Dandruff is neither harmful nor contagious, but can be embarrassing and stressful. Though easy to cure, it often comes back. Dandruff is a product of several possible conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and a fungal infection of the scalp. The chief suspect, however, is a type of eczema called seborrhoeic dermatitis. The rash affects greasy, or ‘sebaceous’, areas of skin, such as the face, scalp and middle of the chest. The cause is thought to be an over-growth of a harmless yeast. Treatments are aimed at suppressing the yeast growth.
Medicated shampoos with zinc pyrithione, selenium sulphide or ketoconazole are all available in our pharmacy. A ‘descaling’ preparation, with coal tar, coconut oil and salicylic acid, can be prescribed for use overnight. It can be messy, but usually works well. If there is irritation try a shampoo to which a steroid solution has been added.