Flaky and itchy scalp, also called “dandruff,” is a common problem, among men and women, and across all age groups, but some people just have a severe case of dandruff where dead skin cells accumulate into visible flakes and fall off from the scalp. Severe cases of dandruff are usually caused by fungal and yeast infections, most commonly by a fungus called Malassezia that feeds on the sebum secreted by hair follicles. Most people have just a mild case of dandruff, but others do have a situation where the fungus overgrows, irritating the scalp and triggering production of extra skin cells. When these extra skin cells die, they stick together, forming large, visible flakes by mixing with the oil on the scalp. Harsh skincare products, stress, humid and dry conditions can all trigger flaky dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. If home remedies are not working for you, here’s a list of effective ingredients that you should be looking for in shampoos and hair treatments to treat flaky dandruff.
1. Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid is a keratolytic compound that breaks down the adhesions between dead skin cells. It also reduces sebum production and maintains good health of the scalp.
2. Selenium sulfide: Selenium sulfide has anti-microbial properties and also relieves flaking and itching.
3. Zinc pyrithione: This compound too has anti-microbial properties and can clear scalp acne as well. It is used extensively in anti-dandruff shampoos.
4. Coal tar: It helps to shed dead skin cells and also reduces the rate of growth of skin cells, they are called keratoplastics.
5. Tea tree oil: This essential oil is not only great for the skin, it is equally effective to treat scalp acne and of course dandruff. This oil has a compound “terpinen-4-ol,” with anti-microbial properties and can clear itchy and flaky scalp.