Almost every one of us has or had dandruff to some degree at a certain time in our lives. It seems to be more like an esthetic problem, rather a health problem. But it definitely creates a lot of discomfort and low self-confidence in many people. So, let's see what dandruff really is. Dandruff definition is flaking of dead skin of the scalp. But at certain point dandruff is a normal, physiological condition of our scalp. The skin of our head is totally renewed about once a month.
In some situations the rate of this turnover may be increased. So, the entire replacement of old skin cells is effectuated, for example, once in 12 days, or even once in 4 days. These are skin health disorders, provoked by different factors. Dead cells are normally flaking off the skin surface almost invisibly. In these pathological situations they are flaking off in big conglomerates, and many cells may be not dead yet, so itchy red spots on head skin may appear.
These conglomerates are what we actually call "dandruff". Now let's give a brief dandruff description or, medically speaking, main dandruff symptoms. First of all, it is easy to detect white flakes, formed by excessive shedding of the skin. They can have different sizes, depending on dandruff degree. In some cases they can be quite large.
Another point in dandruff description is the itchiness. This is not a compulsory feature, but in most of cases dandruff is associated with red itchy skin on the head. Scratching must be avoided as it can lead to skin infection, as a complication. Many people consider that dandruff appears because of dry skin. That is not really true. Actually, according to statistics, dandruff affects more often people with oily hair. But it is true that dandruff is worsened in dry climates. It may be also aggravated by hair dryers and too hot water.
There are several dandruff degrees. The mildest cases can be easily controlled by frequent hair washing with a mild shampoo, or an anti-dandruff non-medical shampoo. In these cases the turnover of skin replacement on the scalp is not so deviated from the normal one (28-30 days). So, if you wash your hair at least three times a week, this may be sufficient to pull the dead skin cells away from the scalp and prevent dandruff.
In more severe degrees of dandruff the turnover may be faster, and a simple washing can be not sufficient. In these cases the cause must be determined. In most of cases dandruff is exacerbated by a skin condition, called seborrhea, or seborrhea dermatitis. In this case the primary disease must be cured and dandruff will decrease by itself. Also there are some more severe skin diseases that are associated with severe dandruff degrees. Dandruff as an independent condition is basically inoffensive for our health, and the only incommodity that it can create is the not so esthetical aspect.
However, dandruff description must be known, as it may constitute a symptom of skin diseases such as seborrhea or psoriasis. These diseases may be harmful, provoking red, itchy and sensitive scalp and creating favorable conditions for infectious agents, such as staphylococci and streptococci. The main features of dandruff description are white flakes of dead skin that are pulled off from the scalp, sometimes associated with itchy, red and sensitive skin.