What is dandruff?

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Dandruff refers to the dead skin cells from the scalp area. When the scalp is healthy and normal, the dead skin cells are regularly shed off about once a month or so.  These cells are often too little to be detected after combing the hair or after shampooing. When there are health issues involving the scalp, the dead skin cells may accumulate with oil and other particles forming bigger and more visible flakes which many people refer to as dandruff. These flaky skin cells are shed off more often than normal with some people having them regularly every week.  People that have dandruff typically complain about itching and flaky skin in their scalp area.  Dandruff in the hair also causes embarrassment for many people.  There are also cases wherein the presence of dandruff also comes with unhealthy hair.

The cause of dandruff formation may be divided into internal and external factors.  Internal causes include stress, hormonal problems in the body, sleep problems, and problems relating to the immune system.  Allergies to certain food and other products may also result to dryness and flaking in the scalp area leading to the frequency of dandruff.  External causes of dandruff are typically attributed to the use of hair products such as shampoo, hair gels, and creams.  Frequent use of hair care devices like blowers and dryers may also contribute to dandruff.

In terms of treatment, products that contain zinc pyritheone and selenium sulfide are effective against dandruff.  Many shampoos and scalp or hair creams contain these active ingredients to stop the formation of dandruff.  Many products against dandruff also target fungi and bacteria which promote the accumulation of dead skin cells in the scalp and integrate them with oil and other remnants of hair products.  Products that contain ketoconazole are effective against these fungi and bacteria and therefore will work to treat dandruff problems.

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