Dandruff is a chronic and recurrent inflammatory condition of the scalp. It is also known as seborrheic dermatitis and can occur on the scalp, face, ears, eyelids, and trunk.
In milder forms of dandruff, the scalp is covered in fine white flakes and the skin may or may not be itchy. In more severe forms of dandruff, we see patches of pinkish skin covered with yellow, greasy scales.
The exact cause of dandruff is not known. However, we know that the oil glands of the scalp create a favourable environment for a fungus called Malessezia that triggers inflammation. Dandruff tends to worsen with stress and during the cold and dry winter months. It usually improves during the summer, most likely because of the effect of the sun. The condition is not contagious.
Those who suffer from dandruff should wash their hair and scalp with an antifungal medicated shampoo two to three times per week for up to 8 weeks. This treatment does not cure dandruff and needs to be continued or repeated intermittently to prevent recurrence. Antifungal shampoos may irritate the skin, remove the curl from permanently wavy hair, cause hair discoloration and cause changes in hair texture.