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Encyclopedia > Dandruff
Classification & external resources
A large flake of dandruff combed from a beard
ICD-9 690.18
DiseasesDB 11911

Dandruff (also called scurf and historically termed Pityriasis capitis) is due to the excessive shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp. As it is normal for skin cells to die and flake off, a small amount of flaking is normal and in fact quite common. Some people, however, either chronically or as a result of certain triggers, experience an unusually large amount of flaking, which can also be accompanied by redness and irritation. Most cases of dandruff can be easily treated with specialized shampoos. Dandruff is not an organism like lice; it is just dead skin that accumulates in the scalp. Dandruff is unlikely to be the cause of hair loss. Dandruff is an LP by Ivor Cutler, originally released in 1974 on Virgin Records. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (most commonly known by the abbreviation ICD) provides codes to classify diseases and a wide variety of signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or disease. ... The following is a list of codes for International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. ... The Disease Bold textDatabase is a free website that provides information about the relationships between medical conditions, symptoms, and medications. ... The scalp is the anatomical area bordered by the face anteriorly and the neck to the sides and posteriorly. ... Drawing of the structure of cork as it appeared under the microscope to Robert Hooke from Micrographia which is the origin of the word cell being used to describe the smallest unit of a living organism Cells in culture, stained for keratin (red) and DNA (green) The cell is the... In medicine, a chronic disease is a disease that is long-lasting or recurrent. ... Induction IS retarded This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ... The tone or style of this article or section may not be appropriate for Wikipedia. ... Shampoo is a common hair care product used for the removal of oils, dirt, skin particles, dandruff, environmental pollutants and other contaminant particles that gradually build up in hair. ... Suborders Anoplura (sucking lice) Rhyncophthirina Ischnocera (avian lice) Amblycera (chewing lice) Lice (singular: louse) (order Phthiraptera) are an order of over 3000 species of wingless parasitic insects. ... Baldness (formally alopecia) is the state of lacking hair where it usually would grow, especially on the head. ...

Excessive flaking can also be a symptom of seborrhoeic dermatitis, psoriasis, fungal infection or excoriation associated with infestation of head lice. The Term mycosis (plural: mycoses) refers to conditions in which fungi pass the resistance barriers of the human or animal body and establish infections. ... Look up Head louse in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Dandruff is a global phenomenon and many people find that dandruff can cause social or self-esteem problems. Treatment may be important purely for psychological reasons.



As the epidermal layer continually replaces itself, cells are pushed outward where they eventually die and flake off. In most people, these flakes of skin are too small to be visible. However, certain conditions cause cell turnover to be unusually rapid, especially in the scalp. For people with dandruff, skin cells may mature and be shed in 2 - 7 days, as opposed to around a month in people without dandruff. The result is that dead skin cells are shed in large, oily clumps, which appear as white or grayish patches on the scalp skin and clothes. Cross-section of all skin layers Optical Coherence Tomography tomogram of fingertip, depicting stratum corneum (~500µm thick) with stratum disjunctum on top and stratum lucidum (connection to stratum spinosum) in the middle. ...

Dandruff has been shown to be the result of three required factors:[1]

  1. Skin oil commonly referred to as sebum or sebaceous secretions[2]
  2. The metabolic by-products of skin micro-organisms (most specifically Malassezia yeasts)[3][4][5][6][7]
  3. Individual susceptibility

Common older literature cites the fungus Malassezia furfur (previously known as Pityrosporum ovale) as the cause of dandruff. While this fungus is found naturally on the skin surface of both healthy people and those with dandruff, it was discovered that a scalp specific fungus, Malassezia globosa, is the responsible agent.[8] This fungus metabolizes triglycerides present in sebum by the expression of lipase, resulting in a lipid byproduct oleic acid (OA). Penetration by OA of the top layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, results in an inflammatory response in susceptible persons which disturbs homeostasis and results in erratic cleavage of stratum corneum cells.[5] The sebaceous glands are glands found in the skin of mammals. ... Schematic view of a hair follicle with sebaceous gland. ... For the fictional character, see Fungus the Bogeyman. ... Malassezia furfur (formerly known as Pityrosporum ovale) is one species of a group of related fungi (yeasts) naturally found on the skin surfaces of many animals and humans, and primarily known as the most common cause of dandruff. ... Species See text. ... Triglyceride (blue: fatty acid; red: glycerol backbone) Triglycerides are glycerides in which the glycerol is esterified with three fatty acids. ... Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in various animal and vegetable sources. ... The stratum corneum (the horny layer) is the outermost layer of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). ... Homeostasis is the property of either an open system or a closed system, especially a living organism, which regulates its internal environment so as to maintain a stable, constant condition. ...

