“Doctor, How to get rid of dandruff, I have tried almost all the brands of anti-dandruff shampoos, but dandruff still comes back?”
Well, the reality is that dandruff tends to come back. You have to use anti-dandruff shampoos regularly to keep those flakes away. In this article, I have explained about following topics:
- What is dandruff?
- What cause dandruff?
- Which is best anti-dandruff shampoo?
- Which natural dandruff remedies work?
- When should I consult a dermatologist?
What is Dandruff?
In our skin, dead cells are continually replaced by new cells; however this process is imperceptible to human eyes. When this shedding of dead cells increases, they are visible as tiny white flakes called dandruff. Thus, the physiological process of scaling is aggravated in dandruff without any element of inflammation. When inflammation occurs, it is termed as Seborrheic dermatitis.
What causes Dandruff?
Dandruff or Seborrheic dermatitis occurs because of overgrowth of fungus that usually lives on your scalp and survives on the oil secretion. This overgrowth is triggered by:
- Adolescence: Dandruff is particularly common during the phase of adolescence because it is the time when your oil-secreting glands are very active.
- Poor scalp hygiene: This occurs due to infrequent or inefficient washing of your hair, the latter occurs when you do not completely remove the oil applied to your scalp. Thus, oiling of the scalp is not a problem, until and unless you wash it off thoroughly.
- Oily Hair: Oily hairs have abundant food for the fungus that leads to dandruff.
- Poor diet: Diet deficient in zinc, vitamin B or essential fatty acids can also cause itchy and flaky scalp.
- Stress: It is an important trigger not only for dandruff but also for itchy scalp.
- Medical disorders: Dandruff specifically Seborrheic dermatitis is common in AIDS, Parkinson’s disease or in any chronic illness.
Which is the best anti-dandruff shampoo?
Hmm..after treating thousands of patients with dandruff, I can tell you that your dandruff tends to get resistant to anti-dandruff shampoos over a period of time. Therefore, you should ideally start with OTC brands and moe on the medicated shampoos if your dandruff refuses to go by the basic brands available in the market: I have listed below the sequence in which anti-dandruff shampoo should be tried:
- ZPTO or Zinc pyrithione is the active agent in most anti-dandruff shampoos available in the market including the popular brand, Head & Shoulders. Besides anti-fungal action, it reduces oil production and normalises skin turnover.
- Nutrium 10 is present in Clear shampoos. The manufacturers claim that Nutrium 10 is innovative technology that treats dandruff at the root; nourishes the scalp to eliminate flakes, soothes dryness and repairs the scalp barriers to strengthening its natural resistance and has the benefits of pro-vitamins, minerals and sunflower oils. (Source- Clear website).
- Neem/tea tree oil based anti-dandruff shampoos: Most people who have already tried the above 2 types shampoos, might benefit from the natural anti-dandruff shampoos.
- Selenium sulphide based shampoo: Selsun shampoo available online in India and US.
- Salicylic acid-based shampoo: They loosen adhesion between skin cells and thus reduce dandruff. They are available online in India and US.
- Ketaconazole based shampoo: They are available online in India and US.
If Ketoconazole shampoo has stopped working for you then you should consult a dermatologist for prescription based solutions for your dandruff.
Watch this video to know in details about hair care in dandruff:
Which natural dandruff remedies work?
The list of home remedies is vast, but I am listing the one with some scientific evidence:
- Aloe vera: It can be applied on scalp surface and rinsed off after an hour; alternatively aloe-vera based shampoos can be used.
- Neem: Neem leaves have anti-fungal action and can be used after boiling them in water.
- Tea-tree oil: Tea-tree oil is antiseptic and can be can be applied to the scalp either diluted with oil or tea-tree oil based shampoo can be used.
- Lemon juice or vinegar: Either of these can be used after dilution in oil.
You can also try these ayurvedic anti-dandruff oils with many active ingredients available in the market.
When should I consult dermatologist?
You should consult dermatologist, if your dandruff is accompanied by itching redness or scally patches, because this indicates you have seborrheic dermatitis.
Rarely, allergy of scalp can present as dandruff. In this situation, the anti-dandruff shampoos can indeed worsen your problem and your scalp might feel dry rather than oily.