Dandruff is the most common dermatological condition that causes shedding of dead cells from the scalp (flaking of skin) and is generally associated with itching and redness. Dandruff affects more than 50% of people over across the world and can be frustrating and upsetting.
Dead skin shedding is a normal process of the skin; however it gets increased in conditions such as dandruff, making it visible on the scalp and shoulders. Seborrheic dermatitis is one of the most severe types of dandruff. Treating a dandruff condition is not quick and easy. It requires constant care and maintenance of overall scalp health. Apart from treatment, one should take measures to prevent dandruff from reappearing. This is the reason that anti-Dandruff hair care products, whether for treatment or maintenance, requires a very innovative, perfect and clinically proven technology platforms and blend of the efficacious ingredients.
Multiple factors such as pollution, stress, nutritional changes, excessive oil secretion, individual susceptibility, microorganism Malassezia Spp. and extreme weather change are responsible for dandruff. Malassezia lives on the scalps of most healthy adults without causing problems. But sometimes it grows out of control, feeding on the oils secreted by hair follicles or by feeding on the ordinary oils applied on the scalp. During dandruff, the levels of Malassezia increases by 1.5 to 2 times its normal level. This can irritate the skin on the scalp and cause more skin cells to grow. The extra skin cells die and fall off, clumping with oil from hair and scalp, making them appear white and flaky.
The predominant and hallmark signs and symptoms are flaking and itching, which tends to correlate with each other in intensity. The quantification of flakes have generally relied on assessments by experts involving various grading schemes within blinded studies, but can also be measured instrumentally. It may be categorized into the following major heads-
a. Inflammation: Dandruff is associated with a flaky scalp, and inflammatory reactions responsible for erythema, itching, heat, burning/stinging sensation and redness on the scalp. Due to these inflammatory responses, hair quality is also compromised.
b. Flaky Scalp: Due to excessive production of dead skin caused by enhanced proliferation and differentiation on scalp, white flakes appear and shed on the hair or shoulder. It affects the self-esteem of the individual suffering from dandruff.
c. Scalp dryness and tightness: Due to scalp barrier disruption in dandruff it leads to scalp dryness and tightness. The symptom of scalp dryness, which can be manifested as the sensation of tightness, originates in impaired stratum corneum barrier function.
d. Hair fall: Dandruff is also one of the biggest causes of hair breakage and excessive hair loss in people suffering from dandruff.
A wide range of topical products are available for treating of dandruff of varying degrees of severity (mild, moderate & severe). There are two types of products -
a) Leave-on Antidandruff Products
A topical product, containing antidandruff properties in the form of oil, Oil potion, gel or lotion, when applied to the scalp / hair and left as such without rinsing is a leave-on type of product.
b) Rinse-off Antidandruff Products
A topical product, containing antidandruff properties in the form of shampoo and conditioner, when applied to scalp / hair and washed off using excess water is a rinse-off type of product.
Ordinary Shampoos and hair oils available in the market are ineffective due to -
• Short contact time of wash off formulations
• Growing resistance to anti-dandruff agents leading to inefficacy
• Relapse of the dandruff, as fungus re-grows in 24 – 48 hrs.
• Apart from this, presence of harsh chemicals, frequent washing, exposure to pollution and chemical rich dyes makes the hair dry and damaged and may lead to hair fall on long term usage.
• Hair oils increase dandruff causing fungus because of the presence of fatty acids/esters which are food for such fungus.
• Hair oils are ineffective in removing dandruff causing fungus because of absence of any active ingredient.
Most of the people suffering from mild to moderate dandruff are dissatisfied about the treatment they get for it. The reason for dissatisfaction is inefficacy of such treatments and dandruff’s relapse after discontinuation of the therapy. This factor is further compounded by increased pollution and stress which further causes dandruff. To address this dissatisfaction there are multiple researches going on in the field of dandruff removal.
Recent advancement in dandruff treatment is trying to address issues related to increased efficacy of drug and sustained effect of the anti-dandruff agent. This is being done while analysing functional genomics of dandruff causing fungus Malassezia. There is significant research going on to increase drug residence time and sustained effect which provides overall nutrition to the scalp and conditioning of hair. The research is going on in the following fields for mild to moderate dandruff treatment
• Improving efficacy of anti-dandruff active agents like Piroctine Olamine and Zinc Pyrithione
• Quick relief of Itch
• Conditioning and nourishment of scalp and hair
• Shampooing is the easiest and most common way to clear off the sebum and dead skin from the scalp. But this should be done atleast once in 48 hrs. to clear off the superficial dandruff on the scalp. Unfortunately most of the shampoo applications are over in less than a minute and typically there is a difference of 2-3 days between shampoo applications making it ineffective treatment. Therefore use of technologically superior and efficacious leave-on products like OLIQUE™ Advanced Hair Oil Potion is advised along with regular shampooing.
• Maintaining hygiene of the scalp reduces flaking. Avoiding excess exposure to sunlight is also useful. Healthy lifestyle with regular exercise is also helpful.
• Try to limit use of ordinary hair oils as they act as source of food for Malassezia fungus to grow.