Treating Dandruff

Dandruff affects nearly half of the adult population, making it one of the most common skin disorders.

Dandruff is a scalp problem that most people are familiar with. It is essentially accelerated shedding of the scalp skin, which results in white flakes being visible on the head and the shoulders. Flaking is a normal and natural process and occurs in everyone as dead skin cells rise to the surface of the skin. In dandruff, inflammation causes accelerated flaking. This causes the flakes to clump together, forming larger visible pieces. Itching is often but not always associated with dandruff. Dandruff can be chronic or temporary, and are influenced by a variety of factors like seasonal changes, conditions like eczema, presence of fungal infection, and hormonal changes.

Lifestyle Adjustments:

  • Avoid excessive showering, especially with hot water. Showering once or twice a day should be sufficient, and use lukewarm water so that the skin is not irritated.
  • Wearing white clothes can help to camouflage the flakes.


  • Dandruff is a build-up of dead skin cells on the scalp which clump together making them visible. Shampooing daily will help mitigate the build-up of dead skin that characterizes dandruff.
  • Avoid over-washing. Remember that dandruff is not caused by poor hygiene or lack of washing. Excessive showering can backfire by drying out the skin and aggravating dandruff.

Anti-dandruff shampoos:

In most cases, proper use of specialized shampoos should quickly clear mild to moderate cases of dandruff.

  • Anti-dandruff shampoos are available in most drug stores over the counter.
  • Most cases of dandruff should clear quickly after using anti-dandruff shampoos.
  • When applying medicated shampoos, make sure that the shampoo infiltrates the scalp area if you have long hair. Ensure that the medication reaches the scalp, and let it lie on the scalp for some time before washing.

Prescription topical:

  • In rare severe cases of dandruff, prescription strength medication may be required to clear the condition.
  • Some conditions like seborrheic dermatitis or scalp psoriasis can resemble dandruff and are more challenging to treat. These conditions usually require prescription strength treatments to resolve.