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Dandruff is a harmless, frequently itchy condition which affects up to 40 per cent of people over the age of 30.  It usually begins between the ages of 10 and 20 and causes great embarrassment. Dr. Janet Prystowsky, a leading leading board certified dermatologist in Manhattan, takes a closer look at dandruff.

What Causes Dandruff?  According to Dr. Prystowsky, dandruff is traditionally caused by the accumulation of dead skin cells and skin oils (sebum) that are a part of normal scalp function. “Sebum is produced in hair follicle oil glands, and skin cells slough from the scalp surface just as they do from the rest of your body,” she explains. “It is a part of normal skin cell turnover.”  However, you may also get excessive dandruff if you have scalp skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis.  Skin infections with fungus (tinea capitus), head lice, or Staph may also trigger excessive flaking.

Can Dandruff Be Washed Away? Dr. Prystowsky suggests washing the scalp by shampooing every few days to easily remove dandruff.  If one has dandruff from seborrheic dermatitis, using a shampoo with antifungal agents will leave the scalp clear of flakes and the hair more manageable than with other dandruff shampoos.  “I’ve worked with the Dove brand and have recommended their products to patients for years,” Dr. Prystowky shares. There are many great shampooing options for controlling mild to moderate dandruff.  However, for more persistent and difficult to control dandruff, “you should see your dermatologist to see if a prescription antifungal, antibiotic, or topical steroid are indicated to treat your dandruff problem,” she warns.

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