Dandruff is common among humans. It isn’t simply a dry flaky scalp. In fact, it was found to have a fungal component to it. The fungus responsible is Malassezia Globose. There are three components to be considered to actually have dandruff:
- The fungus Malassezia Globose.
- The persons susceptibility for the fungus.
Very early experiments in the 1970’s provided data that treating the scalps of severe dandruff with antibiotics did not help much however treating them with an antifungal definitely decreased the dandruff. Over time however a resistant strain was created from over use of Nystatin (anti-fungal) and this resistant strain caused more flaking of the scalp than the previous strain.
Host susceptibility or an individuals susceptibility to the fungus plays a major role in dandruff. Some individuals simply do not get dandruff. When Oleic acid is placed on the scalp, it will induce dandruff on only the susceptible individuals. The non-susceptible individuals are not affected by Oleic Acid.
Sebum is the last component involved in dandruff. Sebum is produced by the sebaceous gland. Over production of sebum occurs sometimes at birth which it called cradle cap. And puberty can cause an increase in sebum. Sebum is composed of fatty acids, triglicerides, wax esters, cholesterol esters and squalene. When secreted the sebum is broken down by microbes in the scalp. The more sebum, the more dandruff can occur, including during stressful situations.
In today’s times, there is a plethora of antifungal shampoos, that are targeted for dandruff and specifically the fungus causing the dandruff, thus promoting a healthy scalp.