You may remember the old Head & Shoulders television commercials that always showed someone brushing dandruff off someone else’s shoulder.
Those commercials focused on the embarrassment of having white, flaky stuff on your shoulder, but there’s a scientific explanation for how dandruff gets there.
What is dandruff?
Seborrheic dermatitis is the medical term for dandruff, which involves scaling and flaking of the scalp.
Dandruff is a condition caused by a yeast that likes to live in the oily parts of the scalp, as well as hair-bearing areas like the eyebrows, the inside of the nose, and even the chest.
As the yeast grows, it irritates the skin, causing it to become itchy, scaly and red. That’s what seborrheic dermatitis, or dandruff, is.
How do you get rid of dandruff?
Because dandruff is caused by yeast, one treatment option is to try and knock out the yeast.
That’s what products like Head & Shoulders and Selsun Blue attempt to do. They contain an ingredient that reduces the yeast.
Unfortunately, most people find that these products aren’t very effective at treating dandruff. Not only is the yeast often able to overcome this ingredient, but treating the yeast doesn’t properly treat the itchy, red, scaly inflammation caused by the yeast.
This inflammation is best treated with a mild, topical steroid prescribed by a board certified dermatologist. This dramatically reduces inflammation very quickly. In many cases, cream can help melt dandruff scales.
Dry scalp is exactly what the name says it is. The scalp becomes very dry from over-washing, or from chemicals used in hair dyes and other products. There is generally less redness and itching with dry scalp.
It can be difficult to treat irritation caused by the use of a particular product.
Dandruff is caused by yeast, not an individual product, and it’s an ongoing condition.
Understand What Treatment Is Designed to Do
Keep in mind that the treatment of dandruff is a management solution. You can’t get rid of it all together, so it’s important to have realistic expectations.
Dandruff usually comes back, and it can be very frustrating. It’s not because the medication isn’t working. The medication is a way of managing the condition, not eliminating it.
There is no one-time treatment to eliminate dandruff, but Epiphany Dermatology can help you reduce inflammation and control the uncomfortable itching.