Dandruff

Dandruff particles are visible flakes of skin that have been continuously shed from the scalp.

The precise cause of Dandruff is unclear. The top layer of skin is constantly being shed and renewed. Normally this goes unnoticed on the rest of the body, however, on the scalp the hair traps the scaling skin so that the scales become more evident. Dandruff may result from an overproduction and shedding of dead skin from the scalp. Pityrosporum is a microscopic fungus that is normally present on oily areas of the skin. People who have dandruff often have an unusually large amount of this fungus on the scalp.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
•White scales in the hair and on the clothes (especially noticeable on dark clothes). This may be associated with itching. Dandruff is always widely scattered on the scalp rather than patchy.

TREATMENT OPTIONS
As with all medical conditions consult your Doctor for diagnosis and advice. Scalp conditions should be checked by your Doctor to rule out other more serious conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or seborrhoeic dermatitis. Massage your scalp for a few minutes each day to stimulate the circulation and loosen dead skin cells. This can then be followed by vigorous brushing to remove loosened flakes. Wash your hair regularly with an anti-dandruff shampoo with fungicides. Rinse well to eliminate any build-up of hair products. Stress has been known to play a significant part in skin conditions such as dandruff, so relaxation techniques may be of assistance.

DIET HINTS
• Eat a variety of nutritious foods.
• Eat plenty of wholegrain breads and cereals, vegetables and fruits.
• Eat a diet low in fat and, in particular, low in saturated fat.
• Maintain a healthy bodyweight by balancing food intake and regular physical activity.
• If you drink alcohol, limit your intake.

VITAMINS/MINERALS/HERBS
Nutritional supplements are only to be taken if the dietary vitamin intake is inadequate.
• Vitamin B complex may help control dandruff.
• Zinc may help control dandruff.
• Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish and flaxseed oils) may help reduce flaking dandruff and an itching scalp, as well as eczema and psoriasis of the scalp.
• Omega-6 fatty acids found in Evening primrose oil may help control dandruff.
• Tea Tree oil shampoos may be beneficial as it may stop dandruff by eliminating fungal damage to the skin. Tea tree oil is antiseptic, antibiotic and antifungal and it is recommended to wash hair daily with tea tree oil shampoo in the treatment of dandruff.

PHARMACIST'S ADVICE
Ask your MedAux Pharmacist for advice.
1. Follow the Diet Hints.
2. Avoid all external irritants on the skin e.g. hair colourant and perming lotion. Use a mild shampoo. Changing to a different shampoo or styling product may help. Alternating between 2 mild shampoos may also improve the condition of your scalp.
3. Ask your Pharmacist about special treatment shampoos in the Pharmacy. The most common anti-dandruff shampoos contain one or more of the following ingredients: tar, selenium sulphide, zinc pyrithione or zinc omadine, piroctone and antifungal agents.
4.Excessive sweating may aggravate Dandruff.
5. Try to avoid scratching your scalp when you shampoo. When you shampoo, massage your scalp without scratching.
6. A shampoo contain tea-tree oil may help to reduce the severity of Dandruff.
7. If the diet is inadequate consider some supplements. B Group Vitamins taken as a supplement can sometimes help particularly if stress is a problem. Essential fatty acid deficiencies are thought to play some part in the incidence of Dandruff. Fish Oil capsules are a good source of essential fatty acids.