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Do your shoulders sometimes look like they have had a light dusting of snowflakes?

Chances are you suffer from dandruff, an all too common condition that affects about half of the population. When you suffer from dandruff, the skin cells on your scalp shed more quickly than usual. The excess ends up on your clothing, furniture and keyboard.

And while it can be embarrassing, you need to know it is not caused by poor hygiene. You do need to wash your hair though, otherwise the resulting oily buildup can cause dandruff.  Dandruff is also an age thing, with people 40+ more likely to suffer from it, though it also affects a younger demographic.

What Causes Dandruff?

Scientists have identified a few potential likely triggers. The main cause of dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis, a condition that makes the skin on your scalp turn flaky and oily. The scales flake off and are then shed as dandruff. Scientists have also identified a naturally occurring a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia as another trigger. They feed off the  sebum glands on your scalp, which is thought to be an irritant, and what causes the scalp skin to flake. Factors like stress, your age and hormone levels can all cause the fungus to multiply.

Is That Dandruff or Dry Scalp?

You need to make sure you know what is affecting the health of your scalp. Dry scalp can also cause your skin to become itchy and flaky and is often misdiagnosed as dandruff. It is actually caused by a lack of moisture or could be a reaction to a hair product you are using. Dry scalp tends to be characterised by smaller, dry flakes and you could also have dry skin on other parts of your body. Dandruff tends to have larger flakes that are white or yellow.

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How Can I Cure My Dandruff?

Dandruff Causes

The bad news is that there is no actual ‘cure’ for dandruff. The good news is that you can reduce the rate at which your scalp flakes off. The most common method of attack is an over the counter anti-dandruff shampoo that contains zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide or piroctone olamine. These basically reduce the rate your skin cells flake off at. You do need to massage these well into the scalp and use them daily to begin to see visible results in a matter of weeks. If you have dry scalp try a gentler shampoo followed by a moisturising conditioner. You should also look to your lifestyle and see if stress is a factor.

If nothing seems to help your dandruff then you should look to see a dermatologist. It could be another condition like eczema or psoriasis which can also impact the condition of your scalp.

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