Managing Dandruff

About DermDoctor

How common is dandruff?
Dandruff is a very common and well known condition. Nearly 50% of the population will be affected by dandruff at one point in their lives. Dandruff is most commonly seen in a person's twenties into middle age. It affects men slightly more than women, but affects all ethnicities equally.

Is dandruff a sign of poor hygiene?
Dandruff is not caused by poor hygiene. In fact, over-washing can remove important oils from the scalp, and aggravate the condition.

Is there any way to effectively hide dandruff?
Many cases of mild dandruff are not as noticeable to the public as the person suffering may think. Moderate or severe cases can, however, be difficult to hide. A good tip is to avoid wearing dark colored clothing as it highlights the flakes, making them more visible. Wearing a white t-shirt or sweater can camouflage flakes well.

How effective are dandruff treatments?
Most cases of dandruff are quickly and effectively treated with specialized shampoos that are available over the counter. With regular use, many cases of mild dandruff will disappear within a week or two. If the treatment is ineffective, or the condition worsens, we advise you to visit a dermatologist.

Are there any medical conditions that are similar to dandruff?
Dandruff is an extremely common condition, so if a person has dandruff-like symptoms, the most likely explanation is that the person has dandruff. There are medical conditions like seborrheic dermatitis or scalp psoriasis, however, that can resemble symptoms of severe dandruff. If dandruff becomes worse, bleeds, or is resistant to dandruff treatments, visit a dermatologist as it may point to one of these conditions which will require a stronger treatment.

Why does dandruff become worse in the winter?
Cold and dry air which is typical in the wintertime strips the skin of moisture, and causes it to become dry. Many people complain of mild dandruff during the winter for this reason. Keep warm, but avoid excessive showering and bathing, and avoid using very hot water as it can dry out the skin further.

Ask DermLetter