Flaky and itchy scalp, also known as dandruff, is a common problem in men and women and in all age groups. However, some people have just one severe dandruff case, which is where dead skin cells build up in visible flakes and fall off the scalp. Severe cases of dandruff are usually caused by fungal and yeast infections, most commonly a fungus called malassezia, which feeds on the sebum secreted by hair follicles. Most people only have a mild case of dandruff, but others have a situation where the fungus grows, irritates the scalp, and triggers the production of extra skin cells. When these extra skin cells die, they stick together and form large, visible flakes by mixing with the oil on the scalp. Harsh skin care products, stress, damp and dry conditions can trigger flaky dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. If home remedies don't work for you, here is a list of effective ingredients to look for in shampoos and hair treatments to treat dandruff.
1. Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid is a keratolytic compound that dissolves the adhesions between dead skin cells. It also reduces sebum production and maintains scalp health.
2. Selenium sulfide: Selenium sulfide has antimicrobial properties and also relieves flaking and itching.
3. Zinc pyrithione: This compound also has antimicrobial properties and can also eliminate acne on the scalp. It's often used in anti-dandruff shampoos.
4. Coal tar: It helps remove dead skin cells and also decreases the rate of skin cell growth. They are called keratoplastics.
5. Tea Tree Oil: Not only is this essential oil good for the skin, it is equally effective in treating scalp acne and, of course, dandruff. This oil has a compound called "terpinen-4-ol" with antimicrobial properties and can eliminate itchy and flaky scalps.
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