Dandruff, also known as scurf or Pityriasis simplex capillitii, affects the scalp and causes flakes of skin to appear - it is a common condition. Our skin cells are forever renewing themselves. When the skin cells on our scalp are renewed the old ones are pushed to the surface and out of the scalp. For a person with dandruff the renewal is faster, meaning more dead skin is shed, making the dandruff more noticeable. Dandruff can also occur if the scalp is frequently exposed to extreme temperatures.
Dandruff can be chronical (long-term) or the result of certain triggers. People with dandruff may also experience irritation and redness on the scalp.
Excessive flaking may be caused by an underlying illness or condition, such as psoriasis, a fungal infection (Malassezia), seborrheic dermatitis, or even head lice.
Some individuals with severe dandruff may have social or self-esteem problems. Therefore, treatment may be important for both physiological and psychological reasons.
The word dandruff comes from (most likely) dand (origin unknown) and E. Anglian (England) dialect huff, hurf, meaning "scab". This is probably linked to the Old Norse word hrufa, meaning "scab". The Old High German word hruf means "scurf".
- some people think their dandruff is caused by their scalp being too dry. They try to deal with this by not washing their hair with shampoo, or wash it less often, believing that washing worsens the problem. This is a myth (not true). Dandruff differs from a dry scalp in that it usually gets better when you shampoo more frequently (with the right shampoos).
A significant number of people with dandruff find it improves as they get older.
It is estimated that about 50% of people in Western Europe and North America suffer from dandruff.
Dandruff is more common in men than in women, and in people with oily skin.
Dandruff does not contribute to hair loss.
This is a skin condition in which the skin becomes inflamed or flaky. Seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp is a severe form of dandruff. When it affects the scalp most people refer to it as dandruff. When babies have it, it is referred to as cradle cap. Seborrheic dermatitis causes larger, greasier flakes than most other types of dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis affects not only the scalp, but the skin in other parts of the body too