Dandruff: symptoms and diagnosis

Published At: 15 January 2020 , 12:47 PM

Small or large exfoliating scales in the scalp are called dandruff. With a significant amount, they showered on clothing, causing disgust from others. There is an opinion that dandruff is the result of the non-observance of personal hygiene rules. However, in most cases, increased peeling of the skin is caused by a disease. Flake


Can be small and crumble easily. Layers can be formed that rise above the scalp and exfoliate when combed. Grayish-white foci of peeling may occur, located not only on the scalp but also passing on the skin of the face, neck, and trunk.

Possible reasons

Usually, the upper layer of the skin (epidermis) systematically renewed. At the same time, dying cells desquamated, which happens almost imperceptibly. It is simple to determine the condition of the scalp: with light scratching, a small number of scales remains under the nails. However, when exposed to adverse factors or the development of the disease, the number of dead cells can increase and form clusters. Based on the appearance of the scales, their size, and localization, it is possible to establish the causes of peeling of the skin tentatively.

Dandruff is not always a symptom of a disease. In some cases, it caused by a negative effect on the skin: this is an improperly selected shampoo, a disturbed diet, sudden changes in ambient temperature.

Provoking factors can also be stress, direct exposure to sunlight, the use of aggressive agents for a perm, and hair coloring. In these cases, gentle care and the exclusion of harmful factors normalize the condition of the skin, which contributes to the disappearance of dandruff.

Doctors consider dandruff a harbinger of seborrheic dermatitis, which can develop under the influence of several factors. With seborrheic dermatitis, the formation of dandruff causes pathological processes: disruption of the sebaceous glands accelerated death of epidermal cells, and the multiplication of microorganisms.

The scalp is a large number of sebaceous glands. Changing their function can lead to either insufficient or excessive production of sebum.

Fat deficiency caused by an increase in the viscosity of the secretion of the sebaceous glands and difficulty in its passage through the ducts of the gland.

In this case, the scalp dries up, and there, and there is a feeling of tightness, itching, burning. Hair becomes dry and brittle, their ends split.

Even if you rarely wash your hair, dandruff does not disappear. These are characteristic signs of dry seborrhea — foci of a lesion with enhanced peeling in more significant numbers located along the hairline. Scales can be found on eyebrows, eyelashes, in the beard and mustache. The color of the flakes varies from white to yellow. Seborrheic dermatitis worsens in winter, which is facilitated by significant fluctuations in air temperature and overdrying of the skin. With the progression of the disease, pink spots appear on the surface, covered with white scales.

With oily seborrhea sebum production increases, and dead cells stick together with fat to form conglomerates. Microscopic fungi multiply in these clusters, usually living in small numbers on the scalp. Consuming components of sebum, fungi secrete substances that are irritating to the skin, causing inflammation and peeling.

The propagation of mushrooms also facilitated by heat and increased humidity. With active combing, crusts form on damaged skin, under which pathogenic bacteria multiply.

Violation of the sebaceous glands contributes to a change in hormonal levels in adolescence, during pregnancy, or in postmenopausal women. The increased production of testosterone, which largely determines the functioning of the sebaceous glands, causes a greater spread of seborrhea in men. An increase in morbidity also accompanies a decrease in immune status. It has been proven that in HIV-infected patients, seborrhea occurs 4-10 times more often than in individuals with healthy immunity. It noted that seborrheic dermatitis activated with damage to the nervous system. In patients with paralysis, Parkinson's disease, this disease is widespread and difficult to treat.

There is another possible cause of dandruff - psoriasis. Psoriasis is a systemic disease that based on a violation of the immune status.

At the same time, white blood cells, which usually destroy foreign agents, begin to attack their tissues, causing inflammation erroneously.

Such a failure can occur after streptococcal infection, trauma, due to inflammatory bowel diseases and dysbiosis. Psoriasis usually appears between the ages of 15-45, but it can also occur in very young children, starting at four months of age.

It established that the early onset of the disease accompanied by a more severe course and leads to damage not only to the skin but also to joints, heart, blood vessels.

In mild forms of psoriasis, only the skin is affected, usually in open areas of the body and scalp — the clearly defined bright pink rashes covered with whitish scales. Small foci of inflammation can merge, forming plaques, also covered with readily obeying scales. In the summer, outbreaks become more modest, and sometimes they disappear entirely, but pigmentation remains in their place. In the cold season, with a decrease in immunity, stress, psoriasis, symptoms may occur again.

Diagnosis and examination

If you cannot cope with dandruff by changing the shampoo, I recommended to find out the causes of its appearance by contacting a specialist - a dermatologist or trichologist. The doctor determines the size of the scales, examines the skin (discoloration, plaques, scratches), which makes it possible to make a preliminary diagnosis. In addition to the examination, a biochemical blood test should be performed, changes in the results of which may indicate a violation of the gastrointestinal tract.