Dandruff Formation: A Scientific Explanation
The outermost layer of skin, the epidermis, acts as a protective shield for the more sensitive tissue lying under it. The epidermis is made up of layers of hardened dead cells about 20 to 40 cells thick and fulfills the same protective function on the scalp as on all skin that covers our body.
After a new cell is born at the inside of the epidermis, it hardens and dies and moves to the outer most layer. The dead cells on top are constantly being worn or scraped off, but they are so tiny that we don't notice them. Usually, this process takes about 28 days for a cell to move from the bottom layer to the epidermis to be shed at the skin's surface.
But if you have dandruff, cell regeneration works slightly different. The cell growth in a dandruff scalp is disorderly and often the life cycle of the cell is not completed before it leaves the scalp. Normally, a discarded cell flake is only a few layers thick, whereas in the dandruff scalp, the disorderly cell growth keeps cells from separating as easily, plus the sebum (hair oil) secretions seem to be stickier and act to bind the cells into large scales 20 to 40 layers thick. The cluster of dead cells which make up a dandruff scale are large enough to be visible unlike the far greater number of normal cells which are discarded daily and go unnoticed.
Do you know why you get dandruff?
Studies indicate that 50% of adults are affected by dandruff at some time or the other in their lives. More often than not, it is the result of a disturbance in the body's metabolic process. Your scalp, like the rest of your skin, is constantly renewing and shedding itself. Old cells die out and give way to new ones. And when the natural balance in the metabolic process is upset, the new cells form faster than the old cells can be shed off. These then accumulate on the scalp in the form of flakes. The metabolic process can be disturbed by
- The onset of puberty
- Emotional stress and strain
- Sudden changes in the climate or your diet.
- It is also believed that dandruff is caused by a fungal infection of the scalp.
Before you start treating your hair for dandruff, make sure you really have dandruff. Sometimes a flaky scalp may be caused by too much sun, or excessive use of hair dryers. It can also be caused by the use of soaps on the hair, or harsh shampoos which do not wash out easily. But if you use a gentle shampoo plus conditioner , you need not worry. Avoid following certain home remedies , taking them up too much, cos that does more harm than good.
Your comb/brush and dandruff
Never use the brush or comb of the person suffering from dandruff as it is dangerous and contagious. Likewise, make sure that you wash your comb/brush after every shampoo if you have dandruff yourself! Many medicines, medicated soaps and shampoos are available to counter dandruff, but the most effective is cleanliness of hair. Brush your hair thrice a day and shampoo at least once a week. While washing your hair, take care the water does not trickle down your face. There are chances that you may get pimples.
Mixed Condition Hair And Dandruff
If your scalp feels oil, but your hair feels dry then you have mixed condition hair. The bad news is that Dandruff is a common occurrence with this type of hair. The sebum that is secreted is soaked up by the dandruff flakes which clog the follicle.This prevents the flow of the oil along the hair shaft and causes it to dry out. And voila you have tiny, white flakes floating your scalp that are dandruff!