Rarely, dandruff can be a manifestation of an allergic reaction to chemicals in hair gels/sprays, hair oils, or sometimes even dandruff medications like ketoconazole. Ketoconazole is a synthetic antifungal drug used to prevent and treat skin and fungal infections, especially in immunocompromised patients such as those with AIDS. Due to its side-effect profile, it has been superseded by newer antifungals, such as fluconazole and itraconazole. ...

There is no convincing evidence that food (such as sugar or yeast), excessive perspiration, or climate have any role in the pathogenesis of dandruff. Perspiration (also called sweating or sometimes transpiration) is the production and evaporation of a fluid, consisting primarily of water as well as a smaller amount of sodium chloride (the main constituent of table salt), that is excreted by the sweat glands in the skin of mammals. ...

Seborrheic dermatitis

Flaking is a symptom of seborrheic dermatitis. Joseph Bark notes that "Redness and itching is actually seborrheic dermatitis, and it frequently occurs around the folds of the nose and the eyebrow areas, not just the scalp." Dry, thick, well-defined lesions consisting of large, silvery scales may be traced to the less common psoriasis of the scalp. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a skin disorder affecting the scalp, face and trunk causing scaly, flaky, itchy, red skin. ...

Seasonal changes, stress, and immuno-suppression seem to affect seborrheic dermatitis.


There have been many strategies for the control of dandruff. Simply increasing shampooing will remove flakes.[9] However, elimination of the fungus results in dramatic improvement. Regular shampooing with an anti-fungal product can reduce recurrence.

Active ingredient Example of product
Sodium Bicarbonate Baking Soda
Zinc pyrithione[10] Head & Shoulders, Clinic All Clear, Pantene Pro V
Ketoconazole[11] Nizoral, or Fungoral
Selenium sulphide Selsun Blue, Vichy Dercos Anti-Dandruff shampoo, other varieties of Head & Shoulders
Tea tree oil[12] Himalaya Anti-dandruff shampoo
Tar[13] Neutrogena T/Gel
Piroctone olamine (INCI)[14] Octopirox

Anti-fungal/anti-dandruff shampoos containing ketoconazole have been shown to be more effective than zinc pyrithione.[15] Ketoconazole is the most effective antifungal agent concluded by multiple studies.[16][17] Initially ketoconazole was marketed in 1% and 2% concentrations, but later the 1% formulation was withdrawn as it was found to have too many treatment failures. Zinc pyrithione is chemical compound used as an antifungal and antibacterial agent. ... Head & Shoulders is a famous brand of anti-dandruff shampoo produced by Procter & Gamble. ... Pantene logo Pantene is a brand of hair care products owned by Procter & Gamble. ... Ketoconazole is a synthetic antifungal drug used to prevent and treat skin and fungal infections, especially in immunocompromised patients such as those with AIDS. Due to its side-effect profile, it has been superseded by newer antifungals, such as fluconazole and itraconazole. ... Nizoral is an anti-dandruff shampoo with ketoconazole as the active ingredient. ... Selenium sulfide (also selenium sulphide; see spelling) is an antifungal agent often used in shampoos for the treatment of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. ... Selsun Blue is a shampoo developed by Chattem that functions as an over-the-counter treatment for dandruff. ... Head & Shoulders is a famous brand of anti-dandruff shampoo produced by Procter & Gamble. ... Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Oil) Tea tree oil or melaleuca oil is a clear to very pale golden color essential oil with a fresh camphoraceous odour. ... Tar can be produced from corn stalks by heating in a microwave. ... Neutrogena is an American brand of products that includes facial products, hair care products, and products for the skin, including those that treat acne and moisturize the skin. ... Piroctone olamine is a compound sometimes used in the treatment of fungal infections. ... The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, abbreviated INCI, is a system of names for waxes, oils, pigments, chemicals, and other ingredients of cosmetics, soaps, and the like, based on scientific names and other Latin and English words. ...

See also

This page meets Wikipedias criteria for speedy deletion. ...


