What Your Hair & Scalp Say About Your Health
White Flakes Pose No Health Risk
Dandruff isn't contagious. So how do you get it? Doctors aren't sure, but one theory is that it may be due to an overgrowth of a fungus. Other possible risk factors include oily skin, stress, obesity, cold, dry weather, and having eczema or psoriasis. Although it's embarrassing -- and the itching can be bothersome -- dandruff isn't harmful.
Tips for Dandruff Treatment
To decrease the buildup of dandruff's dead skin cells, try using an antidandruff shampoo daily. Leave shampoo on for 5 minutes, then rinse well. You may need to try several dandruff shampoos to find one that works best for you. If one stops working, try another. If that doesn't help, call your doctor.
If the dandruff flakes you see are greasy and yellow, you may have seborrheic dermatitis. It's an inflammatory skin condition that can occur where there are lots of oil glands, like the scalp and face. Though seborrheic dermatitis is related to hormones, fungus and even some neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease or HIV, these conditions are all treated the same as dandruff: with antidandruff shampoos.
In alopecia areata, your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, causing hair to fall out -- often suddenly. Most people will have one or two bald patches, which can be treated easily with injections but in some cases all body hair falls out. Alopecia areata isn't harmful or contagious, but it can be tough psychologically. Hair may grow back on its own, and treatment may help it grow back more quickly. Unfortunately, some people may experience alopecia areata repeatedly.
An Attack on Hair Follicles