Dandruff is one of the most common ailments affecting the scalp. Dandruff is nothing but excessive scaling of dead cells of the skin of the scalp. As you are aware, body undergoes constant but gradual renewal every 24 hours. However, when it is much faster renewal of the skin, it becomes visible in the form of scales, which we call dandruff.
Symptoms of dandruff:
Dandruff, per se, is not a disease but a symptom. Excessive and obvious scaling of skin which is visible in the form of white (grey), flaky substance is the most common symptom (or sign) of dandruff. It may often be associated with itching, oily skin, irritation or redness of underlying skin. It tends to be chronic (long lasting) as well as recurring.
Dandruff could be of two major types: a. Dry (flakes appear silvery and white) b. Moist. (where the flakes appear pale yellowish with unpleasant smell.)
Causes of dandruff:
Dandruff results from rapid maturing (and hence shedding) of the cells every week, instead of every month.
Excessive oil (sebum) production precipitates dandruff in many people. This over activity could result from more than one reason. The causes, triggering factors and maintaining factors can be categorized as under:
Infection (Pityrosporum Ovale or Malassezia Globosa) (Debatable.)
Excessive use of hair sprays, gels
Improper use of hair : coloring products, hot iron curls
Cold weather, dry indoor heating
Excessive consumption of fat, starch, sugar
Infrequent shampooing of hair or Inadequate rinsing or shampooing of hair
Dandruff is often found to be is mostly seasonal. Some patients find it most severe during winter and mildest during summer.
Though Dandruff is called as Dry Scalp but the people with oily scalp tend to suffer the most.
Diagnosis of dandruff:
While concluding the exact diagnosis of dandruff, your doctor often requires ruling out other underlying diseases, which often resemble present like dandruff: They are
- Seborrhoeic dermatitis
- Fungal infection
Your doctor will be able to evaluate your history and the exact diagnosis could be arrived at by a close clinical examination. No biopsy is required.
Treatment of dandruff:
The challenge of treating dandruff lies in the successful control of its relapse. It is not very difficult to treat dandruff for once. However, it is not easy to treat dandruff forever!
The treatment for dandruff should aim at controlling the underlying causing factors as well as the symptoms.
The conventional treatment often treats the end result rather than the root cause of dandruff. Most commonly measures are use of
- Use of Anti-dandruff shampoo’s
- Antifungal shampoo
- Selenium sulphide
Homeopathic treatment aims are treating dandruff in totality. In other words, it treats the underlying cause of dandruff (please check the causes as described above) and hence helps preventing recurrence of dandruff.
The medicines uses for dandruff are geared towards altering the activity of the scalp tissue and therefore slow down the multiplication of the cells of the scalp. Homeopathic medicines possibly depress the abnormal multiplication of cells of the scalp called ‘stratum corneum’. Homeopathic medicines are unique in the respect that they can act as immune-modulators and address underlying immunological parameters while treating dandruff.
Homeopathic Remedies for Dandruff
Some of the commonly used homeopathic medicines for dandruff are
Mezerium, Thuja Occidentalis, Kali sulphuricum, Kali muriaticum, Sulphur, Psorinum, Natrum muriaticum, Graphites, Sepia and more.
Mezerium: This medicine is prepared from the plant, which grows in Russia, Scandinavia and Asia, with bright red berries. Mezerium helps those cases of chronic dandruff who have thick scabs which are hard to remove, which may leave behind painful marks and possibly scars.
Thuja Occidentalis: This powerful medicine helps resistant cases of dandruff, where the patients have oily hair, itching on scalp and may also have oily face; with or without acne or pimples. These patients are usually sensitive to cold. One may need just a few doses selected in correct potency by a professionally trained homeopathic physician.
Precautions and tips for dandruff
Dr Rajesh Shah suggests avoiding frequent use of anti-dandruff shampoo, as such shampoos are habit forming. The day you stop using the shampoo, the dandruff resurfaces with more severity! You are suggested to wash scalp with plane, warm water daily or use mild, baby shampoo.
Homeopathic treatment is safe and very effective for dandruff, which is strongly recommended.
Related conditions: Psoriasis, Seborrhoeic dermatitis, Hair loss