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What Causes Dandruff? And What Works to Treat it?

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Paolo Posted: Wed, Oct 13 2010 14:08

Dandruff is a much understated problem and is often viewed as comical by the general public, simply thinking that a bottle of head and shoulders is a cure-all. Although Head and Shoulders etc do work for some people, there are many others who continue to suffer from the constant nagging itch of a flaking scalp which can even wake them up at night.

The bug associated with dandruff is a yeast called Pityrosporum ovale, which can be thought of as a type of fungus. Like all fungal infections it can be very, very difficult to get rid of. This may be because it is a sporing organism and produces billions of spores which are difficult to kill, or more likely, that the environment on your scalp is simply perfect for nurturing this nasty little bug.

It has been reported that Pityrosporum ovale likes an alkaline environment, but trying to make your skin acidic by using something like vinegar, simply doesn’t work. However some people seem to have had success with live yoghurt, which presumably is adding a competing organism.

Experts do not know whether becoming infected with Pityrosporum ovale causes the dandruff or whether someones scalp conditions make it an ideal environment for this yeast to flourish, which in turn triggers dandruff.  Scientists seem to leaning towards the latter explanation.

Once dandruff is established it is very difficult to get rid of permanently, some would say, impossible. Oddly enough athletes foot is also virtually impossible to shift once you have it which is like having a similar problem in a different place.

From my experience some dandruff shampoos do nothing to help dandruff, including some of the really big brands.  However I have had some success with a number of shampoos at treating dandruff, some of which were not being sold as dandruff shampoos, notably ProFusion for dry hair (which is actually for hair loss - and I openly declare an interest) and Nizoral (but that can produce side effects), but the most dramatic results I found were from using Schwartzkopf Bonacure Dandruff lotion which is applied after shampooing (it stings) and you do not wash out, just leave it on the scalp and it works brilliantly!

It could be worth us sharing experiences of other effective dandruff treatments.

Director of Pro Hair Biosystems

The exclusive UK distributor of ProFusion shampoo and conditioner, formulated to prevent hair loss in adults.

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