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What is it

Your whole body frequently sheds external layers of dead skin. Commonly the process isn’t obvious, but when the scalp sheds skin in huge masses, dandruff flakes can get trapped in the hair and gather with dirt and oil. Slight dandruff isn’t so much a medical problem as it is a cosmetic concern.


  • Dry, flaking, white skin scales on the scalp that collect in the hair and fall onto the shoulders. Scaling may also occur in the eyebrows, causing redness and flaking. Scales may be accompanied by mild itching.

What causes it

Dead skin cells are typically shed from the head in an almost invisible fashion, but for reasons that are still unclear, skin-cell turnover may increase rapidly, and the visible flakes called dandruff appear. People with oily scalps tend to have more problems with dandruff than those with dry scalps, probably owing to the positive effects of oil on yeast growth, which is thought to be instrumental in scaling.

What if you do nothing

Dandruff may be an unsightly nuisance, but it’s generally not a cause for alarm; dandruff does not signal hair loss, for instance. Still, don’t ignore it. It may lead to scaling, which can cause itching and scratching.

Home remedies

Start with regular shampooing

An ordinary shampoo may work if used often enough usually every two to four days but consider daily shampooing for more serious cases.

Try a dandruff shampoo

Dandruff shampoos may control the problem for a few days longer, usually by helping to slough off the scales. Look for these effective and dandruff ingredients: zinc pyrithione, sulfosalicylic compounds, selenium sulfide, or coal tar. While there is some concern that hair dyes containing coal tar may be carcinogenic, dandruff shampoos have much smaller concentrations of the substance and are considered safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and dermatologists. Also, tar shampoos can give hair a brownish tinge a consideration for people with blond or silver hair.

Use special care with products that contain any of these ingredients they can hurt your eyes. And since continually using any shampoo may leave a residue buildup, alternate your chosen brand with another dandruff shampoo or regular shampoo.


There’s no way to prevent dandruff from forming but frequent shampooing can remove excessive scalp buildup and keep it under control.


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