EduRazor: What is Dandruff… More Than Head and Shoulders!


I’ve seen many scalps in my 10 years of being an assistant and hair stylist…. and boy I tell you, some of them weren’t pretty. Dandruff is a huge scalp issue in the salon and a lot of people think that you can easily wash it away with a magical shampoo. Unfortunately it’s not that simple, dandruff is more complex than you think.

According to the Milady’s Standard Cosmetology textbook, “Pityriasis is the medical term for dandruff, which is characterized by the excessive production and accumulation of skin cells”. Dandruff is a large amount of those skin cells clumped together, which becomes largely visible on your scalp, hair, and shoulders. *Dandruff is the result of a fungus called malassezia. *Malassezia is a natually occurring fungus present in all human skin. Malassezia only develops the symptoms of dandruff when it grows out of control. Stress, age, hormones, and poor hygiene can trigger malassezia and cause dandruff symptoms to get worst.

There are two types of dandruff, pityriasis capitis simplex and pityriasis steatoides. Pityriasis capitis simplex is classic dandruff. You can tell this case of dandruff by scalp irritaion, large flakes, and itchy scalp. Using antidandruff shampoos, conditioners, and/or topical lotions on a regular can help control this case of dandruff. Pityriasis steatoides is a more severe case of dandruff. *This case can be characterized by an accumulation of greasy or waxy scalp scales, mixed with sebum, that stick to the scalp in crusts. When accompanied by redness and inflammation, the medical term is seborrheic dermatitis. This cause should be referred to a physician asap!

So there you have it folks, DANDRUFF, and what it actually is! Dandruff is not contagious, however it should not be taken lightly. Make sure and use the necessary products and visit a physician if needed.

**Information taken from the Milady Standard Cosmetology textbook.**

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