Identifying the kind of dandruff that you have
What kind of dandruff do you have?
Dry dandruff – caused by under active / stripped sebaceous glands
Dandruff that is caused by under-active sebaceous glands will have a few tell tale signs:
- you should begin feeling worse immediately after shampooing – your scalp should feel itchy and dry.
- The dandruff flakes will be small, light, powdery and not clumped together.
- The problem will worsen as you increase your shampooing frequency.
- The rest of your skin will usually be okay – there will be no underlying skin condition like psoriasis, eczema or dermatitis.
Oily dandruff – caused by greasy scalp / over active sebaceous glands
Dandruff caused by over active sebaceous glands is also usually easy to spot:
- You are under 35, typically with oily skin and scalp OR you have a dominant Pitta / Pitta + Kapha prakriti
- Scalp aggressively secretes oil and hair looks limp, greasy and unwashed one or two days after washing your hair.
- The dandruff flakes will be large, heavier & will clump together.
- There is moderate to severe scalp itchiness
Fungal dandruff / Seborrheic Dermatitis– caused by fungal organisms
When Oily dandruff persists for sometime, it can trigger seborrheic dermatitis or fungal dandruff. This can also happen in Pitta / Pitta-Kapha prakritis who have moderate to heavily greasy scalp with sweet, sour sweat secretions which are attractive to fungal organisms.
The combination of the oil, sweat and the rasa of the secretions on the scalp can attract fungal organisms which feed on these secretions. As they feed on this, they break down the sebum, sweat and other secretions and secrete a hydrolysed oil compound. This compound leads to itching on the scalp and irritates it further. This compound also holds scalp flakes together – so you will see larger clumping of dandruff, change in colour of flakes to a mildly yellow / creamy yellow color and severe itching . In this kind of dandruff, there is also rapid spreading of dandruff as the organisms start to move looking for more food.
The changing nature of dandruff – from oily to dry as you age
When you are below 35, your sebaceous glands are at their peak – so excessive shampooing triggers a compensatory response from them. You will find your hair looking greasier, as your sebaceous glands work overtime to replace and add more oil to protect your hair and scalp.
This response goes down as you age, so your self care routine must also take into account your age, stress levels and other factors. You should not mechanically use the same shampoo / same level of shampooing across all lifestages.
At all points, it makes sense to choose gentler, non toxic hair cleansers and suitable oils for your scalp.
There is also a connection with Pubic Hair Dandruff which cause itchiness. This is entirely different scenario, please contact your Doctor if necessary.
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