Dandruff represents the presence of white small scales on the scalp. Basically dandruff, as a fact, is a result of skin regeneration. When the process of regenerations is normal the skin of the scalp is totally renewed once a month. But in some specific cases the turnover of the cells may become faster, sometimes even once in four days. In these situations skin flakes off in large patches. So, what we call dandruff is a result of an accelerated turnover of the cells.
There are numerous factors that may provoke this situation. Here is a short dandruff causes review. Dandruff causes can be divided into two main groups: internal causes and external causes.
Internal dandruff causes include hormone imbalance, incorrect alimentation (for example, excessive amount of sugar or fat in the food), different types of allergies, permanent tiredness and stress, poor health and many others. External dandruff causes include chemical factors (too much gel, hairspray, hair colorants and dyers, harsh shampoo, etc.), thermal factors (hot curling irons, cold weather) and others. In some cases an easy form of dandruff may develop because of insufficient removal of dead skin cells.
Some people consider that dandruff is aggravated by frequent shampooing because of its drying effect. The truth is that the more frequent hair is washed, the less visible is dandruff. That is why hair professionals recommend people who have dandruff to wash their hair at least once in two-three days. A mild shampoo (eventually an anti-dandruff shampoo) must be applied on the hair, effectuating a gentle massage on the scalp, with circular motion. Shampoo is rinsed off thoroughly after at least 5 minutes in easy forms of dandruff and up to 30 minutes in more severe dandruff cases.
These procedures (including the use of anti-dandruff cosmetic shampoos) are not treating dandruff and are not eliminating the actual cause of dandruff. They are only controlling it and making it invisible. So once you stop doing these actions, the dandruff will reappear again. There are cases when dandruff is not caused by external factors, like hairsprays, cold weather, or tight hats, but are provoked by microorganisms. In these situations all the actions described above are not sufficient and can only ameliorate a bit hair and scalp condition.
However, they need medical antifungal treatment. The most common microorganism that may provoke dandruff is a fungus, called Malassezia furfur (previously was known as Pityrosporum ovale). It can be found normally on the skin and scalp surface of all healthy people. But in certain cases it can develop in a big number, disturbing the normal turnover of the skin/scalp cells. Usually the presence of an abnormal amount of Malassezia furfur is associated with a skin disease, known as seborrhea (seborrheic dermatitis).
It is characterized by severe dandruff, with big flakes (usually yellow), sometimes manifested with itchiness and red, sensitive skin. The most common dandruff causes are inadequate hair care (improper use of coloring and hair-styling products, insufficient cleaning, etc.), cold or dry climate, stress, and so on. Severe dandruff is usually caused by fungal infection of the scalp.