BENGALURU: Dandruff particles on black clothes, an itchy head and smelly hair are not very attractive. But beyond cosmetic considerations, dermatologists and hair specialists endorse hair hygiene for health reasons.
U Abida, a teacher, had noticed her students giggling behind her back because they saw dandruff on her clothes. Her head also was itchy and she says, “I felt so embarrassed. I used to cover my head to hide the dandruff but am finally treating it.”
Dr Nagaraja, consultant dermatologist at Sagar Apollo Hospital, says he knows of patients who because of bad hair hygiene have troubled social interactions. “Taking care of hair and scalp is important,” he says.
Often children may not be accepted in their peer group because of lice and dandruff and must be helped with simple medical remedies.
What is dandruff and how to treat it
Also known as seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff is a condition caused by swelling of the upper layers of skin on the scalp coupled with dry, itchy, greasy scaling. The condition may be inherited, and cold weather can often make dandruff worse. Unlike head lice, dandruff is not contagious.
“Sebum is a natural oil secreted on the scalp but if the head is not washed with lukewarm water properly then the sebum becomes dry and flaky and leads to dandruff, “ says Dr Hanumanthayya.
Hair grooming tips
The dermatologists say that one should brush or comb the hair as it helps distribute sebum through the scalp. This will help hair look shinier and smoother and also prevent knots and tangles, both of which can lead to hair breaking or splitting. The use of mild shampoos and conditioners is also recommended,” says Dr Nagaraja.
Conditioners can help keep hair shiny and smooth. They also offer protection against the drying effects of styling hair with heat or harsh products that contain alcohol. Just as with shampooing, how often and how much conditioner a person should use will depend on hair type and styling habits. An individual with coarse, curly hair may need to use a lot of conditioner and someone with limp, oily hair may not use conditioner at all.