Dandruff - an all too common cause of an itchy flaky scalp.

Dandruff is one of the most common conditions affecting the scalp. Skin cells on the scalp are constantly being renewed, and old cells get pushed to the surface by the new cells. As cells constantly regenerate, a small amount of flaking is perfectly normal, and actually quite common. Some people however, can experience chronic flaking. This can be a result of different dietary, lifestyle and hormonal triggers. More serious cases can occasionally be accompanied by redness and irritation.

If you have dandruff, the process of your skin renewal (or skin turnover) speeds up to twice the normal rate, so a greater number of dead cells are shed. The scalp becomes scaly and the skin cells shed and collect in clumps. They are noticeable when brushing the hair and can gather on the shoulders.
Today most skin specialists agree that dandruff is associated with a tiny fungus. This fungus lives on our bodies and scalp at all times, usually without causing any problem. However, for some people, it can get out of control - leading to dandruff.

Dandruff is believed to run in families. Diets that are too salty, spicy or sugary and accompanied by too much alcohol can make it worse, as can stress and changes in climate. Make sure your diet contains enough vitamin E, selenium and zinc (eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and nuts). Omega oils are also said to help prevent dandruff by reducing inflammation and nourishing the cells, you can find these in the health and beauty oils. Exercise is great to help increase circulation and to help you relax.

Excessive flaking may also be a symptom of seborrhoeic dermatitis, psoriasis or fungal infection.