Dandruff is a skin condition that mainly affects the scalp. Symptoms include flaking and sometimes mild itchiness. It can result in social or self-esteem problems. A more severe form of the condition, which includes inflammation of the skin, is known as seborrhoeic dermatitis.
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|Other names||Pityriasis capitis, pityriasis sicca|
|A microscopic image of human dandruff|
|Symptoms||Itchy and flaking skin of the scalp|
|Causes||Genetic and environmental factors|
|Diagnostic method||Based on symptoms|
|Differential diagnosis||Psoriasis, dermatitis, tinea capitis|
|Medication||Antifungal cream (ketoconazole), salicylic acid|
|Frequency||~50% of adults|
The cause is unclear, but believed to involve a number of genetic and environmental factors; the condition may worsen in the winter. It is not due to poor hygiene, and the underlying mechanism involves the excessive growth of skin cells. Diagnosis is based on symptoms.
There is no known cure for dandruff. Antifungal cream, such as ketoconazole, or salicylic acid may be used to try to improve the condition. Dandruff affects about half of adults, with males more often affected than females. People in all areas of the world are affected. Onset is usually at puberty and it becomes less common after the age of 50.