Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

It looks like a simple problem, affecting almost half of the population at the post-pubertal age and of any gender and ethnicity [wikipedia]. What is so complex about finding a cure? Also, if you know some of the most effective treatments, they're welcome.

share|improve this question
    
2  
Dandruff is dead scalp, i.e. skin. Your skin everywhere is constantly renewing itself. Everwhere else in your body, dead skin gets scraped off on e.g. clothes, things you touch etc. so you don't notice it - dandruff gets caught in your hair and thus you do notice it. Dandruff is not a condition, it's a consequence of natural healthy skin turnover. If you aimed to prevent it from forming, you would interrupt a natural process and most likely also incur some sort of damage. Thus, the best way is to get rid of it periodically once it has formed - i.e. wash your hair ;) –  Armatus May 11 at 11:34
    
Ok this seems like a natural cause, but Dandruff has other causes such as Seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis.. The results are similar (dry skin flakes) and they have nothing to do with washing. Some literature state fungi like Malassezia furfur as a cause, but it doesn't seem to be clear evidence for a permanent cure –  kalfasid May 11 at 11:57
    
@HermannIngjaldsson thank you for the link –  kalfasid May 11 at 12:04

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

For dandruff caused mainly from dry scalp, I imagine that there is a delicate balance between moisturizing the scalp and getting oily hair. In my uninformed opinion, this is what shampoos like Head and Shoulders attempt to do.

Taking a more general look at skin health, growing research suggests that the right compilation of microbiota dictates lots of skin health issues. Just like your bowel has an endless supply of mutualistic bacteria, so does your skin. Disruption to this ecosystem (whether genetic, by way of a pathogen, or environmental) could have various negative effects. Dandruff, I imagine, is one of them. It is unfortunately very difficult to understand what a healthy ecosystem looks like, as every person is different both in genetic and environmental factors. This is part of the reason why other dermatological conditions like acne are difficult to treat.

You may be interested in research done through the Human Microbiome Project. Additionally, this article includes some discussion of the fungi mentioned above in the comments and postulates the role of microbiota in determining their success.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.