Dandruff is a mysterious ailment. Mysterious, in that there is no commonly agreed upon theory about what actually causes the condition. It is estimated that as much as 97% of the population of the United States will at some point in their lives have a form of dandruff, but there is still a lack of total agreement about this condition.
Dandruff can happen at any age but is most commonly found in people between the ages of 12 and 80. (A form of dandruff known as cradle cap occurs in newborns and infants).
Dandruff is an itchy, annoying and persistent skin disorder of the scalp. A dark shirt and dandruff just simply don't go together! There is nothing more embarrassing than to have someone brush white flakes off your new black sweater or denim jacket. In the past ten years dandruff problems in the United States have become more serious and more frequent.
What is drandruff?
First you should know that a person's entire body surface continuously sheds dead skin cells. The skin itself sheds every twenty-four days. Dandruff is the result of the normal growing process of the skin cells of the scalp. Shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp at an excessive rate, is the result of the normal growing process of the skin cells of the scalp.
In a normal scalp, the process of sloughing off old cells and manufacturing of their replacements is very orderly and complete. In the dandruff scalp, there is mass disorder and often the departing cells are not dead before leaving the scalp.
There appear to be two different causes of dandruff -- internal and external:
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|Internal Causes||External Causes|
|hormonal imbalance||excessive use of hair sprays and gels|
|poor health||improper use of hair-coloring products or excessive use of hot hair curlers or curling irons|
|cold weather and dry indoor heating|
|lack of rest|
excessive consumption of sugar, fat, starch
|stress and anxiety.|
|infrequent shampooing of the hair or inadequate rinsing of the scalp and hair.|
Dry or greasy Dranduff?
Dandruff can cause either an overly dry scalp with itchy white flakes that may be waxy or greasy or dandruff can manifest as an oily greasy scalp with scales.
Dranduff and Fungus theory
Contrary to popular theory, although bacteria may aggravate a dandruff condition, bacteria do not cause the initial problem. Most medical authorities consider dandruff, even the mildest forms, to be a type of scalp or skin related disease. Clinically, one description of dandruff is seborrhea capitos or excessive sebum production of the scalp. Today most skin specialists agree that dandruff is associated with a tiny fungus called Pityrosporum ovale, or P. ovale for short. This fungus lives on our bodies and scalp all the time, usually without causing a problem. Unfortunately, for some people, it can get out of control... leading to dandruff.
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