Many people may forget that dandruff is a skin condition like many others. While it may not pose a direct threat to health in the same way as some, it can be unpleasant and embarrassing when the white flakes from your head appear on your shoulders - and all the more visibly so when you want to wear dark clothes.
One of the most effective ways to deal with the condition is to use anti-dandruff shampoos, of which many can be bought easily in supermarkets just like you would any normal shampoo or conditioner. Ones which contain tea tree oil are said to be particularly effective.
If you want a more medicated solution - perhaps because supermarket brands have not worked - it may be worth talking to your pharmacist about what therapies are available over the counter.
Zinc pyrithione shampoo works by killing the malassezia fungi which is thought to be in part responsible for the condition. Salicylic acid treatment helps to soften and get rid of the dead cells. However, it may help to use a conditioning solution after it, as some people have reported that it has made their scalp dry out a little. Selenium sulfide shampoo slows the speed at which skin cells are produced, while also eliminating fungi. Ketoconazole treatment will help to get rid of fungi too, while coal tar shampoo decelerates the production of dead skin cells which form the basis of dandruff.
It may be that you find one type of shampoo doesn't work, but this doesn't mean that you will respond the same to another, so it is really worth trying out a few in order to ascertain which one works best.
If you have dandruff and are shampooing your hair, it will be really important not to scratch the scalp, but rather massage the lather into your head. If you scratch, it may irritate your scalp and cause more flakes to come loose, which will become apparent and visible once your hair is dry.
Another thing to avoid when using shampoo treatment is any other hair products, such as gels and sprays. These could irritate your scalp and cause the dandruff to flare up even more, counteracting the good work of the shampoo treatment.
Failing that, you can go and speak to your GP about a stronger solution. It may be that you need to be prescribed a medically recommended shampoo treatment or perhaps a steroid lotion.
You may have heard the term 'topical corticosteroid'. This refers to any sort of steroid cream or ointment that contains corticosteroids, which are used to treat inflammatory skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis, for example. They work by reducing the inflammation and irritation of the skin.
People who are prone to dandruff may find they need to use an anti-dandruff shampoo treatment long term in order to keep the condition at bay. Then when they have a particularly bad flare-up, this is when they may need to go and seek advice from a medical professional - either a pharmacist or local GP.