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Healthy Skin Newsletter, Issue #003 -- Feature Article: How to Deal with Your Dandruff Problem
June 28, 2006

Issue No. 3 July 2006

Healthy Skin Newsletter Ė Information on skin problems and skin care.

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Issue No. 3, July 2006


  • Whatís New at
  • Feature Article Ė How to Deal with Your Dandruff Problem
  • In the News
  • Skin Care Tip of the Month
  • Question of the Month
  • Product of the Month


Various links have been added to the oily skin care page, which can be found at In particular, the new pages deal with identifying your skin type, causes for oily skin, basic treatments for oily skin, and all natural remedies for oily skin.

Missed an issue of the Healthy Skin Newsletter? Visit the back issues page. To access this page you can visit the following URL: and click on the back issues link.


What is Dandruff?

Dandruff or pityriasis capitis is a common problem affecting millions of people around the world. It is an embarrassing problem that often lowers the self-esteem of individuals. You would not immediately think that dandruff is a skin care problem, but it has a great deal to do with skin.

Dandruff is a chronic scalp disorder caused by excessive flaking of dead skin from the scalp. As part of the normal skin regeneration process, skin cells die and are replaced by new cells. These dead skin cells then flake off the surface of the skin. For many individuals, the size of these flakes of dead skin cells on the scalp is very small and not noticeable. However, for many others, the white or grey looking flakes are quite large and abundant. Dandruff suffers will notice an excessive amount of white flakes in the hair or on clothing throughout the day. In addition to a flaky scalp, other symptoms of dandruff are: itchy scalp, irritation, and scalp redness. Hair loss is not a result of a simple dandruff problem. However, improper use of products to treat dandruff may affect the hair.

Dandruff Causes

Individuals with dandruff shed the skin on their scalp a lot more frequently. Instead of shedding skin every month, dandruff suffers will shed skin every two weeks or less. There are a number of suspected reasons why the skin on the scalp sheds more frequently than it should. The most common cause is the presence of the Malassezia furfur fungus. This fungus is found on the surface of the skin of individuals with or without dandruff. The role of the fungus is to metabolize human fat. When this fungus grows too quickly, then the normal rate of skin cell regeneration is disturbed and dandruff appears.

Dandruff may also be caused by overactive oil glands or factors such as excessive sweating, family history, food allergies, use of alkaline or harsh soaps, certain hair products such as dyes, hair spray or hair gel, stress, yeast infections and environmental factors. For example, in wintertime the air is dry and cold and this can initiate the problem or intensify it. Exposure to UV light or too much dust may also lead to the development of dandruff.

Overall poor diet and poor nutrition can play a role in the dandruff equation as well. More specifically, it is suspected that a zinc deficiency can make an individual more vulnerable to the development of dandruff. Nuts, beans, turkey, red meat, pork, and shellfish such as oysters are good sources of zinc.

Dandruff Treatments

Although dandruff can be frustrating, annoying, and humiliating, it can be controlled for the most part.

Proper hair care by regularly washing the hair is the easiest way to reduce dandruff. Many dandruff suffers fear that washing the hair too often will lead to more dandruff. However, the opposite is true, especially if the skin on the scalp is oily. Oily scalps need to be shampooed often to remove the excess oil, otherwise the surplus oil may make the dandruff problem even worse. In addition, the hair should be regularly cleaned in order to remove the dead skin cells before they build up to be larger flakes that are very noticeable. When washing the hair, one thing to keep in mind is that hot showers may trigger dandruff. Individuals with any type of skin problem should keep the water in showers moderate in temperature. Hot water tends to cause the skin to dry out and produce more oil to compensate the oil loss.

Styling products are often the cause of oily scalps. They tend to build up on the scalp, causing it to produce excess oil. Hair spray, waxes, gel, and mousse are all to blame in this case. People suffering from dandruff should try cutting back on the usage of these products. These products may even be causing an allergic reaction that appears similar to or disguises itself as dandruff.

In terms of choosing a shampoo, many dandruff shampoos on the market are great at controlling mild dandruff. It is best to experiment with a variety of products. Choose one and use it regularly for a minimum of two to three weeks. If no improvement is noticed after this time, then try another variety. If you find several that work, then it is a good idea to regularly alternate between products so that the scalp will not adjust to the product being used.

If results are not satisfactory, then these products may be too mild. Look for acid-based shampoos that help restore the proper acidity to the skin on the scalp and aid in breaking down and removing excess oil and clumps of dead skin. Products specifically formulated to deal with seborrheic dermatitis will help to reduce redness and irritation. Common active ingredients in shampoos for treating dandruff are: selenium sulfide, salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione, and ketoconazole (Nizoral).

If there is still no improvement, try a shampoo with a tar extract in it. These shampoos do not smell as great as regular shampoos, but they will get the job done. Tar shampoos are a bit more expensive, but they are worth the extra cost in terms of effectiveness. Note that there is and has been concern about the long-term effects of such products. They should be used as directed and with the advice of a dermatologist.

