How to Recognize the Symptoms of Dandruff
Noticed an irritating itching or tingling sensation from your scalp recently? Have you noticed white flakes of oily or dry skin building up in your hair or on your shoulders, especially when you wear black? If this sounds like you, then you probably have dandruff. Relax, dandruff is hardly ever a serious medical condition and is usually easily treatable once you recognize the symptoms and pinpoint the cause.

Step 1
Look for white flakes that first appear in your hair and then on your clothes, mostly about the shoulders. These are flakes of dead skin that have scaled from your scalp and are the first symptoms of dandruff.

Step 2
Look at the flakes in your hair and on your clothes. If they are small, white and dry looking, then they are symptoms caused by your scalp's reaction to cold weather, often in conjunction with indoor temperatures that are too high. Though many people will refer to this as dandruff, it is really the same as dry skin that appears anywhere on your body, like your hands, arms or face.

Step 3
Notice the color and thickness of the skin flakes from your dandruff. Very thick flakes that appear oily or silvery are most likely the result of dandruff caused by psoriasis. Psoriasis is a fairly common skin condition that can lead to cracking and bleeding and can appear just about anywhere on your body, including your scalp. Unfortunately, it can be rather painful.

Step 4
Recognize the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, perhaps the most common cause of dandruff in people. If you're suffering from seborrheic dermatitis, the skin of your scalp will feel greasy and look red and irritated. Skin flakes are typically white but also may have a yellowish appearance.

Step 5
Check children (and school-aged athletes) for ringworm of the scalp. Ringworm is not actually caused by a parasite but is a fungus that can be extremely irritating and may even lead to hair loss. Ringworm has a distinctive pattern of rings that will radiate out from a hair follicle.

Step 6
Recognize that dandruff can be caused by your skin reacting to various common household hair products. The more hair gel or hair spray you use, the more likely you are to develop a reaction to these chemicals, the result of which is known as "contact" dandruff.
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