Dandruff is the popular name for seborrheic dermatitis, a problem that undoubtedly bothers a large part of the adult population (usually between the ages of 20 and 50), but still raises many doubts among people.
Is dandruff a unique male problem or can it also bother women? Is it contagious? How to treat it? Below you will find the answer to these and other important questions on the subject. Worth knowing!
What is Dandruff?
Dandruff can be defined as a scaly skin peeling process. Ligia Kogos, a dermatologist member of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology, of the Brazilian Society of Aesthetic Medicine and director of the Ligia Kogos Clinic of Dermatology, explains that dandruff is a result of overworking the sebaceous glands on the scalp.
“It is a very common problem especially in the winter because it is nothing more than a protection of our body to withstand the cold … The glands produce a secretion that, in turn, burns the skin, and it and forming that cone dead skin, “says the specialist.
Ligia also adds that the flaking often comes accompanied by redness and itching (more or less intense, depending on the case), which usually causes great inconvenience to the people who suffer from the problem.
Thus, it is worth mentioning that seborrheic dermatitis is an excessive scaling of the scalp caused by genetic predisposition, but that, to manifest itself, depends on the existence of other factors, such as climate, stress, hormonal imbalance or carbohydrate-rich diet and/or fats.
Does dandruff affect both women and men?
The answer is yes. However, it is worth mentioning that the problem is more recurrent in men.
Ligia Kogos explains that men are more prone to dandruff because they have more sebaceous glands – responsible for oiliness – and higher production of hormones, such as testosterone, which directly affect the growth of sebum in the scalp.
But women are not free either. “In cases of stress, for example, ACTH (adrenal cortex adrenocorticotropic hormone) is produced in excess, increasing the activity of the sebaceous glands, which are over stimulated and may result in dandruff,” he explains.
Ligia Kogos further notes that women who have a little more male hormone are more likely to have dandruff. “It is more common that the problem also occurs in girls who already have more oily skin and already suffer, for example, acne,” he says.
The dermatologist adds that women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome are also more likely to have dandruff.
“But in general, in men, cases of dandruff are usually more exuberant, more intense, they usually bother more,” says the dermatologist.
7 questions about dandruff answered by a dermatologist
Below you will find some common questions about the subject, which still generate a lot of confusion in the minds of people who try to investigate a little more especially about the causes of dandruff:
1. Does the use of conditioner cause dandruff?
Ligia Kogos points out that many people believe that it is the use of conditioner that causes dandruff, but it is not so. “Maybe this will occur if the person already has a tendency to have dandruff and misuse the product (put a lot of conditioner on the scalp and do not pass it on, for example). But it is worth noting that generally dandruff does not happen because of the person, but more because of internal factors, “he explains.
2. Does washing hair with hot water cause dandruff?
Ligia stresses that the answer is “no” and that this is more of a myth. “Because dandruff results from excess sebaceous production by the scalp glands – secretion is rich in fatty acids that cause irritation, scaling, itching and inflammation – the external hot water does not trigger the condition. On the contrary, it may even momentarily relieve, by its anti-inflammatory effect, the exuberant picture of pruritus and peeling. It is only a myth this belief that hot water could cause dandruff, “he explains.
3. Can washing the hair every day make dandruff worse?
Does wearing hair daily can even cause dandruff? In this regard, how many times a week is recommended to wash the hair? Ligia Kogos explains that each person has their individual needs regarding washing, according to their hair type (oily, normal or dry) and their lifestyle. “There are many who need to wash every day, either because they have oily hair, or because of physical exercises, swimming or simply because they feel better (like most men),” he says. The act of rubbing the scalp heavily every day, however, according to the dermatologist Ligia, may end up stimulating the glands to work harder, aggravating oiliness and dandruff. “But washing normally does not interfere significantly,” he says. “Thus,
4. Is dandruff contagious?
No, not even if you use the brush or comb of a person with dandruff. Dandruff is nothing more than the result of a scaly scaliness caused by genetic predisposition, but which, to manifest itself, depends on the existence of other factors (climate, stress, hormonal imbalance or diet rich in carbohydrates and/or fats) .
5. Can improper eating stimulate dandruff or worsen the condition?
Yes. Ligia Kogos stresses that a diet rich in fats, sugars, fried foods and/or refined carbohydrates (such as rice, pasta, and white bread) can stimulate or aggravate dandruff.
“It is also fundamental to avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages – which make the picture worse in a person who is already predisposed to have dandruff,” says the dermatologist.
6. Can dandruff make hair fall off?
Ligia Kogos explains that dandruff may, rather, cause a greater drop in the wires – since it causes an inflammatory process in the hair follicles. Even so, there is a greater concern on the part of women with the problem.
However, it is worth mentioning that dandruff is not responsible for baldness – which is also associated with genetic predisposition. However, constant inflammation of the scalp, such as that caused by dandruff, can aggravate the problem of baldness.
7. Does dandruff have a cure?
It is believed that seborrheic dermatitis may accompany the person throughout their life with periods of improvement and worsening. However, there are currently good treatment options and, with a suitable one – indicated by a dermatologist – it is possible to greatly reduce symptoms such as scaling and itching.
When to seek medical help to treat dandruff?
Ligia Kogos explains that when noticing the first signs of dandruff, the person should first try using an anti-dandruff shampoo (which are usually based on sulfur, salicylic acid, zinc or sodium sulfacetamide). “They are easily found on the market and are generally efficient. So the person should have a little more patience and carefully read the product label looking for one of these items, “he says.
Walk according to the doctor, it is important that the person also stop to observe their food. “Is it too much carbohydrate? Fat? Chocolate? Fry Alcoholic beverage? Its worth it, then, to try to improve the food also to see if the problem diminishes, “he explains, noting that a diet rich in fats and carbohydrates can make the picture worse.
But, continues the professional, if even taking such care – following a good diet, using anti-dandruff shampoos – the problem persists, the ideal is the person to see a dermatologist who will indicate the best form of treatment.