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Dandruff is little clumps of dead skin cells being shed from the scalp of your head. Some ‘flaking’ of dead skin off your scalp (like elsewhere on your body) is entirely normal and the cells are normally too small to notice. The skin cells of your scalp are normally shed in around a month, but in people with dandruff this may occur in 2–7 days. The result is that dead skin cells are shed in large, oily clumps, which appear as white or grayish patches on the scalp, skin and clothes.

What causes it?

The main cause seems to be a recently discovered type of fungus which is specific to your scalp; but dandruff can also be a caused by an allergic reaction to chemicals in hair gels, sprays, and shampoos, and hair oils.

Who gets it?

It affects about half of all people after puberty. It affects boys and girls equally, and it happens in all cultures. The severity of dandruff can vary considerably between different people and at different times of year. It tends to be worse in the winter months.

How do you know that you have got it?

Alas, it is fairly easy to tell – you get an itchy scalp and you can see the white flakes whether they are in your hair, or on your clothes.

What can you do about it?

Most cases of dandruff can be easily treated with specialized shampoos that you can buy from your local chemist.