Different Types of Dandruff and Their Treatment

Different types of dandruff manifest on the scalp due to various underlying causes, leading to varying presentations and symptoms. These ailments, collectively called dandruff, can be caused by dry skin, an overabundance of sebum, a fungal overgrowth, allergies, and some medical issues. In the typical scenario, skin cells follow a life cycle in that they multiply as necessary, eventually reaching the end of their lifespan and shedding naturally. However, when an individual experiences dandruff, this process is expedited, leading to an accelerated skin cell cycle. Consequently, more dead cells accumulate on the scalp and subsequently flake off.

Dandruff presents itself primarily through the appearance of white flakes in the hair, often accompanied by discomforting symptoms such as scalp inflammation and persistent itching. While dandruff can undoubtedly be an irksome hair concern, the good news is that it is treatable.

However, the critical question arises: How can you identify the types of dandruff you might be experiencing? The symptoms include white to yellowish or gray flakes in the hair and on the shoulders as they fall from the head. The scalp is often dry and itchy. There are a lot of factors that cause dandruff. It manifests in various ways, which must be understood before starting treatment. This article has explored various facets of dandruff, including its types and treatment methods. This information is valuable for anyone seeking to address and manage this common scalp concern.

Types of Dandruff

The scalp of everyone is unique. It can be:

  • Normal
  • Dry
  • Extremely dry
  • Oily

If we consider the different skin types of the scalp, it may be categorized into the following types of dandruff:

  • Dry scalp skin, dandruff
  • Oily Scalp Dandruff (Seborrheic Dermatitis)
  • Fungal Dandruff (Pityriasis Capitis)
  • Disease-Related Dandruff

1. Dry Scalp Skin Dandruff

Dry scalp skin dandruff, a common manifestation of scalp health issues, arises when the scalp’s natural moisture balance is disrupted, leading to the shedding of dry skin flakes. This type of dandruff is often marked by small, white, or grayish flakes that can be noticeable on the hair and clothing. Cold weather, low humidity, and overuse of harsh shampoos can exacerbate dry scalp skin dandruff. 

The problem is thought to be caused by the sebaceous glands on the scalp not producing enough oil, which usually keeps the skin moisturized. Consequently, the scalp’s outermost layer dries out and flakes off, causing the characteristic shedding of skin cells. Dry scalp skin dandruff can sometimes cause mild itching, but it is typically less inflammatory than other forms of dandruff.

2. Oily Scalp Dandruff (Seborrheic Dermatitis)

Let’s talk about oily scalp type of dandruff, also known as seborrheic dermatitis – a familiar scalp issue that many of us encounter. This condition is characterized by excess oil production, resulting in those bothersome, greasy, yellowish flakes. But that’s not all; it often brings unwelcome friends like redness, itching, and scalp inflammation. Seborrheic dermatitis occurs due to an overgrowth of a yeast called Malassezia, which is naturally present on the scalp. When the balance between this yeast and the scalp’s natural oils (sebum) is disrupted, it can trigger the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis.

3. Fungal Dandruff (Pityriasis Capitis)

Fungal dandruff, medically known as Pityriasis Capitis, is a distinct scalp condition marked by dandruff-like flakes. This condition emerges due to the Malassezia yeast’s proliferation, contributing to these flakes’ appearance. This kind of dandruff can cause the skin to shed more skin cells and, occasionally, cause the scalp to itch and become irritated. Warm and humid conditions can exacerbate fungal dandruff, as the yeast thrives in such environments.

4. Disease-Related Dandruff

Dandruff-like symptoms on the scalp that are related to an underlying medical condition are known to be referred to as disease-related dandruff. In these cases, the dandruff flakes are not solely a result of common factors like dry skin or excessive oil production. Instead, they are a manifestation of an associated health issue. Different types of skin conditions can cause flaking of the scalp.

  • Eczema

Seborrheic eczema, also known as seborrheic dermatitis or eczema dandruff, is a disorder of the scalp that causes flaking, redness, and irritation. Eczema is frequently associated with dry, itchy patches on different body regions, but it can cause symptoms similar to dandruff when it affects the scalp. Eczema is a chronic skin condition driven by an overactive immune response and genetic factors. Stress, certain foods, and environmental factors can trigger or exacerbate it.

  • Psoriasis

A disorder known as developing thick, silvery-white scales and red spots on the scalp characterizes psoriasis dandruff. These scales can be more prominent and stickier than regular dandruff flakes. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition affecting several body parts, including the scalp. A common symptom is itching, which frequently leads to persistent scratching and could aggravate the disease.

