If you have a flaky scalp
we tend to say we have "dandruff", but this is often not the case
Dandruff is a particular condition
of the scalp that needs a specific treatment to control it. Often
confused with many of the other conditions of the scalp you may
find yourself treating the wrong thing. Therefore we suggest that
you check that whatever you have conforms to this description:
- More often associated with an
oily scalp than a dry scalp. Flakes are whitish in colour and
may be spread over the entire scalp. The scalp may be itchy,
but if you examine it closely it should not be red or inflamed.
Scaly skin on other parts of the body is not associated with
If you're not 100% convinced that
this description fits with your condition then read the following
definitions to find which one most closely matches with your symptoms
so that we can recommend the right treatment:
- Flakiness that is dry and often
confined to the top of the head, hairline or nape with tiny,
if not dust like flakes, that are white in colour. The patches
which may or may not be itchy can often be worse at certain
times of the year e.g. the change of seasons. Also ask yourself
if this dry area is the same spot that you always apply your
shampoo to or that the hot shower hits? This is simple
is easily treated by using a number of different products and
by following the advice in the next section.
- Flakiness accompanying slight
swelling, redness and small blisters that may weep could mean
either contact dermatitis
These 2 conditions are very similar and only differ in how deep
they penetrate into the layers of the skin. They are produced
when you come into contact with something that you are allergic
to and initially the symptoms are confined to that area. You
need to seek the help of a trichologist or doctor as soon as
you can and find out the cause of the irritation. Once the allergen
is found you need to avoid it as further contact results in
a spread of the irritation to areas that have not necessarily
contacted with it.
- Flakes that are more yellow than
white colour, greasy with red itchy skin and in the most severe
cases spreading of the condition to the eyebrows, beard and
around the nose. This could be seborrhoeic
Treatment for this severe form of dandruff should be prescribed
by a trichologist or doctor.
- Intensely itchy patches of greyish-white
scale surrounded by a red ring-shaped area is the distinctive
feature of ringworm. The 'ash-like' scale is due to the destruction
of the hair shafts by the fungus but quite often though there
is no hair loss at all.
- Diagnosis is made by microscopic
- The treatment for this condition
are anti-fungal creams and prescription medications.
- Your trichologist can diagnose
this condition but you will need to see your family doctor for
Don't feel shy or embarrassed when
you're with your hairdresser though, this condition is really
quite common and definitely not infectious, so they are not going
to treat you like a leper.
If at all concerned then consult
- Dermatologist (if the condition
also appears elsewhere on the body).
- Trichologist (specialist in hair
and scalp conditions).
- Hairdresser (great mine of information
on everything and would know which of the above to refer you