Dandruff is caused by a fungus that feeds on the dead skin cells on your scalp. The fungus excretes an irritating chemical that irritates the skin and causes dandruff. There are two types of dandruff — a dry form, which is more common, and a greasy form, called seborrheic dermatitis. Anti-dandruff shampoos contain ingredients that help to reduce the action of fungi and other irritants on your scalp. For more details about how this shampoo works, see this article.
1. How Does Dandruff Develop?
Dandruff is caused by a naturally occurring fungus that lives on your scalp. When this fungus, called Pityrosporum ovale, grows, it causes inflammation on the scalp. This inflammation can lead to redness and flaking, which is what we call dandruff.
The initial signs and symptoms of dandruff are usually symmetric, like a mohawk growing on your head. If you don’t immediately know if you have dandruff, you may not recognize it as such until your scalp is swollen, red, and has multiple bumps.
Also, if you have moles, you might not recognize the spots on your head because they’re smaller, glazed, and silvery outside. Fortunately, most people can recognize dandruff with just a quick look at their hair.
You probably already know that anti-dandruff shampoos reduce the action of the fungi that cause dandruff. But do you know how shampoos reduce the action of Pityrosporum ovale? Yep, they contain ingredients that target the fungus and help reduce the inflammation that causes dandruff.
2. What Is Anti-dandruff Shampoo?
Anti-dandruff shampoo is a hair shampoo that helps to maintain the health of your scalp and remove dandruff. It contains mild detergents and active anti-fungal ingredients. They can cause dandruff if used regularly over long periods. They can also cause a problematic buildup of dead skin cells on your scalp if you don’t follow the shampoos instructions. Serious dandruff can easily be prevented by wearing a good hairstyle and a shower when you shower because shampoo can strip essential oils from your hair.
3. How Does Anti-dandruff Shampoo Work?
Anti-dandruff shampoos typically contain three active ingredients: selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, and ketoconazole. One of these active ingredients is usually in a shampoo’s formula. They are used to treat dandruff in several ways. First, they block the formation of the skin cells that cause dandruff. This promotes the growth of dead skin cells in the form of dandruff shampoos. Second, selenium is especially effective at killing certain bacteria that cause dandruff, including Mycobacterium avium. Furthermore, selenium disrupts the metabolism of certain skin bacteria, which decreases the skin bacteria’ ability to produce acid and promotes the skin’s own ability to produce acid. Finally, zinc pyrithione prevents the bacteria responsible for dandruff — bacteria that cause seborrheic dermatitis or active yeast infections — from sticking to the hair follicles so that the hair doesn’t fall out.
4. How Can You Get Rid of Dandruff and Prevent Its Return?
To get rid of dandruff and prevent it from coming back, you need to treat the scalp. Use a medicated shampoo with zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid or ketoconazole to eliminate dandruff-causing fungi and yeast.
Common shampoo ingredients include pomades, sulfates, sulfates/glycols, and propylene glycol. For details on how shampoo ingredients work, see this article. Finally, if dandruff is deeply seated and refuses to come out, see your physician.
If your doctor can’t find a cause for your dandruff and doesn’t prescribe medication, ask your dermatologist about over-the-counter products. Topical medications are effective long-term treatments for dandruff and shouldn’t cause dandruff for up to 2 years after you stop using them. The oil-of-forage (botanical) combination of aloe vera and sebum produces a therapeutic antibacterial substance that reduces and even eliminates dandruff.
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