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Dandruff is an annoying and embarrassing scalp condition. The scalp sheds off an excessive amount of dead cells. It is accompanied by itching and can spread to the eyebrows, neck, and shoulders. What causes dandruff cannot be exactly pinpointed. However, there are external and internal triggers related to the appearance of dandruff. 

Internal causes are pinpointed as poor diet, stress, hormonal imbalance, allergies, heredity, and physical exhaustion. External causes are weather conditions, improper use of hair care products, and infrequent or insufficient hygiene practices.

The discovery of fungi that thrives on the scalp has led to the development of better scalp and hair care formulations that have shown to be effective in minimizing or controlling dandruff; and despite the several anti-dandruff shampoos available, there is no cure for the condition. It can only be controlled or minimized.

The frequent use of the same dandruff shampoo becomes ineffective. It is advised to switch shampoos when the shampoo is not giving the desired results.  Dandruff sufferers should also take into account weather conditions. Dandruff is a chronic condition. It comes and goes and is severe during the winter months and eases off during warmer weather.

Contrary to belief that dry scalp tends to grow dandruff, oily scalp can set off the dandruff. An oily scalp is the ideal environment for the Pityroporum ovale. The discovery of this fungus has led to the development of a shampoo formula that has yielded better results in the treatment of scalp condition caused by the fungus.

Treatment for dandruff:

Traditional medicated shampoos for dandruff use ingredients like salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, ciclopirox or ketoconazole. These components reduce the presence of Malassezia yeasts on the scalp. These are also helpful in easing seborrhoeic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis. Hair care products or shampoos containing coal tar are effective though for psoriasis and seborrhoeic dermatitis. 

When using medicated shampoos, leave it on the scalp longer than the regular shampoos. Wet the hair and apply the dandruff treatment shampoo and massage well unto the scalp. This should be left on the scalp for 10 minutes before rinsing well. A conditioner will help keep the hair soft, but rinse the hair thoroughly. 

There is herbal preparation especially for flaky and itchy scalp. These alleviate irritation and redness caused by dandruff. The herbal dandruff shampoos are fortified with aloe and eucalyptus extracts; the formula is gentle on the scalp and hair and can be used daily. The shampoo leaves the hair soft and manageable. 

There is no hard and fast prescription to prevent dandruff. The regular use of anti-dandruff formulations can keep the problem under control. Exposure to excessive heat or the frequent use of blowers and hair dryers should be avoided to prevent the escalation of the problem. 

If the dandruff persists despite the shampoo treatments and manifests severe flaking, scaling, or redness and itching, it is time for medical therapy. The dermatologist will determine if the dandruff is caused by ringworms or psoriasis and recommend special ointment or scalp solutions.

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