What is Dandruff?

Dandruff is an overabundance of a natural process that occurs in everyone. The skin cells covering our bodies are constantly being replaced by new skin cells. When old skin cells die, they dry up and fall away. Generally, this process is usually slow enough and unseen, but dandruff occurs when the process is accelerated. In most people, the skin over the entire scalp replaces itself approximately once a month and the process remains invisible as long as you wash your hair and scalp regularly. However, in some people, the replacement of old skin cells speeds up, making it more difficult to keep up with the pace. When the process accelerates to every 10-15 days, visible dandruff occurs. If it accelerates further (every five days or less), severe dandruff results.

What are the Symptoms of Dandruff?

Dandruff is an itchy, annoying and persistent skin disorder of the scalp. A dark shirt and dandruff just don’t go together.

What are the Causes of Dandruff?

Dandruff is a mysterious ailment. Mysterious, because there is no commonly agreed upon theory about what actually causes this condition. It is estimated a vast majority of the population of the United States will at some point in their lives have a form of dandruff, but there is still a lack of total agreement about this condition.

Traditional Medical Treatments for Dandruff

Dandruff cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. The first step is to increase the rate at which dead skin cells are removed from the scalp. In mild cases of dandruff, this can be accomplished by washing your hair more frequently – for example, every day rather than every two or three days. In moderate and in some more severe cases, this increased frequency of shampooing should be combined with the use of medicated, over-the-counter dandruff shampoos.

Complementary/Alternative Treatments for Dandruff

While there are many purported home remedies for dandruff, one therapy that seems to be effective is daily shampooing with tea tree oil. Tea tree oil, which is extracted from the leaves of the Australian tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), has been used for centuries as an antiseptic, antibiotic and antifungal agent. It’s now included in a number of shampoos found in natural foods stores. The oil is generally well tolerated but may cause allergic reactions in some people.