  • Sebopsoriasis

It goes by sebopsoriasis, which is similar to psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. It’s a rare condition where the features of these two separate skin conditions overlap on the scalp. The scalp may exhibit thick scales and greasy flakes, creating a unique appearance. Individuals with sebopsoriasis dandruff may experience itching, discomfort, and redness in the affected areas. Sebopsoriasis’s leading cause is unknown; however, it is thought to result from a mix of seborrheic dermatitis-related causes, immune system dysfunction, and hereditary susceptibility.

types of dandruff
Picture from Pinterest

Treatments to Prevent Dandruff

Hair Products

There are several anti-dandruff shampoos to treat different types of dandruff that you can use to treat and prevent different types of dandruff. When choosing a shampoo to help manage dandruff, it’s essential to look for specific active ingredients that target the underlying causes of dandruff. Here are some key ingredients to look for in anti-dandruff shampoos:

  • Pyrithione Zinc: This ingredient helps control yeast growth on the scalp, which is often associated with dandruff. It is effective for both dry scalp dandruff and oily scalp dandruff.
  • Ketoconazole: An antifungal agent, ketoconazole helps to combat fungal overgrowth on the scalp. It’s particularly effective for addressing fungal dandruff.
  • Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid helps exfoliate the scalp, removing dead skin cells and reducing scaling. It’s beneficial for loosening and removing flakes.
  • Coal Tar: Coal tar has anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. It’s commonly used in shampoos to treat various scalp conditions, including psoriasis-related dandruff.
  • Selenium Sulfide: This ingredient reduces the growth of Malassezia yeast and helps alleviate dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis symptoms.
  • Tea Tree Oil: It is known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties; it can help manage dandruff and alleviate scalp irritation.
  • Ciclopirox Olamine: This antifungal agent targets the yeast associated with dandruff, helping to control its growth.
  • Sulfur: Sulfur can help regulate oil production and exfoliate the scalp, making it practical for dandruff management.
  • Natural Ingredients: Some natural ingredients like aloe vera, neem, or rosemary can have soothing and anti-inflammatory effects on the scalp, helping to reduce dandruff symptoms.

When selecting an anti-dandruff shampoo, consider your specific scalp condition (dry, oily, or fungal-related) for different types of dandruff and any sensitivities or allergies you may have. It’s also essential to follow the instructions on the shampoo label and not overuse it, as excessive use can lead to other scalp issues.

Natural Home Treatments

Home remedies can help manage mild cases of different types of dandruff. However, if your dandruff is severe or persistent, it’s recommended to consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment. Here are some home remedies that you can try:

  1. Fenugreek Seeds: To rejuvenate your hair, start by soaking fenugreek seeds in water overnight to allow them to absorb moisture. Afterward, grind these seeds into a fine paste. Apply this revitalizing paste to your scalp, leaving it on for around 30 minutes before rinsing it off. This natural treatment will leave your hair looking and feeling refreshed.
  2. Neem (Indian Lilac): Neem has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Boil neem leaves in water, let the water cool, strain it, and use it to rinse your hair after shampooing.
  3. Aspirin: Crush aspirin tablets into a fine powder and mix them with shampoo. The salicylic acid in aspirin can help exfoliate the scalp. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing.
  4. Yogurt and Lemon: The symbiotic combination of probiotics found in yogurt and the acidic qualities of lemon juice serves as a dynamic duo in the quest to harmonize the pH levels of the scalp and alleviate the troublesome issue of dandruff. These natural remedies offer a multifaceted approach to promote a healthier, dandruff-free scalp, making them a valuable addition to your hair care routine. Mix yogurt and a few drops of lemon juice, apply to your scalp, leave for about 30 minutes, and then wash off.
  5. Essential Oils: Essential oils like lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus have potential benefits for dandruff. Incorporate a few drops with a carrier oil and massage to your scalp.
  6. Healthy Diet: Enhancing the health of your scalp is intrinsically tied to your dietary choices, as a well-rounded and nutrient-rich diet can yield significant improvements. Among the essential nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamin B are pivotal in fostering optimal scalp health. Incorporating these elements into your balanced diet sets the stage for a healthier scalp and, in turn, lustrous, problem-free hair.

Remember that results can vary and might take some time to notice improvements. If your dandruff persists or worsens, it’s best to seek guidance from a professional for personalized advice and treatment.

Final Thoughts

Effective management and treatment of the many types of dandruff depend on understanding these types. Each type of dandruff has its difficulties and underlying causes, including dry scalp skin dandruff, oily scalp dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis), fungal dandruff, disease-related dandruff, and even the distinctive features of dandruff caused by sebopsoriasis. It’s critical to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the dandruff problem. A proper diagnosis and consultation with dermatologists or other medical professionals are essential to pinpoint the condition’s underlying cause and choose the best course of action.

Leave a Comment