30 Days to a Diabetes-Free Life

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Dandruff - Is Not Contagious

By Ricardo Henri


Dandruff is a global phenomenon and numerous people realize that it can create social or self-esteem problems. It is not an organism like lice; it is merely dead skin that accumulates on the scalp and can produce either an overly dry scalp with itchy white flakes that may be waxy or greasy or can manifest as an oily greasy scalp with scales. Scales often occur as tiny, round, white-to-gray patches on top of the head.

The problem is often known as "dry scalp", but individuals with oily scalps have a tendency to suffer the most. This problem can occur at any age but is most frequently found in those between the ages of twelve and eighty. Dandruff is not contagious and is normally not a serious concern.

It is said to be related to a fungus named malassezia (formerly named pityrosporum) that lives on the scalp of most people.


Dandruff is unlikely to be a factor in hair loss. Rarely, it can be a manifestation of an allergic reaction to chemicals in hair gels/sprays, hair oils, or sometimes even dandruff medications like ketoconazole. Hair sprays, styling gels, mousses and hair waxes can all accumulate on your hair and scalp, making them oilier. Thorough cleansing of the scalp and the hair will keep flakes out of sight for up to 3 days.


Most cases can be readily treated with specialized shampoos. One of the most effective treatments for years was Head & Shoulders. Most other anti-dandruff shampoos work by normalizing the pH of the scalp. The new shampoos have changed quite a lot and have become a lot more sophisticated. But shampoos aren't all the same, and you may need to experiment until you find one that performs best for you.

Shampoos are classified according to their active ingredient: Zinc pyrithione shampoos (Suave Shampoo, Head & Shoulders). Anti-fungal/anti-dandruff shampoos containing ketoconazole have been demonstrated to be more effective than zinc pyrithione. The newest addition, ketoconazole is a broad-spectrum antifungal agent that may prove effective when other shampoos do not.

But if you're still scratching your head after several weeks of using over-the-counter (OTC) shampoos or if your scalp becomes red or inflamed, see your health care professional or dermatologist.


Dandruff normally begins at puberty - about the same time as acne and can be seen as either very dry and flaky scalp or very oily scalp with flakes. It is a chronic condition that can almost always be controlled, however it may take a bit of patience and persistence. Dandruff can affect numerous different people in every age group, cannot be cured, but it can be controlled.

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