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Also called scurf and historically termed Pityriasis capitis is due to excessive shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp. It is actually a normal proccess for skin cells to die and flake off; the old skin cells are gradually pushed to the surface by new cells form the lower layers, by the time the old skin reaches the surface, the cells have become flat and overlap each other like roof tiles; these cells are dead and are shed from the surface all the time. They are so small that we do not notice this is happening, a small amount of flaking is normal with most people, however some may experience an unusually large amount of flaking, which can also be accompanied by redness and irritation. Flakiness of the scalp can often cause some social embarrassment, it can also be a symptom of seborrhoeic dermatitis.

Dandruff is the most common condition affecting the scalp. Dandruff mostly occurs after puberty, usually between the ages of 20 and 30, and often affects males more than females. Dandruff is not an organism like lice it is just dead skin that accumulates in the scalp. Dandruff is unlikely to be the cause of hair loss.

Dandruff is a global phenomenon and many people are finding that dandruff can cause social or self-esteem problems. Treatment may be important purely for psychological reasons. Dandruff is certainly the most common condition affecting the scalp.

If you have dandruff, the process of skin renewal (or skin turnover) speeds up to twice the normal rate, so a greater number of dead cells are shed. The scalp becomes scaly and the skin cells shed and collect in clumps. They are noticeable when brushing the hair and can gather on the shoulders.

There are a number of hair herbs that can be used to treat the scalp such as nettle and rosemary, olive oil can also be applied to the scalp; a strong chamomile tea is very soothing to an itchy, flaky scalp. If your condition is made worse because of stress then remedies such as valerian and lemon balm can be helpful, Echinacea with red clover is also used to treat these conditions.

To find out more information please contact an herbal aromatherpist.

By: Lesley-Ann Sales - Utah, United States
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