How to get rid of dandruff
Dandruff is a non-contagious, common skin disorder affecting babies through to adults. Dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis, also known as cradle cap in infants, is an excessive production of skin cells caused by the Malassezia yeast (a type of fungus). When this occurs on the scalp, it produces a build up of greasy scales which eventually start falling off in large amounts, causing the white, flaky appearance of dandruff.
Symptoms of dandruff can come and go, often worsening in winter and sometimes related to hormones. There isn’t a cure and once you have dandruff, treating and getting rid of it is an ongoing process. Fortunately there are many excellent products that effectively control dandruff, even very severe cases. It’s usually a matter of experimenting with different products to find what works best for you.
Mild cases of dandruff can sometimes be solved simply by washing your hair more frequently. Wash your hair every day for a week using a shampoo for greasy hair. Thoroughly massage your scalp while you’re washing to help dislodge loose flakes and see whether this helps.
Popular anti-dandruff shampoos such as Head & Shoulders are very good at getting rid of dandruff. Their main active ingredient is called zinc pyrithione, an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent which helps slow down the production of new skin cells.These shampoos must be used regularly and left on the scalp for long enough to allow the ingredients to penetrate the layers of skin cells. These shampoos are gentle, smell lovely and usually have many varieties suitable for different hair types.
There is another type of anti-dandruff shampoo that uses a different anti-fungal agent called ketoconazole. If you don’t have any success with a regular anti-dandruff shampoo, you might find one such as Nizoral shampoo to be more effective. This should be used about four times a week until dandruff has gone, then as often as needed.
Severe cases of dandruff and itchy scalps often respond well to coal tar based shampoos such as T/Gel. These go to work by chemically treating and exfoliating the excess skin cells on the scalp as well as relieving any associated itching. The main active ingredient in these shampoos is coal tar extract in varying degrees depending on which strength shampoo you buy. Although effective, the coal tar smell is hard to disguise. It’s suitable for dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis.
Try rubbing olive oil into your scalp then leaving it for an hour before washing it out with a regular shampoo. This helps to soften any scales, making them easier to dislodge when washing your hair afterwards. Tea tree oil is a very effective natural remedy for treating dandruff. Its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties make it ideal for treating the cause of dandruff. You can either add a few drops of the oil to your regular shampoo or buy a special tea tree oil shampoo.