Dandruff, as we all know, is an unsightly and embarrassing problem. And one that has given the shampoo industry quite the advertising angle. One of the causes of dandruff is a fungus, and here we find the latest health breakthrough that may pave the way to new and improved treatments.
Some accounts have it that half of all people have dandruff problems. Research into the fungus that can cause dandruff has led scientists toward a much-needed new treatment for the condition’s flaking and itching. This latest discovery is reported in the “Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.”
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Dandruff involves an excessive shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp. In people without dandruff, it takes about 30 days for a crop of new skin cells to mature, die and shed. In people with dandruff, it may take as little as two days. Irritation by the scalp-dwelling fungus “Malassezia globosa” is one cause of dandruff. Shampoos and other dandruff treatments contain anti-fungal agents, but more effective treatments are much-needed. In that vein, the researchers found an enzyme in the fungus needed for it to grow. Tests showed that certain antibiotics were more effective than a widely used anti-fungal addition in many dandruff treatments. This study showed that if we stifle that enzyme, we remove the fungus’ ability to grow. That is where future treatments will come from. As for now, here are some key tips for controlling dandruff naturally:
1. Get Sun: Some believe that sun exposure has an anti-inflammatory effect on the scalp that can ease dandruff. Spend 30 minutes in the sun each day and it will be beneficial.
2. Aloe Vera: A famous herb traditionally used for burns, scrapes, and cuts. But there may be better evidence for its use on dandruff and conditions that cause itchy, flaky skin on the scalp. Find it in cream form.
3. Thyme: The antiseptic properties of thyme might help an overactive scalp from producing dandruff. Boil a strong thyme mixture, like tea, and keep it in your shower. Don’t wash it out.
4. Tea Tree Oil: In a month-long study of 126 people who had dandruff, a five-percent tea tree oil shampoo significantly reduced their flakiness.
5. Wash Right: Use mild shampoos that don’t contain dyes or harsh ingredients. Shampooing cleans away the oil build-up. Wash hair almost every day to help ease oily scalps. If you try dandruff shampoo, know that the longer it stays in contact with your scalp, the more effective it is.