When is a flaky scalp something more? If you are wondering why flakes keep coming back after using anti-dandruff treatments, we may have the answer.
Most people don't know that dandruff can be caused by fungus. This condition, different than common dry scalp, is known as malassezia. Symptoms appear when there is an overgrowth of the fungus. It requires fat to grow, so the scalp is the perfect breeding ground because of the number of oil (sebaceous) glands present. Buildup caused by malassezia can be oily or dry and most often occurs in people who have an oily scalp, suppressed immune systems or who don't shampoo often enough. We all carry the fungus, but the problem occurs when it grows out of control.
"Dry scalp or dandruff can be caused by many things such as fungus, hormone changes, allergies, illness or inflammatory conditions," says Dr. Anna Vedina of James River Internists in Midlothian. She adds, "If your problem continues after using an over-the-counter treatment shampoo containing zinc for four weeks, try a different shampoo that contains tar. If that doesn't resolve your symptoms, see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. The condition may require treatment with corticosteroids or anti-fungal medications."
Crystal Rivenbark is a Midlothian-based stylist and cosmetology instructor.