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Dandruff is a condition that causes the skin on the scalp to flake off, resulting in white flecks. It is not a serious condition, but can be very embarrassing, itchy, and sometimes difficult to treat. There are several options available, and once you find the right dandruff treatment, this condition can be successfully managed. However, you will need to confirm your dandruff diagnosis, find a product that works, and use it correctly in order to see results. For some people, finding a dermatologist to assist can be of significant help.

What Causes Dandruff?

Dandruff is caused by skin cells dying too quickly and growing too fast. Doctors don’t know exactly why the skin acts this way, but there are a variety of contributing factors. For example, infrequently shampooing, having a sensitivity to some hair care products, and having other skin conditions can cause dandruff. Similarly, a type of yeast called Malassezia is also known to cause dandruff, as is scalp skin that is naturally oily. Any number of factors may contribute to your dandruff, which means finding an appropriate treatment may be difficult. In this case, a doctor can help point you in the right direction, providing treatment options and access to prescription-strength products.

Dandruff Symptoms

Most symptoms of dandruff are mild, causing white flakes of dead skin to appear throughout the scalp and hair. Dandruff can also cause itchiness. If the scalp appears red and flaky, you likely have seborrheic dermatitis, which is a more severe inflammatory form of dandruff.

Dandruff is not usually a serious condition that needs medical attention. However, a visit to the doctor will be necessary if the scalp becomes red or if symptoms cannot be reduced with over-the-counter medications and shampoos. If you think you may need a prescription-strength shampoo, make an appointment with one of our dermatologists. We can assess your scalp and make personalized product recommendations to combat your dandruff.

Dandruff Treatment Options

Dandruff is most often treated with prescription or over-the-counter shampoos, but this depends on the severity of the condition. If you are unsure whether your dandruff is serious or routine, visit your dermatologist. Those with more severe types of dandruff will likely only find relief in stronger, prescription-strength products.

It is important to not confuse dandruff for a dry scalp. These two conditions have the same primary symptoms, but they differ significantly. A dry scalp is caused by excessive skin dryness, which causes the skin to become irritated and flake off. Dandruff is caused by an excess of oil on the scalp, which causes skin cells to build up and shed. While they may look the same, you should know which condition you have before purchasing a dandruff treatment. If you are unsure, a dermatologist can help provide a diagnosis.