What can people tell me about dandruff?
April 7, 2004 4:03 PM   Subscribe

What can people tell me about dandruff? Is it just dead skin cells that get mixed up in your hair or is it some major dry scalp problem like the commercials tell me? I've been reading some very conflicting reports as of late. What's the best treatment for it? Is treatment necessary or even healthy?
posted by Slimemonster to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
Nutrogena T-Sal. A bit pricey, but it does work. You may want to go to a dermatologist and see if it's psoriasis. There's this treatment called Diprolene that comes in a dropper bottle that you put directly on the scalp lesions.
posted by pieoverdone at 4:05 PM on April 7, 2004

also, this thread.
posted by ifjuly at 4:54 PM on April 7, 2004

g'ah! here.
posted by ifjuly at 4:54 PM on April 7, 2004

Isoteknika is developing a cyclosporine analogue that is showing signs of extremely high efficacy in the treatment of dandruff. However, their main intention for it at this time seems to be as an transplant anti-rejection drug. (IIRC, dandruff is an immune system disorder, as is transplant rejection.)
posted by five fresh fish at 5:44 PM on April 7, 2004

Stop washing your hair. Rinse it & give yourself a good scalp massage everyday, but stop with the soapy-type stuff.

I stopped washing mine about 7 years ago & it's been great. I have quite thick wavy hair so I've tended to keep it short for ease of use which has helped.

You will have to go thru 6 weeks where your hair/head gets back to its natural balance of oils so it can get a little itchy but it's worth it. If you cut your hair short first it makes this process easier.

And it stopped the dandruff for me. In fact it gave me the best condition hair I'd ever had & I'd tried all sorts of gloop over the years. The condition is better if I rinse in softer water BTW.

I originally stopped washing as I was going to Africa for a few months & didn't want to bother about taking too many unecessary bits & bobs (ie shampoo, conditioner). In the end I didn't go but the hair felt so good I kept on with it. The rinse/massage thing is essential tho'.

(Actually, I did have to wash it once after I'd been to a fetish party & a friend had fixed up my hair with a load of gold Xmas tree decoration spray!)
posted by i_cola at 6:12 PM on April 7, 2004

Oh & you might want to look at diet/allergy possibilities. A freind of mine has just eliminated excema & scalp problems having kept a food diary & eliminating full-fat milk products.
posted by i_cola at 6:16 PM on April 7, 2004

I used to have what I thought was dandruff before a hairdresser explained that it was actually buildup from the cheap shampoo and conditioner I was using everyday. I switched to a better brand (Aveda), and my problems went away. However, because the Aveda stuff costs so much, I started only shampooing my hair only once a week. Not quite as extreme as i_cola's solution, but I experienced a lot of the same benefits.
posted by gokart4xmas at 6:37 PM on April 7, 2004

My experience with not washing is that the dandruff builds up a ton more than normal and my scalp gets really itchy too. Maybe I'm not waiting long enough to get the results some of the other posters had, but I'd bet everyone is different.
posted by banished at 6:46 PM on April 7, 2004

My solution which works well enough (but not great):

- Use soap on your hair rather than shampoo.
- Get a buzz cut

(however, I have a VERY oily scalp and don't care about the "condition" of my hair, so YMMV will definately vary)

At least the itching went away. I tried some REALLY icky prescrption tar based shampoos for it and not only found them rather ineffective, but also REALLY malodourous and rather uncomfortable to use.
posted by shepd at 8:56 PM on April 7, 2004

Response by poster: I guess my wish for non-varying answers has failed. I have answers calling to use soap on my hair and to avoid using soap on my hair. Thanks though. Anyone else?
posted by Slimemonster at 9:06 PM on April 7, 2004

I say go talk to your GP/MD.
posted by gen at 10:35 PM on April 7, 2004

Look up "candida" on Google. Dandruff can be a side effect of candidiasis, in which case dietary changes would correct it.
posted by annathea at 7:14 AM on April 8, 2004

Slimemonster: I'm right damnit!
I think it's a case of trying a few things to find out what works for you. Not washing could take a 2-3 months to find out. Diet maybe a month or so.
posted by i_cola at 5:40 PM on April 8, 2004

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