28 October 2016Last updated

Features | People

Ask the expert: I have dandruff and hair loss

There’s no permanent cure for dandruff, as such one should expect its recurrence at various intervals

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir
1 Mar 2016 | 11:13 am

I’m 26 and am suffering from severe dandruff. I’m also losing hair, and have found my hair is greying prematurely. Please help.

Let’s tackle one issue at a time: Medically, dandruff is caused by seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp. In this case, the scales on the scalp are thickish, greasy, yellowish-white and bigger in size than regular scalp scales. Dandruff caused by seborrheic dermatitis has no proven relationship with seborrhea (excessive sebum production) of the scalp. This is a form of eczema that commonly affects genetically prone individuals and tends to get worse with psychological stress and during lowered immunity status.

The other common conditions for dandruff-like scaling include psoriasis, allergic contact dermatitis and fungal infections.

Dandruff treatment is mainly directed towards removal of scales and to suppress any underlying inflammatory process. So the majority of prescribed remedies include medications/shampoos with tar, salicylic acid and selenium sulphide. In resistant cases, topical corticosteroidal lotions or solutions can be used, for short periods.

There’s no permanent cure for dandruff, as such one should expect its recurrence at various intervals.

For excessive hair fall, it’s important to detect the underlying cause – hormonal, metabolic, nutritional, malabsorption, immunological or psychological. Consult a dermatologist for a treatment plan.

As for premature greying, hereditary factors are believed to have a strong influence. Among other suspected factors are certain metabolic disorders and extremely rare medical syndromes. But there’s no definite curative treatment.

I’d suggest that you not use hair dyes at this early age as some have been found to accelerate greying. Also, avoid stress as it could make all these three complaints worse.

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Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

is a specialist dermatologist and founder and president of Dermacare Skin Health Services.