There are a number of different scalp conditions. Here’s a guide to some of them:
Dandruff is the build-up of dead skin cells on the scalp that stick together and break off in larger visible flakes. The symptoms of dandruff typically include irritation, flaking, and dryness.
In much the same way as the rest of your skin, healthy scalps continually shed dead skin cells—usually in small amounts that are hard to detect. When the delicate rhythm of skin renewal on the scalp is upset, too many skin cells are produced too quickly. The medical term for this increased shedding is “hyperkeratosis”.
A reaction occurs on the scalp causing dead skin cells to develop at a rate that is too fast for the skin to slough off normally. Dead skin cells build up on the scalp, sticking together and breaking off in larger, visible flakes. If the scalp becomes significantly inflamed and irritated, then you may have developed seborrheic dermatitis. There is no scientific consensus on what causes increased skin cell production to the point of flaking.
Fortunately, you can control most symptoms with anti-dandruff shampoos. These shampoos work in different ways such as:
- Slow down the process: Medicated shampoos with coal tar can help slow the proliferation (overproduction) of skin cells on the scalp and have antipruritic properties (relieves itching).
- Clear 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.
- Anti-fungal action: Shampoos which include Zinc Pyrithione and Ketoconazole have anti-fungal properties which can help manage dandruff.
See some recommended products for controlling Dandruff: