Dandruff is a common skin condition, where on the affected area of scalp flakes of skin start to show. The process of renewing skin cells is incessant in our body. The old skin cells on our scalp are pushed to the surface and out of the scalp by the regenerated skin cells. Dandruff is a condition that comes along when the skin cells are renewed more rapidly than under normal conditions. This causes more amount of dead skin to emerge on the scalp, creating an unsightly view of dandruff. Frequent exposure to the extreme temperatures can trigger dandruff.
In Ayurveda, it is described that hair problems are caused by imbalance in vata, pitta and kapha. Pitta dosha especially is the root cause of hair problems. The levels of pitta increase in body if you consume excessive tea, coffee, alcohol, meat, fried, oily, greasy, spicy, sour, and acidic food. In addition excessive smoking and sexual activities also increase pitta.
The disease can be divided in two main categories:
Seborrheic Dermatitis: Seborrheic Dermatitis is an advanced stage of dandruff. It does not only occur in scalp, but it can appear in eyebrows, eyelids, areas around ears & nose, and on chest.
Cradle Cap: When infants are affected by seborrheic dermatitis, it is referred to as Cradle Cap. Cradle cap is not dangerous and is not caused by improper hygiene. If it is handled with proper care it will show positive results as it is generally a temporary condition.
Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis include:
- Presence of noticeable flakes in the scalp and hair
- Oily looking flakes in hair
- Inflammation in skin
- Irresistible urge to itch the scalp
- Soreness, tingling and mild pain in head
- Excessive hair loss
- Greasiness and redness in skin
- Crusting and scaling rash on scalp
Symptoms of cradle cap include thick and crusty yellowish scales on the scalp. It may or may not be itchy. It is found in newborns and children up to three years of age.
Over production of skin oil and yeast called malassezia are primary reasons to induce dandruff. Seborrheic Dermatitis can appear due to hereditary, but there can be other reasons to activate it.
The causes can be listed as follows:
- Extreme weather conditions
- Oily skin
- Not maintaining clean and hygienic regimes
- Unhealthy diet
- Skin disorders
- Using cosmetics containing alcohol
- Cosmetics like hair gel and hard shampoos
- Using chemical dyes
- Deficiency of essential elements like zinc and iron
- Hormonal imbalance
- Excessive intake of oily, heavy and sweet food
Common Herb that can be used to relieve dandruff:
Some of the common herbs used on scalp can give relief from dandruff. These herbs include rosemary, fenugreek seeds, olive oil, ginger, and chamomile flowers. You can add crushed rosemary or ginger in olive oil and massage your scalp thoroughly for 10 to 15 minutes before washing it with cleansing shampoo. Fenugreek seeds can have great effect on dandruff, you can make a paste of soaked fenugreek seeds and apply on scalp an hour before shampooing. Lime juice is also used by many to treat dandruff.