Dandruff is a chronic non-serious non-contagious condition that causes itching and flaking of the scalp. Causes of dandruff can vary, from hormones to oily scalp to genetics, or even more serious conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis.
Even though hair loss tends to happen around the same time that dandruff happens, it is not the cause of permanent hair loss. However, if left untreated, dandruff can become so itchy and irritated that it can lead to temporary hair loss.
Treatments prescribed for hair loss can irritate your scalp and cause the itching and flaking dandruff reaction. Minoxidil, which has been used to treat thinning hair, can cause dandruff-like conditions. Alcohol, which is used in Minoxidil, can dry the scalp over time leading to itching and scaling.
Another reason dandruff is related to hair loss is due to the physical act of itching itself. Intense itching usually induces vigorous scratching, and vigorous scratching can separate the hair from one’s head. While scratching, you may be pulling, breaking and scraping your hair away from your scalp–this just adds to the hair loss situation.
If you have dandruff, begin by using an over-the-counter medicated shampoo containing zinc pyrithione, tar, salicylic acid, selenium sulfide or ketoconazole. Try using the medicated shampoo daily until symptoms improve, and then reducing the frequency to two or three times each week. Alternating between active ingredients and leaving the shampoo on your scalp for at least five minutes is also beneficial.
Lifestyle changes to help prevent dandruff include eating a healthier diet that includes B vitamins, zinc and omega 3 fats while reducing overall stress in your life.
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