Dandruff is a common scalp condition, and although it may seem to be harmless, it can be embarrassing for people who are experiencing it. It can affect people of all age groups.
Majority of us think that the appearance of flakes is the only visible sign of dandruff. However, some people who are vulnerable to dandruff may not have visible flakes yet, but they may suffer with other associated dandruff-like symptoms.
In fact, there are several other key symptoms before the appearance of flakes. This article guides you on understanding the complete symptoms of dandruff, so that you can nip it in the budding stage.
Causes Of Dandruff
Oily scalp is a common factor that causes dandruff, although people with dry scalp also often experience dandruff. Dandruff is caused by a naturally occurring scalp microbe called Malssezia globoza, which breaks down the scalp oils into substances that potentially irritate the scalp.
While this microbe is present in the scalp of one and all of us, only 50 percent among us get bothered by its presence. There are various types of dandruff, and the causes of each type are different.
Dandruff can also be caused by sensitivity to certain hair care products, or overgrowth of fungus, which could be caused by stress, excess oil in the scalp, hormones, or other problems with the immune system.
According to experts, a bad diet that lacks zinc, B vitamins and certain types of fats are also among other reasons for dandruff to occur.
Rarely, certain skin disorders like seborrhoeic dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis can also lead to dandruff.
Common Symptoms Of Dandruff
Dandruff, when mild, shows up in the form of some of the below-mentioned common symptoms:
Often, people think appearance of visible flakes is the first sign of dandruff. But what goes unnoticed is the itchiness of the scalp, which is often the first sign of dandruff. This itchiness happens as the receptors on the surface of your skin are triggered by some irritant.
The nerves then signal to the brain through your spinal cord, which causes itchiness. Itchiness of the scalp is therefore a warning sign that you may be experiencing dandruff.
Followed by itching, you may notice the appearance of dandruff flakes. The skin cells are usually continuously formed on the scalp. Therefore, shedding of the dead skin cells is a normal process. At times, however, the skin cells shed at a faster rate than usual, as the oil from the scalp causes the skin cells to clump together and appear as white flakes.
However, in some severe cases, the flakes may also be large, greasy and yellow and may appear not just on the scalp, but also around the ears, eyebrows, on the chest or the back.
Dryness Or Oiliness Of The Scalp
The prime reason that causes itchiness and flakes associated with dandruff is the excessive oiliness or dryness of your scalp. If you have a healthy scalp with the right scalp pH, your scalp will not be excessively oily or dry.
The pH of 0 to 7 is considered acidic and from 7 to 14 is considered alkaline. Generally, the normal pH of our skin is slightly acidic in nature, and so the bacteria can be naturally killed in such an environment.
However, most chemical-based shampoos are alkaline and our scalp cannot withstand the damage caused by such products. This leads to unstable pH levels in the scalp, which in turn, leads to dandruff.
Dry Hair And Hair Fall
If your hair is very dry and dull, it is a sign of dandruff. This is because dandruff extracts the oil from the scalp, leaving it dry and lifeless. Your hair can appear unmanageable even after brushing. This is often followed by hair loss, which is another common symptom when you experience dandruff. While losing about 20 to 50 hair strands a day is considered normal, people with dandruff experience an alarming rate of hair fall.
Other Complications Of Dandruff
While the above-mentioned symptoms are the common symptoms associated with dandruff, here are some of the serious implications that dandruff can cause when left untreated.
Acne Or Pimples
Although dandruff is not the only reason for acne or pimples, you are likely to notice a sudden outbreak of pimples and acne when you have severe dandruff. The acne and pimples caused by dandruff will have a reddish appearance. They can be painful too.
Severe dandruff can lead to a scalp condition called 'Seborrhoeic Dermatitis', wherein the scalp becomes dry or greasy, along with itchiness and redness. Yellowish or reddish scaling can appear on the hairline, in and around the ears, on the nose and the chest.
In newborn babies affected by dandruff, it may also cause a thick, yellowish, crusty rash on the scalp called 'cradle cap'. A bad case of seborrhoeic dermatitis can also affect other parts of the body.
You should begin your treatment for dandruff often at the appearance of the first sign of dandruff, to avoid other serious complications. Check out some of the natural dandruff remedies that we have covered in our Boldsky beauty section, and keep your scalp healthy.
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