Dandruff affects millions of people of all age groups — from teenage years to adulthood. It is more common and more likely in people who have oily skin, certain illnesses, or immune disorders. It also tends to affect individuals who have untidy hair, or don’t wash their hair regularly, or are stressed out.
It is suggested that there is often an underlying factor between dandruff and certain types of fungus found in hair follicles. This condition may cause the scalp cells to reproduce more quickly than when one has a healthy scalp. When these new cells create a surplus of dead skin cells, they fall as flakes. In addition, the condition may be triggered by seborrhoeic dermatitis, a severe, sticky form of dandruff, with extreme itching. When not suitably treated, dandruff may lead to hair loss, pimples, or acne, emotional and social distress.
Shailesh (19), a student, presented with large, extremely painful, pus-filled acne on his face, back and chest. He was embarrassed to go to college. He visited many dermatologists, took antibiotics and applied many over-the-counter (OTC) creams and ointments, without much relief. Shailesh suffered from seborrhoeic dermatitis, with excessive itching. His case analysis revealed that he was an introvert, with a recent history of disappointment in love. He could not express his feelings of hurt to anyone. He would keep thinking of his girl friend and could not, as a result, focus on his academics. He was prescribed Ignatia Amara, a homeopathic remedy, which is useful for bad effects caused by any recent emotional disillusionment. We also asked him to use Dr Batra’s anti-dandruff shampoo, enriched with the natural goodness of Thuja, a DHT-inhibitor. DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, a hormone, affects hair follicles and causes hair loss. We advised him not to style or allow his hair to cover his forehead too, because when flakes fall they can activate acne. His acne reduced considerably. This improved not only his self-esteem, but also his confidence levels.
Emotional problems cause excessive oiliness on the scalp, leading to seborrhoeic dermatitis, which, in turn, causes dandruff and also acne. Homeopathy believes that one should never lose sight of the emotional aspect while treating skin disorders.
Published in the Times of India on 8 August 2010