This is article is written with Ilyse Lefkowicz, M.D. - Head & Shoulders dermatologist.Being a sufferer of scalp issues, she understands the importance of a scalp care system that delivers in technology and beauty benefits. Dr. Lefkowicz is a Board-Certified dermatologist specializing in general and cosmetic dermatology.
Dandruff isn’t the only condition that could leave your scalp itchy, dry, flaky or even lead to hair loss. Find out about other scalp conditions, their causes and symptoms
Dandruff is the most common scalp condition, affecting around 50% of the population.
Psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis are two of the better-known conditions that exhibit similar symptoms to dandruff. But there are other skin conditions which could have similar symptoms too:
With any of these conditions, the best course of action is to visit your dermatologist. But if you’re not sure if you’re suffering from one of the above or dandruff, it’s easy to rule out the latter.
HOW TO RULE OUT DANDRUFF BEFORE A DERMATOLOGIST APPOINTMENT
Dandruff can’t be cured. It’s a recurring condition that will always come back without regular treatment.
That’s because it’s caused by a microbe that's present on everyone’s scalp – malassezia globosa.
But, use an anti-dandruff shampoo regularly and you’ll get the flakes, itch and dryness under control.
So while you wait for your dermatologist appointment, you can rule out dandruff by using an anti dandruff shampoo at least 3 times a week for 2-3 weeks. After that, your symptoms should subside.
It’s important not to switch between anti-dandruff and other shampoos during treatment, since these shampoos can wash away the active ingredient that protects against dandruff.
So spend a few weeks using it exclusively and see if that solves the problem – if it does you can safely say it was dandruff. Keep using it regularly and you can keep the symptoms away for life.
But if it doesn’t work, you may have a different condition so make sure to visit your doctor or dermatologist to get a complete diagnosis and the right treatment.