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21 August 2017Last updated
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Ask the expert: are flakes on scalp dandruff?

Itchy scalp could indicate dandruff

Dr VL Shyam
7 Jul 2017 | 11:48 am
  • Source:Shutterstock

My 12-year-old daughter has flakes on her scalp which itches. Is it  dandruff? Please suggest some remedies.

Dandruff by definition is a scalp condition marked by itching and flaking of the scalp. The causes can be dry skin, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema and sensitivity to hair care products (contact dermatitis). Our skin cells are forever renewing themselves. When the skin cells on our scalp are renewed, the old ones are pushed to the surface and out of the scalp.

For a person with flaky scalp, the skin renewal is faster, ie. more dead skin is shed. Seborrheic dermatitis is marked by red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales.

Scalp psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp can be difficult to differentiate. In addition, they share some similar signs and symptoms such as itchy, red, scaly skin. Most often, the scales of psoriasis are thicker and somewhat drier in appearance than are the scales of seborrheic dermatitis.

Psoriasis usually affects more than one area of the body. If you have scalp psoriasis, you may also have mild psoriasis on your elbows, knees, hands or feet or may notice subtle nail changes, such as pitting.

Sometimes sensitivities to certain ingredients in hair care products can cause a red, itchy, scaling scalp. Consult an Ayurveda doctor for a differential diagnosis and prompt treatment.

Some home tips are suggested as below:

Healthy diet plays an important role in the treatment; favour cabbage and garlic in your diet.

Prior to head bath, massage scalp with a paste of fenugreek seeds and buttermilk.

Use Triphala powder mixed with water for scalp wash

Apply oils like Ayyappala thailam or Eladi keram on scalp 15 minutes before scalp wash.

Use an anti-dandruff shampoo thrice weekly; switch between 2 different products.

Avoid or reduce intake of yoghurt, milk, jaggery, black gram, shell fish, sesame products and sour and salty foods.

Consider taking supplements of multivitamin, zinc, fish oil.

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Dr VL Shyam

Dr VL Shyam

Dubai-based Ayurveda practitioner