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When Dandruff Becomes More Than Just an Annoyance

2017-07-11T10:30:23+00:00 By |

Dandruff is embarrassing and annoying, but can it be cured? Does it lead to baldness? Dandruff may be a sign that something's haywire with your hair follicles, and that can lead to thinning hair. Here's what's really causing that itchy, flaky scalp. Your skin, including your scalp, naturally sheds dead skin all the time, usually once a month. But your scalp can get out of control, shedding every few days. That's most often caused by the hyperactivity of a one-celled organism called Pityrosporum ovale or Malassezia ovalis. Here's how it works: Hair grows out of a tiny shaft in the skin called the follicle. Each follicle is nourished by a sebaceous gland that produces a waxy oil called sebum. Malassezia feeds on those sebaceous glands and multiplies, causing the skin to shed faster. So if you have an oily scalp, you're more susceptible to dandruff. It can't be cured, but the shedding can be controlled. What Else Can Cause Dandruff? Saturated fats and trans-fatty oils: These age-old enemies in your diet stimulate scalp sebum, making a feast for Malassezia and other organisms. Cold weather: This is chapped-hands weather, but your scalp can suffer too. When you're outside, wear a warm hat and gloves. Dry heat: In indoor dry heat, your skin and scalp will benefit from the use of a humidifier. If you have to blow-dry your hair, keep the drying time short. Better yet, let your hair dry naturally. Sun and tanning: Yes, your scalp can get sunburn from UVA, which can damage the follicles. Tanning salons use UVA and UVB. Wear a cap outdoors or a towel around your hair in the salon. Harsh shampoos and conditioners: Ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth [...]