Dandruff: Symptoms and Solutions

Dandruff is the most common scalp condition that we hear about today. What people don’t realize it that the little white flakes you are brushing off of your shoulder may not be dandruff at all, but dry skin. Confused? Let’s take a look at the differences.
True dandruff is also known as seborrheic dermatitis or seborrhea. This is a condition that is itchy, inflamed and frequently produces scales of flaky skin. Seborrhea can be found in any oily environment where malassezia furfur, a type of yeast, is known to thrive . Hormones and some chronic or autoimmune conditions are known to play a role too, but one specific cause has not been identified. Symptoms can be very mild (flaking, some itching) or quite severe (very inflamed and resulting in hair loss). Craddle cap on a baby is a good example of mild to moderate seborrhea. This condition can also affect the skin on other areas of the body. To address this condition, treatments include the active ingredients pyrithione zinc, anti-fungals, salicylic acid, sulfur and tar. Since it is difficult to pin point the cause of the symptoms it may be necessary to experiment with the active ingredients to find out which treatments have the most favorable outcome for you.
Some treatments may be labeled for “oily dandruff” since consumers frequently attribute dandruff to dry skin. If you can identify with the symptoms above, here are some products that may be able to help.

  • Klorane Anti-Dandruff Treatment Shampoo with Myrtle Extract – myrtle extract which is anti-fungal and Zinc Pyrithione  (alternate use with Soothing Shampoo with Peonly Extract)
  • Phyto Phytosylic Exfoliating Shampoo – salicylic acid and tea trea oil (anti-fungal, anti-septic)
  • DS Laboratories Dandrene – Ketaconazole (anti-fungal)
  • Philip B Anti Flake Relief Shampoo – Zinc and coaltar

For problems on the face try PCA SKIN pHaze 32 Blemish Control Bar which uses sulfur and salicylic acid.
On the body use Stiefel ZNP bar.  It contains pyrithione zinc.
Dry scalp is just how it sounds. It is skin lacking oil, water or both. Flaking, an itchy, tight feeling and sensitivity can be key indicators. Inflammation is not as common, but if left untreated, can occur.   Exfoliation is be beneficial to remove flakes and to allow the scalp to accept hydrating treatment products.   This condition is much easier to address than seborrheic dermatitis. Some products will be listed for use for “dry dandruff” due of the common misconception of the consumer.   Below are some great products to get your scalp back in shape.

  • NeoCeuticals Treatment Scalp Solution – uses alpha and poly hydroxyl acids to exfoliate while moisturizing the scalp.
  • Phyto Phytolactum Gentle Nourishing Shampoo for Frequent Use – almond extract and tea trea oil to purify calm and hydrate
  • Philip B Rejuvenating Oil – replicates the scalp’s natural oils to replenish a dry scalp.
  •  Korres Green Silt and Corallina Oligoelements – green silt to remove dead skin cells, but replenishes with jojoba and avocado oils.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, American Academy of Family Physicians.
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