Many people are afflicted by dandruff and some cases of dandruff are extreme. The more serious and severe cases of dandruff are often caused by a medical condition called “seborrheic dermatitis.” Seborrheic dermatitis is commonly known as “cradle cap” in babies and toddlers.


The Signs of Extreme Dandruff


While it is not contagious, dandruff is noticeable by flaky dry pieces of skin that fall from the scalp to clothing. In extreme cases, the dead skin cells can build up and mix in with oils on the scalp, which will leave a crusty layer under the hair. Sometimes this crusty layer can adhere to hair follicles and make it hard to remove.


Non-Medical Causes of Extreme Dandruff


Dandruff is quite common and can result from a variety of factors that are not medically related.


Some non-medical causes:


  • Dry Skin: When the skin dries up due to increased heat in a house or dry winter air
  • Hair Washing: When the hair is not washed often enough oils and dead skin cells can build up and result in dandruff
  • Contact Dermatitis: Happens when an allergic reaction occurs and causes skin sensitivity


Extreme Dandruff Can Have Medical Reasons


Sometimes dandruff may result from a medical condition. It is best to seek medical advice if a medical condition is suspected.


Some reasons could be:


  • Seborrheic dermatitis: Often referred to as “cradle cap” with babies. This condition allows dead skin cells to build up and form a crust on the surface of the scalp.
  • Psoriasis: A skin disorder. Psoriasis doesn’t allow dead skin cells to shed from the surface and instead, they build up in layers.
  • Eczema: Another skin disorder making the skin very itchy, red and irritated.
  • Malassezia: this fungus normally lives on scalps without causing any problems but sometimes it can get out of hand and begin consuming oils around the hair follicles. This results in excess skin being produced and when the dead skin cells shed they collect with the oil and form clumps, which are quite visible.


Who is at Risk for Extreme Dandruff?


Anyone can suffer from dandruff but a few factors make some people more likely to suffer from it:


  • Age: People between the ages of 30 – 60, and even in young adulthood.
  • Sex: Females suffer less than males from dandruff
  • Diet: Diets low in Vitamin B, Zinc and other fats
  • Neurological disorders: Parkinson’s disease and Epilepsy contribute to dandruff




Over the country shampoos for dandruff are the first course of action. It is recommended to shampoo once a day until the dandruff goes away and then shampoo two to three times a week thereafter.


A dandruff shampoo should contain at least one of the following ingredients:

  • Ketoconazole
  • Ciclopirox
  • Tar
  • Pyrithione zinc
  • Selenium sulfide
  • Salicylic acid


Sometimes doctors will need to prescribe medicated shampoos and/or steroid lotions.



How do you manage your dandruff?


Tamara Laschinsky


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