Beauty And The Bath

Dandruff Hair Problem

A dandruff hair problem can drive you crazy and stop you from wearing your favorite black outfits.

Dandruff Problems

This article will help you get back into black!

Dandruff is a generic term used to describe a variety of conditions that give rise to inflammation and scaling of the scalp—the familiar itching and flaking depicted so dramatically in shampoo commercials.

The Cause Of Dundruff

Hair Contrary to popular belief, a dandruff hair problem isn't caused by failure to wash the hair frequently enough, or by overly dry hair, or by dry scalp, or by using the wrong shampoo.

The real culprit is a specific strain of yeast called Pityrosporum ovale, which thrives amid the forest of hair follicles on our scalp and feeds on the bacteria-rich sebum that lubricates the hair roots.

Now, the presence of this yeast on the scalp isn't restricted solely to dandruff sufferers; all of us play host to Pityrosporum ovale to one degree or another.

But people with a dandruff hair problem seem to be more sensitive to it. Another common reason for the 'white flakes' is unwashed shampoo which dries and eventually falls off, but is really itchy.

When the yeast finds itself on a sensitive scalp, it sends the cell turnover rate into hyperdrive, which in turn produces the flaking that characterizes dandruff—and drives us nuts whenever we wear black or navy!

The flakes themselves are actually particles of dead skin that have been prematurely shed from the uppermost layer of the scalp owing to the rapid generation of new cells.

And, while everyone sports a new scalp every month or so, dandruff sufferers can rip through a lull cellular replacement cycle in half the normal time.

Lumped into the same category as people with bad breath or body odor, folks with dandruff are often treated as if they had an infectious disease.

The assumptions underlying this point of view of course, are not only unfounded but unfair as well.

Fortunately, our new understanding of how the condition originates and develops makes modern dandruff treatments far more effective than those that were available even just a few years ago.

In the past, descaling agents and cortisone were used to address the scalp inflammation associated with various types of dandruff.

Today's treatments, on the other hand, focus not only on controlling dandruff symptoms (inflammation, itchy scalp, flaking) but also on curbing the proliferation of the offending yeast, which is more at the root of the problem.

These treatments range from over- the- counter shampoos containing traditional remedies such as sulfur, salicylic acid, antiseptic agents, or tar (yes, tar!), to stronger medicated shampoos and lotions that must be prescribed by your dermatologist.

The drug ketoconazole, which has been used for decades to subdue many kinds of fungi, is now routinely recommended by dermatologists because of its efficacy in killing Pity rosporum.

It can be found in prescribed products such as Nizoral, a shampoo that contains the drug in a 2 percent concentration. Nizoral has proved so effective that it can, in many instances, stop dandruff-induced itching and flaking within just 2 weeks.

On the downside, even the best modern medications cannot banish the yeast entirely, so dandruff remains a chronic condition for which there is, as yet, no definitive cure.

Like problem acne, this common disorder comes and goes at intervals, and must be dealt with as outbreaks occur.

If you suffer from a dandruff hair problem periodically, the single best move you can make is to see your dermatologist when a flare-up first arises so that he or she can determine the type and severity of dandruff that afflicts you, and then take appropriate steps to treat it.

Problem Dandruff: Seborrheic Dermatitis

While one person in two experiences occasional bouts of a dandruff hair problem, some 15 percent of Americans can blame their flaking on seborrheic dermatitis (or seborrhea, for short), a form of dandruff that often produces very severe itching and flaking.

Seborrheic dermatitis is probably the most common rash known to humans.

It can show up just about any place on the body, but appears most frequently in regions where the sebaceous glands are densely concentrated, such as the scalp, the I'-zone, the eyebrows, and the chest.

Like regular dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis can't be cured for keeps. It may go into remission for a while, but once you stop treatment it will probably come back.

If untreated, this kind of severe dandruff hair problem can worsen to the point that the sufferer sheds not only flakes but hair as well. Yikes!

All content and images are copyright protectedDandruff Hair Problems
Updated February 21, 2012

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