Science Questions

Sat, 2nd Oct 2004

Part of the show Skin Diseases and Skin Cancer

Question

Paul asked:

I've got really bad dandruff, what can I do about that?

Answer

Dandruff is very common - you probably recognise it as flakes for skin that fall onto your jumper or jacket.
It's caused by a yeast that lives on our skin, so part of the treatment is to control that yeast, which can be done in a number of ways e.g. shampoos that you can get in the chemist which contain chemical which help to control the growth the yeast and so control the condition. A really old fashioned remedy that I quite like is a tar shampoo, but not everyone likes the smell of tar, but it does help to calm down the condition. Fortunately you can't catch it; we've all got these yeasts living on our skin. The reason why one person has dandruff, and another doesn't, is probably the way we react to these immune systems with our immune systems. So don't worry you can't pass it on and you can't catch it.

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