One of the most common misdiagnosed conditions is dandruff.
For example, often we overlook symptoms that are more accurately associated with sebhorrheic dermatitis, writing it off as dandruff and deciding to move forward with a self-diagnosis.
Do you remember the old Head and Shoulders commercials from yesteryear?
The premise of those commercials was very simple. Use Head and Shoulders shampoo and you would wash away the often-embarrassing dandruff flakes that many people have to deal with.
I am not bashing Head and Shoulders, because I imagine that they have good products. However, like many commercials, they play on the emotional appeal of the individual watching the commercial, which is actually good marketing. The product appears to solve a problem that you have, so you give it a chance to live up to the claims.
What is dandruff?
Dandruff is not contagious and most of the time it is not a serious condition. It is a very common scalp condition that causes the skin on your scalp to itch and flake away. In simple terms, dandruff is a scalp reaction that causes the natural cycle of skin replenishment to occur more quickly on your scalp.
Obviously, it can be embarrassing to have noticeable dandruff flakes present in your hair and on your shoulders, but typically, dandruff can be controlled. If you only have a mild case of dandruff, you will probably be just fine by shampooing your hair regularly with a gentle shampoo.
However, if you have a more severe case of dandruff, medicated shampoos or physician assistance may be necessary.
Dandruff is a condition that is usually simple to diagnose. If there are flakes of dead skin present in your hair and on your shoulders coupled with an itchy scalp, there is a good chance that you have dandruff.
The condition can be impacted by the climate that you live in. Fall and winter months are usually the most difficult times of the year for people with dandruff due to indoor heating contributing to dry skin and scalp. Typically, statistics show that the condition will improve during the summer months.
When is dandruff extreme?
If you only have a mild case of dandruff, it is typically not necessary to visit the doctor. My advice is to find a gentle shampoo and begin shampooing your hair regularly (weekly is a good start) and adjust as needed based on the results.
However, if shampooing your hair regularly doesn’t seem to help much or if your scalp condition becomes more severe (red, tender or swollen), then it’s time to visit your medical doctor or dermatologist.
There are skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis that resemble dandruff to the layman and should only be diagnosed by a medical doctor or dermatologist. This type of diagnosis generally requires a visual examination of your hair and scalp by a trained medical professional.
Potential causes of dandruff-like symptoms
There are several potential causes of dandruff. Below are the most common causes:
Are you at high risk for dandruff?
Several factors can make you more susceptible to suffering from dandruff including:
Typically, dandruff can be controlled with a little patience and persistence. Begin by washing your hair regularly with a gentle shampoo. Keep in mind that shampoos can contain very different ingredients and you may have to try a few to find the one that works best for you. Discontinue using any hair products that cause your scalp to itch, sting, burn or turn red. Furthermore, if you think you’re having an allergic reaction to a hair product – like a rash or hives – then consult with your medical doctor or dermatologist at your earliest convenience.
We’ve seen the following shampoos work well for many other people. If you’re looking for a shampoo to combat dandruff check-out one of these: