What is Dandruff and What are the Causes of Dandruff?

Dandruff is a common condition where there is formation of flaky, white to yellowish scales commonly on scalp (can also occur in oily areas of external ear), due to shedding of dead cells. Medical term for dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis. We know that the outermost layer of skin, epidermis is made of dead cells, so is the case for scalp also, i.e. the outermost layer of scalp is also made of dead cells. Small amount of flakes is normal, due to normal shedding of dead cells of scalp. But for some individuals the number of cells dying is much more than normal, which may be chronic or it may be due to some trigger, which is for short duration.

How common is dandruff?

Dandruff is a common scalp condition which is estimated to affect half of world population after puberty, irrespective of sex, race and ethnicity. If you are affected by dandruff, you may have social and self-esteem problems.

What are the causes of dandruff?

The outer layers of skin dermis and epidermis are constantly replaced by new cells and the older cells are pushed outwards by new cells. As a result the outer layer of epidermis is made of dead skin cells, which normally form flakes. In majority of people (those without dandruff) these flakes are too little/small to be seen in naked eye. But, for many individuals (those with dandruff), the cell turnover is unusually rapid/fast (formation of large number of new cells, which is much more than normal) on the scalp. Normally the cell turnover time is approximately four weeks, but for individuals with dandruff, this cell turnover time may be reduced to less than a week, resulting in formation of large number of dead cells in short time and formation of large flakes visible to naked eye as dandruff. When there is also production of excess oil in skin from sebaceous glands, these flakes become dandruff and may cause itching.

Dandruff is caused by:

  • Over production of oil in the skin called sebum, which is produced by sebaceous glands, which makes skin (including scalp) oily.
  • Due to growth of skin microorganism (yeast) malasezzia. The number of malassezzia species is up to two times normal in case of dandruff, which metabolizes triglycerides of sebum and form oleic acid. This oleic acid penetrate outermost dead layer of skin and produce inflammatory response among susceptible individuals, which cause cleavage of stratum corneum, the outermost dead layer of skin and cause dandruff.

Dandruff may run in families. There are certain conditions which may increase risk of dandruff, such as stress, extreme weather conditions, (extreme cold, hot, humidity etc.), oily skin, use of lotions that contain alcohol, acne, obesity, infrequent cleaning of scalp, allergic conditions, certain medications etc.

 


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  • What is Dandruff and What are the Causes of Dandruff? | Cosme News | Dandruff Cure Technique
    August 4, 2012 - 11:56 am

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