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  • Jun 07, 2018


Medical Name: Seborrhea Capitis

Dandruff is a condition of the scalp and hairs in which dry, whitish flakes tend to accumulate and show up on the scalp and hairs

Quick facts

Dandruff is a common problem that can be controlled while its complete elimination is not possible. Aim of various measures for dandruff control is to minimize likelihood of development of unpleasant symptoms and effects (like soreness, hair fall). It is reported that nearly half of the population has symptoms of this malady.

  • Dandruff is caused by a rapid turnover of skin cells the exact cause for which remains obscure. It is also thought to be related to excess of a microorganism variety present on the skin. However, this organism can be present even in individuals who do not have any dandruff.
  • Dandruff and dry skin are two different conditions. Whereas dandruff remains confined to the scalp and hairy areas of the body, dry skin is a more generalized phenomenon affecting nearly whole of the body and latter might even be linked to hereditary disorders.
  • Dandruff may be a part of a generalized disease called Seborrheic Dermatitis in which the skin of the oil-producing gland rich areas tends to get involved.
  • Dandruff is not an indicator of poor hygiene, but it is a combination of altered secretions with an overgrowth of microorganisms.
  • Dandruff is more likely to affect persons with brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease, HIV infection, stressful conditions like heart disease and brain stroke, and disorders affecting body resistance.

Preventive Measures

It is always better to initiate treatment under the supervision of a healthcare service provider. However, a lot can be done in the form of self help measures with a good potential to gain relief and to supplement the prescribed treatment.

1. Eating healthy and balanced diet with plenty of zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins. One should avoid yeast and refined sugars. This helps in preventing growth of the yeast which is thought to be contributing towards causing dandruff.

2. Engaging in stress relieving activities.

3. Watch out for adverse effects of any hair styling product and take appropriate action

4. Brushing (not comb) your hairs frequently to stimulate blood circulation and to remove the debris collected on the scalp. Brushing before a shampoo is highly recommended.

5. Zinc Pyrihtione or ZPTO, Coal Tar, and Ketoconazole have antifungal/ cell division retardant properties whereas salicylic acid dissolves skin cells or scales. Use appropriate shampoo or leave on preparations containing suitable concentration of these ingredients to extract best results.

6. At every bath, wash your scalp thoroughly. First of all, rinse the scalp and hairs, then massage the shampoo (preferably diluted with equal quantity of tap water) gently but thoroughly for recommended duration, and finally rinse again to wash away the dislodged skin cells and oily secretions of skin glands. Use cold setting of the hair dryer to avoid damaging hairs.

7. In order to soften and remove the heaped up collections of skin flakes, use shampoos containing salicylic acid or other compounds that will dissolve the scales faster.

8. Shampoo your scalp and hairs daily until dandruff is under control. When a satisfactory level of control is achieved, one might attempt tapering the frequency of application of medicated preparation to match needs. Use of a conditioner is better left to one’s individual preference.

9. Medicated shampoo are usually recommended to remain in contact with the affected skin for at least 8-10 minutes on each application.

10. If you notice that a particular shampoo is no longer that effective as it used to be, you may switch over to another but do not use different shampoos at one time.

If the symptoms persist even despite available measures or you experience any soreness and redness of skin, do not hesitate to consult your physician.



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Dr Vinay Kumar

Senior Consultant Dermatologist



+91-93 199 299 00



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