If your life feels mixed up between itching your scalp and discovering large oily chunks of dead skin and if all your efforts of removing them have miserably failed, then maybe you have severe dandruff. Severe dandruff or Seborrheic Dermatitis is a condition that forms on your scalp, it is caused when your scalp is oily, which feels irritated and itchy. While you might feel you’re the only one sailing in this boat of misery, that’s actually not the case. Most people suffer from dandruff. All of us at some point had to put in extra effort to get rid of this badge of shame, that not only kills our black outfits but also keeps us irritated all day by making us feel scratchy.
Though dandruff is very common, it's important to differentiate it from severe dandruff. Normal dandruff is easily removable from over the counter products, severe dandruff requires a little extra effort, it needs specialised care. This is because normal dandruff can be caused due to dry skin, but severe dandruff is mostly due to hormonal reasons. Severe dandruff happens due to a fungus called Malassezia globose which lives on one scalp, and when the scalp gets oily this fungus irritates your sebaceous glands which in turn leads to rashy scalp.
In order to understand how Severe Dandruff can take place it’s important to look at the causes of Severe dandruff.
CAUSES OF SEVERE DANDRUFF
- Irritated oily skin: If you have greasy oil scalp, you should consider shampooing more often. The fungus Malassezia globosa, which lives on our scalp, feeds on natural oils on our scalp and produces oleic acid as a by-product, many of us are sensitive to this by-product. Our sensitivity to it triggers a response by our immune system which causes dandruff as a result.
- Hormones: For Dandruff to be produced in your scalp, it needs to have sebum, natural oils that occur in your scalp, face, and other parts of your skin. It is because of hormones that the oil is produced in your scalp that the yeast(fungus) Malassezia feasts on to create dandruff. This is also the reason why people have their first occurrence of dandruff during their puberty. As puberty means more hormones, which means more oil, which leads to more dandruff.
- Food: The food we eat defines us in every way possibly. It’s not only the reason behind how our body looks and functions but is also a contributor to the health of the scalp and hair. Food with excess sugar, refined sugar, and bad fats can lead to increase in insulin which can trigger more hormone production which will lead to oil production and consequently severe dandruff problem.
- Stress: All of us are aware that a lot of stress is not healthy for anyone, mostly due to psychological reasons, but it has other implications too. Especially if you have dandruff Stress is not good at all. While Malassezia globose which causes dandruff does not appear on the scalp due to stress but it definitely outgrows because of it. Stress makes your immune system weak, hence compromising your scalp. Which leads to increased dandruff which increases your stress and makes more dandruff, and this loops you into its vicious cycle.
These were few common reasons for severe dandruff but there are risk factors that can further increase the chances of having dandruff.
Some of them are stated below -
- Age: Most people face the onset of dandruff at puberty, which goes on till their middle ages. For some this can also be a lifelong problem. This is because our hormones get more active after puberty.
- Being male: A noticeable fact is that more men have dandruff. It is believed by some researchers that male hormones have an important role to play in making dandruff.
- Certain illnesses: People who have diseases like Parkinson’s disease and other diseases that tend to weaken their immune system have higher chances of having dandruff. HIV is another disease that weakens the immune system and can contribute to having caused dandruff.
- Skin diseases: If you’re someone who is dealing with skin diseases like psoriasis, rosacea or eczema then your chances of having severe dandruff increases.
Now that we have identified the problem by analysing the causes and risk factors, let’s look at some of the solutions.
HOW SHOULD ONE GO ABOUT TREATING SEVERE DANDRUFF
Severe dandruff problem needs serious attention, there are several ways you can go about treating it:
- Essential Oils:
One can use essential oils like tea tree, neem, peppermint, coconut oil etc to treat dandruff as it helps reduce irritability and dandruff from the scalp. Not only will the massage increase blood circulation in the scalp but will also have a soothing effect on it. It is recommended to keep the oil on your scalp for an hour or so at least and then wash it off with an effective anti-dandruff shampoo like Head & Shoulders which has all the right ingredients to fight dandruff and treat an itchy scalp.
- Aloe Vera:
We know dandruff is caused by a fungus, why not attack it with the best natural anti-fungal solution. Aloe vera could be your severe dandruff remedy as it’s easily available and its antifungal and antimicrobial properties not only prevents dandruff but also helps you against hair loss. It’s soothing cool effect on the scalp is a bonus.
- Apple cider vinegar:
Anecdotal evidence suggests that Apple Cider vinegar can be helpful. It is a nice exfoliating agent that cleanses the dead skin cells on your scalp and has other health benefits.
- Baking Soda:
Like Apple Cider Vinegar, Baking Soda acts as a gentle exfoliating agent that cleans your scalp and its antifungal properties can prove handy in your severe dandruff treatment.
While homemade remedies are useful you might also look for chemicals that can ease your problem.
The following are few compounds that help you decrease dandruff -
- Salicylic acid: It removes the extra scale from the skin, before it can flake, in some people it could dry out the skin causing more dandruff.
- Pyrithione: This is an antifungal compound that kills the fungus on your scalp which causes flaking. Shampoos with Zinc Pyrithione are so gentle that you could use it every day.
- Coal tar: This compound slows the growth or shedding of skin.
- Selenium sulfide: It is also an antifungal compound that kills the dandruff causing fungus and prevents too many skin cells from dying off.
- Ketoconazole: It is also an antifungal compound, meant to kill the fungus.
If you’ve tried all these measures and still suffering from dandruff, then maybe you should visit a Dermatologist. Though most of the cases of dandruff get treated with over-the-counter shampoos some cases might be more than just dandruff, they can involves other skin diseases like psoriasis, rosacea, eczema or a fungal infection, and in such a case you should definitely book an appointment with a certified Dermatologist.
If you’re looking for the best easy to use Severe Dandruff shampoo, then Head & Shoulders is worth considering. It has Zinc Pyrithione which treats your scalp with care and fights the problem at its roots. It is the most tested and most trusted anti dandruff shampoo in the world.
With Heads & Shoulders, keep your scalp healthy and dandruff free.