  1. ^ DeAngelis YM, Gemmer CM, Kaczvinsky JR, Kenneally DC, Schwartz JR, Dawson TL (2005). "Three etiologic facets of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis: Malassezia fungi, sebaceous lipids, and individual sensitivity". J. Investig. Dermatol. Symp. Proc. 10 (3): 295-7. doi:10.1111/j.1087-0024.2005.10119.x. PMID 16382685. 
  2. ^ Ro BI, Dawson TL (2005). "The role of sebaceous gland activity and scalp microfloral metabolism in the etiology of seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff". J. Investig. Dermatol. Symp. Proc. 10 (3): 194-7. doi:10.1111/j.1087-0024.2005.10104.x. PMID 16382662. 
  3. ^ Ashbee HR, Evans EG (2002). "Immunology of diseases associated with Malassezia species". Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 15 (1): 21-57. PMID 11781265. 
  4. ^ Batra R, Boekhout T, Guého E, Cabañes FJ, Dawson TL, Gupta AK (2005). "Malassezia Baillon, emerging clinical yeasts". FEMS Yeast Res. 5 (12): 1101-13. doi:10.1016/j.femsyr.2005.05.006. PMID 16084129. 
  5. ^ a b Dawson TL (2006). "Malassezia and seborrheic dermatitis: etiology and treatment". Journal of cosmetic science 57 (2): 181-2. PMID 16758556. 
  6. ^ Gemmer CM, DeAngelis YM, Theelen B, Boekhout T, Dawson Jr TL (2002). "Fast, noninvasive method for molecular detection and differentiation of Malassezia yeast species on human skin and application of the method to dandruff microbiology". J. Clin. Microbiol. 40 (9): 3350-7. PMID 12202578. 
  7. ^ Gupta AK, Batra R, Bluhm R, Boekhout T, Dawson TL (2004). "Skin diseases associated with Malassezia species". J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 51 (5): 785-98. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2003.12.034. PMID 15523360. 
  8. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7080434.stm
  9. ^ Mayo Clinic (November 27, 2006). Dandruff. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on 2007-03-28.
  10. ^ Warner RR, Schwartz JR, Boissy Y, Dawson TL (2001). "Dandruff has an altered stratum corneum ultrastructure that is improved with zinc pyrithione shampoo". J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 45 (6): 897-903. doi:10.1067/mjd.2001.117849. PMID 11712036. 
  11. ^ McGrath J, Murphy GM (1991). "The control of seborrhoeic dermatitis and dandruff by antipityrosporal drugs". Drugs 41 (2): 178-84. PMID 1709848. 
  12. ^ Prensner R (2003). "Does 5% tea tree oil shampoo reduce dandruff?". The Journal of family practice 52 (4): 285-6. PMID 12681088. 
  13. ^ Piérard-Franchimont C, Piérard GE, Vroome V, Lin GC, Appa Y (2000). "Comparative anti-dandruff efficacy between a tar and a non-tar shampoo". Dermatology (Basel) 200 (2): 181-4. PMID 10773717. 
  14. ^ Dubini F, Bellotti MG, Frangi A, Monti D, Saccomani L (2005). "In vitro antimycotic activity and nail permeation models of a piroctone olamine (octopirox) containing transungual water soluble technology". Arzneimittel-Forschung 55 (8): 478-83. PMID 16149717. 
  15. ^ Piérard-Franchimont C, Goffin V, Decroix J, Piérard GE (2002). "A multicenter randomized trial of ketoconazole 2% and zinc pyrithione 1% shampoos in severe dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis". Skin Pharmacol. Appl. Skin Physiol. 15 (6): 434-41. PMID 12476017. 
  16. ^ Rapaport M (1981). "A randomized, controlled clinical trial of four anti-dandruff shampoos". J. Int. Med. Res. 9 (2): 152-6. PMID 7014286. 
  17. ^ Bulmer AC, Bulmer GS (1999). "The antifungal action of dandruff shampoos". Mycopathologia 147 (2): 63-5. PMID 10967964. 

  Results from FactBites:
Dandruff [Section Title] - Health encyclopaedia - NHS Direct (1035 words)
Dandruff is the most common condition affecting the scalp.
Dandruff produces greyish white flakes of skin that are often visible on the hair and shoulders.
The aim when treating dandruff is to reduce the level of the yeast pityrosporum ovale on your scalp, and slow down the reproduction of skin cells.
  More results at FactBites »



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