When you’re shopping for shampoo, there’s a high chance you’ll choose products based on what they do to your hair, and completely forget about your scalp. However, the skin on your scalp may need attention just like the skin on the rest of your body, especially if you suffer from a scalp condition. From dandruff to scalp psoriasis, here are three common scalp conditions and their possible solutions:
What is dandruff?
Dandruff is the build-up of dead skin cells on the scalp that stick together and break off in large, visible flakes. The symptoms of dandruff typically include flaking and dryness.
What causes dandruff?
In much the same way as the rest of your skin, healthy scalps continually shed dead skin cells. When the delicate rhythm of skin renewal on the scalp is upset, too many skin cells are produced too quickly.
There are many different reasons your scalp could be flaking. Some potential causes could be eczema, a fungal infection, or even a reaction to products you’ve used. The condition can also be made worse by stress and cold weather. If you’re concerned, make sure to visit your GP. It’s important to note that dandruff isn’t caused by poor hygiene, but not washing your hair regularly may make it more obvious.
How to get rid of dandruff?
There is no “cure” for dandruff. Fortunately, however, you can control most symptoms with anti-dandruff shampoos.
These shampoos work in different ways, such as by:
- Slowing down the process: Medicated shampoos with coal tar can help slow the proliferation (overproduction) of skin cells on the scalp and have antipruritic properties, which means they can relieve itching.
- Clearing scalp build-up: Shampoos with salicylic acid help break down scalp build-up and split flakes into smaller, less visible pieces that can be washed away easily.
- Taking anti-fungal action: Shampoos that include Zinc Pyrithione and Ketoconazole have anti-fungal properties, which can help you to manage dandruff.
Unlike dandruff, seborrhoeic dermatitis doesn’t only affect your scalp. It can occur in areas such as the upper back or nose. Symptoms include reddened, irritated skin, and large flakes. The scalp may be oily, causing flakes to have a yellowish tinge. Like dandruff, seborrhoeic dermatitis has no “cure”, but medicated shampoos can help control the symptoms. Coal tar, ketoconazole, salicylic acid, and selenium sulphide are just some of the ingredients to look out for that can help with the symptoms of seborrhoeic dermatitis.
The severity of psoriasis on the scalp can vary from slight scaling to thick, crusted plaques. Scalp psoriasis may look similar to seborrhoeic dermatitis, but there are differences. While seborrhoeic dermatitis scales usually appear yellowish and greasy, psoriasis scales generally appear powdery with a silvery sheen.
Always ask a healthcare professional for advice when treating your scalp psoriasis. Doctors and pharmacists often recommend shampoos containing active ingredients. These can include coal tar and salicylic acid to help treat the symptoms of scalp psoriasis.
Treatment for itchy scalp
If you’re looking for an effective treatment for dandruff, scalp psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp, then try Neutrogena® T/Gel Therapeutic shampoo. Using this product* can help to control an itchy, flaky scalp while leaving your hair shiny and manageable.
*product should be used two to three times weekly. Treatment usually lasts for 6 weeks. Longer periods of treatment should only take place under the supervision of a doctor.