There are also a variety of home remedies for dandruff. The use of tea tree oil can help reduce dandruff because of its anti-fungal activity. In addition, products such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice may be effective in combating this skin care problem. The liquid is applied to the scalp for several minutes or hours. The hair and scalp is then shampooed. These acids act as a fungicide and help rinse away clumps of dead skin cells.

Lifestyle changes can be made to control a dandruff problem. Researchers have found that stress is a major factor in many conditions, including dandruff. Dandruff sufferers should look at ways of reducing stress in their daily lives. Not only can stress reduction improve this skin care problem, but it will increase overall general health as well. New studies are showing that natural sunlight may be good for reducing dandruff. However, researchers warn to not spend a great deal of time in the sun, due to its cancerous effects on the skin. Avoid burning. Not only will the sun help your dandruff, but it will provide the Vitamin D the body needs to keep it and the skin healthy.

If none of these tips help control the dandruff, then a visit with a general practitioner is in order. He or she will assess the condition and may even order a prescription treatment for the dandruff. The doctor will likely only do so if the dandruff is moderate or severe. Most of the time, the prescription is a shampoo or a medicated scalp wash. The physician may decide to refer you to a dermatologist for a specialistís view of the problem and perhaps more advanced treatments. The dermatologist can determine if it is indeed dandruff or some other ailment that is causing the flaking skin. Note that dandruff can also be a symptom of psoriasis, fungal infection, or head lice.

As mentioned previously, with dandruff comes itchiness. Avoid excessive scratching of the scalp. Scratching can lead to skin breaks in the scalp and possible infections.


A southern Ontario (Canada) health unit is drafting a resolution and pressuring the province of Ontario to regulate the artificial tanning industry. In particular, the aim is to prevent individuals under the age of 18 from using such facilities. Southern Ontario has seen a rise in skin cancer among men and women and the health unit feels that it must take action. By banning young people from using these facilities, it is hoped that in the long term skin cancer occurrences will decrease. The World Health Organization introduced a similar resolution in 2005, but it does recognize that establishing a direct link between skin cancer and artificial tanning is difficult to make. The resultant damage that occurs may or may not show up for many years. Nevertheless, limiting the exposure of young people to damaging rays is likely to lead to healthier skin in individuals.


For healthy skin care, choose products that contain aloe vera. The aloe vera plant is a short-stemmed plant that is part of the lily family. The extract or gel from the aloe vera plantís thick leaves is rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids among other substances. Therefore, aloe vera has many benefits for the skin. First, aloe vera is useful in soothing and accelerating the healing of sunburns, other burns, and wounds of various kinds to the skin. Aloe vera also plays a role in the anti-aging of skin by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin proteins in the skin. Aloe vera helps restore the skinís immune system and therefore may play a role in the prevention of skin cancer. Finally, aloe vera has excellent moisturizing properties for the skin. It helps the skin hydrate itself, assists in the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, and because it penetrates the skin effectively, it helps transport healthy substances through the skin.

All these benefits are responsible for making aloe vera one of the most important ingredients in the skin care and cosmetic industry.


Is food the cause of my oily skin?

There are various reasons why your skin is oily. First, it is genetic or hereditary and so if your parents have oily skin, then you are a good candidate as well. Your skin may also be oily because of hormonal imbalances, use of oil-based cosmetics, smoking, over-washing of the skin, etc.

Many believe that certain foods can lead to oily skin, but for the most part, greasy foods, chocolate, soft drinks, etc. do not contribute directly to your oily skin problem. However, a proper diet does play an indirect role. Healthy eating means your body will function properly overall and this may regulate hormonal imbalances among other functions and possibly reduce the severity of the problem. There is also a possible link between a deficiency in vitamins B2 and B5 and oily skin. Therefore, a proper diet that includes foods rich in these vitamins such as whole grains, beans, and nuts may help your oily skin problem.

For more information on oily skin, visit


Skindulgence 30-Minute Non-Surgical Face Lift System

Are you looking for a skin care product that will help your skin look more youthful and radiant? The Skindulgence Non-Surgical Face Lift system is that product. In addition to reversing the signs of aging by diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, this product also helps improve skin tone and color and helps develop the feel of firmer facial muscles.

The product involves a simple three-step process. The first step is a quality skin cleanser, suitable for all skin types, to remove excess oil, dirt, and debris from the surface of the skin. It also prepares the skin for the next stage. Next, a masque is applied to the skin, which acts to tighten the skin, helps to remove wrinkles, and nourishes the skin. The final step is an excellent skin moisturizer for all skin types that is formulated to keep the skin healthy and smooth. In just 30 minutes every other day, you can have more youthful and healthier looking skin.

This product is available as a trial pack (one to three uses) or as a full kit that contains enough products for up to three months of facials. For the month of July, anyone interested in this product will receive special pricing on either the trial or full kit. For details or more information, send an e-mail to You can also visit for more information.

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