Dandruff is undoubtedly one of the most annoying problems faced by people all around the world. The market of shampoos, hair lotions, oils, conditioners and other hair-care products that has developed for the solution of the dandruff problem is indicative of this fact. It also reveals the alarming number of people who are fighting to keep their dandruff at bay.
Today, dandruff is more of a social problem than a medical problem. A person with dandruff is quite likely to feel him or herself down on the social rung. When most of the people are fighting against dandruff today, a large number of them are doing so just because they want to look more acceptable in society, and not because of the medical repercussions that dandruff has. Despite that, it must be remembered that dandruff can cause several fungal and bacterial complications in the scalp, even resulting into complete baldness.
It is very important to know what are causes, symptoms and treatment methods of dandruff, which is easily the most prevalent medical problem in the world today.
Dandruff is nothing but the outer layer of dead skin from the scalp that flakes out. This is a very normal human process. As the skin ages its outer layer of cells dies out and it is replaced by newer layers from the bottom. This process occurs regularly in the scalp, just like anywhere else in the body. However, for some reason, if the cells are too many, then the dead skin cells collect together to form flakes. This is when they become clearly visible through the hair. This is the condition which is commonly known as dandruff.
Dandruff is normally associated with the scalp of the head. But this is not true. Besides the scalp, dandruff can also occur on the ears, eyebrows and the forehead.
In Sanskrit, dandruff is called as arunshika or darunaka.
The exact cause of dandruff is not known. It is also not known why dandruff occurs more in some people and less in others. But some factors that can trigger the presence of dandruff have been identified since ancient times. The following are some of the factors that can increase dandruff in a person:-
Due to metabolic reasons, in some people, the division of the cells of the skin takes place very rapidly. Due to this, the cells are grown much too quickly on the scalp. The cells die just as soon and need frequent shedding. This shed skin is in the form of clumps, which is nothing but dandruff.
Dandruff could very well be a fungal disease. The virus Malassezea furfur can be responsible for the presence of dandruff. Malassezea furfur is a fungus that lives on the bodies of all human beings. If Malassezea furfur multiplies too rapidly, then due to changes in the natural metabolic cycle, dandruff can occur.
Dandruff can be caused due to hyperactivity of the sebaceous i.e. sweat glands.
Dietary and contact allergies are sometimes responsible to dandruff. Alkaline soaps are most often the culprits. Dust, cobwebs, sunlight, certain fabrics, shampoos, etc. are also responsible.
Some people have skins that are sensitive to seasonal changes. These people are also very vulnerable to dandruff.
Stress is directly related to dandruff. People who live in a constant state of anxiety are prone to dandruff.
People suffering from seborrheic dermatitis, which is a condition of inflamed skin, are also very susceptible to dandruff.
Too much hair conditioning can also affect the scalp. Coloring the hair is a prime culprit. Also on the list are other hair treatments like using hair curlers, perms, hair bonding and other such.
The commonest symptom of dandruff is the presence of white or gray oily clumps of dead skin that dot the hair. These are seen more prominently in specific regions of the scalp.
However in some people, there may be other symptoms. The following is a list:-
The basic problem with dandruff is its itchiness. In most people, the itchiness of the dandruff is so severe that they may injure the scalp when scratching. These open areas in the scalp can become entry points for bacterial infections, especially of the streptococcus and the staphylococcus strains.
Some dandruff problems are due to more serious conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and ringworm. This must be checked by a medical supervisor.
People who are at Risk of Dandruff (Arunshika)
Since the exact cause of dandruff is not known yet, it is also difficult to say why some people are more sensitive to it than others. Based on some observations, the following people are assumed to be at a higher risk than others, though there is no medical theory supporting these risk factors.
People who are allergic to certain substances can develop dandruff quite fast.
People who live in the cold dry climates can get dandruff fast. This is because sunlight retards the growth of Malassezea furfur, one of the causative agents of dandruff.
For this same reason, people who wear hats and other headdresses are more prone to dandruff.
People who do not maintain hair hygiene, like regular baths and oiling the hair, suffer more from dandruff than others. At the same time, people who take excessive care of their hair and use too many hair care products are also susceptible to dandruff.
Dandruff is more common in the cities than in the villages. This is due to the stress factor being higher in the urban areas.
Mal-nourished young men and women suffer quite easily from dandruff.
How to get rid of Dandruff
Dandruff is an inherent condition, and there is nothing you can do that could prevent it completely. All that a person can do is to take adequate care in order to bring the condition under control. At the same time, it must be remembered that hair care must not stop once the dandruff is gone. Dandruff is a highly recurring condition, and so the treatment must be carried on all through the life of the person.
The following are some of the things one can do to keep dandruff under check:-
Have a regular bath, washing the hair with a good quality anti-dandruff shampoo. Rub the shampoo into your scalp and let it be there for about two minutes before washing it off.
How to get rid of Dandruff - After the bath, use coconut oil on your scalp. The oil naturally moisturizes the scalp and retards the flaking of the scalp.
Since dandruff can be caused due to allergy, identify all the allergens in your environment and take steps to eliminate them.
Hair-styling products must be avoided, especially if the products contain alcohols in them. Hair coloring and hair dyeing is totally forbidden for dandruff-infested persons.
How to get rid of Dandruff - Keep brushing your hair regularly, applying pressure on the scalp. This will improve the blood circulation in the scalp and remove the dead flakes.
Keep yourself free from stress. Perform yogic exercises that are beneficial in relieving stress.
How to get rid of Dandruff with diet
Diet plays an important role in dandruff. There are both harmful and helpful foods when it comes to combating the dandruff problem. The following are some guidelines:-
Foods that are helpful to dandruff:
Foods that are harmful to dandruff:
There is a lot of research that Ayurvedic proponents have conducted on the effectiveness of various natural herbs when it comes to dandruff-related problems. The following is a list of the more efficient of these herbs. The methods of their usage and their actions on the human body are explained below.
The following Ayurvedic preparations are highly beneficial in treating Dandruff problems:-
In addition, the following oils provide relief and treat dandruff when applied on the scalp:-
It must be borne in mind that while taking any Ayurvedic preparation, the doctor must be consulted first. Most of the herbs do not have any side-effects (and are indeed a regular part of the diet), but some people may be allergic to certain herbs and may show adverse reactions.