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May 16, 2019

What causes dandruff – and how to deal with it

And why you may want to work on de-stressing your life

Adult Health Dandruff
Woman Hair A 05162019 Photo by Element5 Digital/from Pexels


When you are getting ready for a night on the town with your friends, is dandruff the one accessory you wish you weren’t bringing along? Do you avoid wearing dark colored shirts because of it?

The flaking of your scalp, while not a serious health condition, can be embarrassing especially when it constantly seems like you have snow in your hair and sprinkled on your shoulders. Luckily, treatment is simple and easily accessible. First, just try to wash your hair regularly with a gentle shampoo, but if the flakes and itchy scalp don’t clear up, there are other options available. (Sources: Mayo Clinic, American Academy of Dermatology and Cleveland Clinic.)

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• Dandruff shampoos – There are several different types of dandruff shampoos available at your local drugstore. Each of them has different ingredients so you might need to try a few before finding the one that works best. Shampoos with zinc pyrithione and ketoconazole target fungus that can sometimes cause dandruff, while those with Selenium sulfide combat dandruff by slowing down the death of skin cells.

• Stronger medicated shampoos and steroid treatments are available by prescription.

• Stress can be contributing to your problem so work on ways to reduce any major stressors in your life.

• A little extra time in the sun can be good for your scalp, but be careful. Too much ultralight exposure can increase your risk for skin cancer so always wear sunscreen when you are outside.

• Some essential oils like Tea Tree and Frankincense, which comes from the Boswellia serrata tree, have shown promise in reducing the fungi and bacteria than can cause dandruff.

When using dandruff shampoos always follow the instructions carefully. Some may need to be left in your hair for a few minutes while others should be rinsed out immediately. The American Academy of Dermatology also warns that if you have light-colored hair, dandruff shampoo with coal tar may discolor your hair and increase your scalp’s sensitivity to light.

For more information on safe and effective ways to treat the underlying causes of dandruff, talk to your family doctor or dermatologist.

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