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Teen Version

What is dandruff?

Dandruff is normal shedding of skin. On most of the body surface, the flakes of dead skin fall to the ground without notice, but they can accumulate in the hair. This is a normal process that occurs throughout life on the entire body. It is not contagious.

How can I take care of myself?

  • Daily shampooing

    The key to fighting dandruff is removing the flakes as fast as they form by washing the hair daily. A regular shampoo usually works very well. Brush your hair before each washing. Eventually, you may be able to wash your hair every other day without seeing dandruff, but you probably won't ever be able to wash it less often than that.

  • Antidandruff shampoos

    If your scalp is red and irritated or the scales are quite greasy, use a medicated shampoo (one containing selenium sulfide). These medicated shampoos not only remove the dandruff but also cut down on the rate of shedding.

    Your shampoo is _________________________. This type of shampoo is used in a special way: lather the hair, wait 3 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Do this 3 days in a row and then once a week. Use a regular nonmedicated shampoo on other days.

When should I call my health care provider?

Call during office hours if:

  • Your dandruff is not improved after 2 weeks.
  • You have other questions or concerns.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2006-10-12
Last reviewed: 2006-03-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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