Friday - - Beauty -

Q My 12-year-old daugh­ter has flakes on her scalp which itches. Is it dan­druff? Please sug­gest some reme­dies.

ADan­druff by def­i­ni­tion is a scalp con­di­tion marked by itch­ing and flak­ing of the scalp. The causes can be dry skin, se­b­or­rheic der­mati­tis, pso­ri­a­sis, eczema and sen­si­tiv­ity to hair care prod­ucts (con­tact der­mati­tis). Our skin cells are for­ever re­new­ing them­selves. When the skin cells on our scalp are re­newed, the old ones are pushed to the sur­face and out of the scalp. For a per­son with flaky scalp, the skin re­newal is faster, ie. more dead skin is shed. Se­b­or­rheic der­mati­tis is marked by red, greasy skin cov­ered with flaky white or yel­low scales.

Scalp pso­ri­a­sis and se­b­or­rheic der­mati­tis of the scalp can be dif­fi­cult to dif­fer­en­ti­ate. In ad­di­tion, they share sim­i­lar signs and symp­toms such as itchy, red, scaly skin. The scales of pso­ri­a­sis are of­ten thicker and drier in ap­pear­ance than se­b­or­rheic der­mati­tis scales.

Pso­ri­a­sis usu­ally af­fects more than one area of the body. If you have scalp pso­ri­a­sis, you may also have mild pso­ri­a­sis on your el­bows, knees, hands or feet or may no­tice sub­tle nail changes, such as pit­ting.

Some­times sen­si­tiv­i­ties to cer­tain in­gre­di­ents in hair care prod­ucts can cause a red, itchy, scal­ing scalp. Con­sult an Ayurveda doc­tor for a dif­fer­en­tial di­ag­no­sis and prompt treat­ment. Here are some home tips: Healthy diet plays an im­por­tant role; in­clude cab­bage and gar­lic in your diet. Avoid or re­duce yo­gurt, milk, jag­gery, black gram, shell­fish, sesame and sour and salty foods.

Be­fore wash­ing your hair, mas­sage scalp with a paste of fenu­greek seeds and but­ter­milk.

Mix Triphala pow­der with wa­ter and use to wash scalp.

Ap­ply oils like Ayyap­pala Thailam or Eladi Keram on scalp 15 min­utes be­fore wash­ing.

Use an anti-dan­druff sham­poo thrice weekly; switch be­tween two prod­ucts.

Con­sider mul­tivi­ta­min, zinc and/or fish oil sup­ple­ments.

46 DR VL SHYAM is a Dubai-based Ayurveda prac­ti­tioner

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