What causes dandruff? There are many factors that contribute to this problem. However, before we talk about its causes, we have to understand what it is first.
Understanding What Causes Dandruff
Our skin sheds dead skin cells regularly. With regard to the scalp, a small amount of flaking is understandable. Many people are not aware that roughly 487,000 cells per cm2 is shed after shampooing. However, there are other individuals who might experience more cell loss.
Dandruff is a scalp problem that affects people of any ethnicity and age.
However, please note that it is rare before puberty and may peak once a person is in his or her early teens to twenties. A person who has dandruff can lose 800,000 cells/cm2. This may also be accompanied by itching, redness and irritation at times.
The severity of dandruff will vary from slight flaking to embarrassingly copious amounts that can cause patients to seek out medical advice to prevent self-esteem problems.
Keratinocytes and Dandruff
If you want to learn about what causes dandruff, you must understand how desquamation works beforehand. Studies show that keratinocytes play an important role in dandruff formation. These are most predominant in the epidermal layer of the skin. They act as a barrier to protect the body from dehydration, harmful microorganisms and even UV rays. They are part of the corneocytes of the stratum corneum.
The stratum corneum contains desquamatory cells as well. These help remove corneocytes to maintain proper thickness of this layer. Please note that the rate of exfoliation and the amount removed are influenced by inflammatory factors, environmental or systemic.
For example, a quick turnover of the stratum corneum and slower desquamatory rate can cause clumps of dead cells to form. This would lead to flaking and irritation, otherwise called dandruff.
Causes of Dandruff
Finally, we are ready to discuss what causes dandruff. There are a number of environmental and systemic conditions that can lead to dandruff. Here are some of the most common causes of this condition.
• Dry Skin
As we all know, healthy skin requires proper hydration. Since the scalp is more sensitive to dryness, it would be best to use a conditioner regularly to prevent dehydration. If a person has dry skin, he or she is more prone to dandruff formation.
• Poor Hygiene
Shampooing the hair regularly keeps the stratum corneum at its proper thickness. Shampoo is considered a detergent that helps rid the scalp of excess oils and dead skin. This is something plain water cannot do on its own.
•Using the Wrong Shampoo
Choosing the right shampoo is important if you want a dandruff-free hair. You have to check the ingredients of the shampoo before buying it. Sometimes, particular brands of shampoo, especially the medicated ones, have chemicals or other ingredients that can be too harsh for your hair and scalp. Usually these medicated shampoos contain anti-fungal elements and anti-microbial chemicals to treat fungal scalp.
• Shampooing Too Often
While shampoo removes excess sebum, it should be noted that shampooing too often can cause dryness as well. A person with an oily scalp can wash their hair more often. Those with dry scalps should shampoo their hair every other day.
• Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis occurs when one’s skin comes into contact with an irritant. This is why it is best to perform patch tests before applying new products to the hair and scalp.
Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction that can cause redness, swelling irritation and flaking. Patients who suffer from contact dermatitis often require antihistamine and topical ointments to control the itch.
• Eczema and Psoriasis
Eczema is a skin condition that can cause an extreme itch. Sometimes the area that is affected can become so itchy that patients accidentally scratch it until it bleeds. Once the area dries up, it can become crusty and flaky. This condition may affect the scalp and surface due to environmental changes or due to stress.
Psoriasis is not quite as itchy as eczema but produces more or less the same amount of skin damage. It is more common in people who are 15 years old and up, unlike eczema which develops in younger children.
• Excess Sebum Production
People with oily scalps are more prone to dandruff. This is because the stratum corneum will not shed quite as easily, owing to the sebum. The oils act like an adhesive, keeping the dead skin cells from falling off.
• In Addition To The Above
Chronic fatigue, bad diet can be also the reason of what causes dandruff.
Greasy food, strong alcoholic beverages, they are products with hot nature and eaten in excess, can dry the scalp.
Dandruff Risk Factors
Studies show that at least half of the population suffers from this condition. However, there are certain risk factors that can make a person more susceptible. A person who does not get enough vitamin B, fats and zinc may be prone to this condition. Research also indicates that males are more likely to suffer from dandruff since they have larger sebum producing glands than women. It may also be linked to testosterone levels.
Those with autoimmune conditions or with compromised immune systems are likely to develop dandruff too. In many studies, individuals who have neurological disorders have been found more susceptible to dandruff. While the cause is still not clear, one must consider the possibility that they have poor motor skills or their home care companion may not be so particular about proper hygiene.
At present, there is no miracle pill or cream for dandruff. It is considered a harmless condition, despite its potential to cause social embarrassment. Some physicians will recommend a milder shampoo that contains zinc in cases where dandruff production is not so serious.
However, if a patient suffers from redness, inflammation and scalp infection, he or she should be given medical treatment as soon as possible. Please note that a scalp infection can lead to worse problems if not treated right away, especially since the hair acts as a barrier against the elements.
The physician/dermatologist can only treat it and hopefully eradicate it completely if he or she gets to the root of the problem, pun intended. Certain scalp tests may be necessary to rule out what causes dandruff in a certain patient. He or she has to check for skin infections and yes, even cancer.
Once the physician has discovered the underlying cause of what causes dandruff in a patient, he or she can formulate a treatment plan to help alleviate the itch and control flaking. This plan will be tailored to combat the specific problems of each patient. With regard to efficacy, it may take time before the flaking goes away completely.
What causes dandruff to linger for years? The true answers are ignorance or neglect. Dandruff does not necessarily have to be a lifelong cross to bear. With the help of proper diagnosis and supplementation, you can have a healthier scalp and be free of self-esteem issues caused by flaking.