Dandruff is one of the most common scalp conditions. In fact, over 50% of the population experiences dandruff at some point in their life.
Dandruff is the scalp’s response to irritation. Specifically, irritants on your scalp can cause changes in the skin that create itch, dryness, and redness. These irritants can also speeds up the turnover of skin cells, and cause immature cells to clump together at the scalp’s surface. This clumping together creates the visible flakes of dandruff.
Dandruff occurs when three things come together:
1. A microbe: There is a naturally- occurring microbe called Malassezia globosa that is found on everyone’s scalp
2. Scalp oils: The microbe breaks down scalp oils. This creates a skin irritant called oleic acid
3. Skin sensitivity: About 50% of people have sensitivity to oleic acid. This sensitivity causes dandruff.
So, what is dandruff? What are the signs? While most people assume dandruff is simply visible skin flaking, flakes aren’t the only signs of dandruff. In fact when you have dandruff, your whole scalp is out-of-sync, and you can experience itch, irritation, redness, dryness, and of course, visible skin flaking (typically white or yellowish).
Signs of dandruff:
While dandruff is the commonest cause of these symptoms, there are other conditions, such as psoriasis, which can cause scalp flaking.