for the problem of dandruff.

November 10, 2012

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