Dandruff is basically, itchy skin flakes, which is called Pityriasis capitis. Dandruff can be identified from the sore skin flakes, which are sometimes, red in color. It is also found in infants, who suffer from Seborrheic dermatitis. Dandruff is process of shedding of old skin that is replaced by new skin of the scalp. It is not a problem, if it is in small qualities, but if it starts falling off to appear as patches, one needs a treatment.
The main cause of dandruff is exposure to extreme temperature conditions, but there are many other causes.
Some of the causes of dandruff are -
Dry skin - One of the commonest reasons for dandruff is dry skin. People having dry skin suffer from skin flakes in winter caused by cold air, in which, the skin gets itchy and flaky. Flakes of dry skin are not greasy.
Personal hair care and hygiene - People who do not wash their hair frequently or do not comb it properly, have more dandruff in their hair. If you are not shampooing your hair, the dead cells will build up on the scalp and it may cause this problem. Combing and cleaning the scalp habitually reduces the quantity of dandruff.
Oily skin - Dandruff can be found in people having oily skin and it is called seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis basically affects the skin of the body and it can be found in other parts of the body as well. The patient may have excessive oil glands in certain areas and greasy red flaky skin can be seen in eyebrows, armpits, sides of the nose, chest and in groin areas.
Skin disorders - There are many skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis, where one can see the presence of dead skin on the scalp. Eczema is basically inflammation of epidermis, where the skin becomes red and dry causing itching. Psoriasis is a condition, in which, the skin is inflamed and has silvery white scales.
Medical reasons - Some people have dandruff caused by medical reasons. There are certain critical illness such as heart attack and strokes, where the immunity of people reduces and causes dandruff and scaly skin. Condition such as regular constipation can also cause hair loss.
Harmful chemicals - There are many chemicals and drugs, which can cause dandruff on the scalp. Using harsh shampoos can cause skin irritation leading to dandruff.
Fungal infection - Dandruff can be caused by fungal infections. The fungus Malassezia can live on human scalp and it survives by taking nutrition from the hair follicles. The fungus is found on a healthy scalp and the body produces extra skin cells, which forms dandruff.
Climatic changes - Changes in climatic conditions and changes in temperatures can make the scalp sensitive to dandruff. Excessive perspiration has also been linked to excessive dandruff.
Other causes - It can be caused by many other reasons such as improper diet, stress, allergic reactions, anxiety and chronic diseases such as AIDs. Some researcher found dandruff link to yeast although it has not been accurately proved. Intake of excessive sugar can also cause this problem.