Having dandruff or a red and itchy scalp can be bothersome, irritating and sometimes embarrassing. Dermatologist Dr Ch’ng breaks down some facts about dandruff and gives us some helpful tips on how to manage our scalp issues
What causes dandruff?
Dandruff is marked by scales or little white flakes that are shed from the scalp. It most often refers to a condition called seborrheic eczema or seborrheic dermatitis.
The exact cause of dandruff is not known. However, we do know that it is a chronic form of endogenous eczema, associated with a complex interplay between genetics and the microorganisms that live on the skin’s surface. It’s worth noting that dandruff is more common among people who have diseases that affect their immune or nervous systems. Dandruff is also found to be associated with mental health issues and alcoholism.
Can babies have dandruff?
Yes. In babies under 12 months old, seborrheic eczema often manifests as crusty yellow scales that adhere on the scalp—it is also known as cradle cap. This condition may also affect the skin on the baby’s face and other parts of the body.
Is it contagious?
Dandruff is not contagious. Seborrheic eczema is a type of endogenous eczema which is not infectious. However, infections can still happen on skin with seborrheic eczema, and it is often manifested as a smelly and damp area on the scalp. An infected area can feel extra itchy and may sometimes feel hot or painful. Hence, it is not advisable to share combs.
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