Dandruff (known medically as seborrheic dermatitis), the scaling and sloughing of the skin on the scalp, usually occurs during adolescence and adult life, reaching its peak severity at about age 20. In a person with dandruff, small white or gray scales accumulate on the surface of the scalp. The scales detach from the scalp, falling among the hairs and on the shoulders. Doctors once suspected that a yeast infection may have been the cause of most cases of dandruff, but current evidence shows that no microorganisms have a role in its development.
The best method of treating dandruff is shampooing with an antidandruff shampoo that contains selenium sulfide, zinc, or tar. After removal with a shampoo, however, the scales often form again in 4 to 7 days. If your dandruff is severe, see your doctor, who may prescribe an antidandruff shampoo. Daily shampooing will help prevent dandruff. Ask your doctor to recommend an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or ointment to help relieve itching and redness.
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