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The top layer of your skin is continuously being shed and renewed, with the scalp shedding more skin cells than other parts of the body. This usually goes unnoticed as the cells shred one at a time. When the scalp becomes inflamed however, the skin cells can stick together and thus shed in larger-than-normal chunks and become visible.


This condition is what is commonly known as dandruff. Approximately 50 percent of the population experiences dandruff at some stage of their life with the condition most common in people in their early 20s, continuing into middle age.



A condition that causes oily skin (seborrheic dermatitis) and the abnormal growth of a type of fungus that normally lives harmlessly on skin (malassezia) are possible triggers for the onset of dandruff.



The common signs and symptoms associated with dandruff include:


  • white, oily looking flakes of dead skin that dot the hair and shoulders,
  • itchy, red or scaly scalp, and/or
  • an oily scalp.


Dandruff is not contagious and does not usually pose a threat to health, but can be itchy and embarrassing.



Mild cases of dandruff can quite often be easily controlled. In general, washing your hair daily with a non-medicated shampoo, massaging the scalp firmly, and then rinsing well will assist in reducing the dead skin cell flakes and the oiliness of the scalp. If this fails to help, then an anti-dandruff shampoo may be required. These can be purchased over the counter from most supermarkets or pharmacies. It is important to note that not all anti-dandruff shampoos are the same as they can contain different anti-dandruff ingredients. This may mean that you may need to try a few products before you find the right one for you.


If non-prescription methods do not relieve the symptoms after 2 weeks, or the condition worsens, you may need to consider seeing a doctor for alternative treatment methods.



The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.





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