A certain amount of scaling of the scalp is normal. This is known as dandruff. The scales, which are merely pieces of dead skin, are held in by the hair. With the proper daily care of the hair this dandruff will not become excessive and go on to the stage of disease.
If the scalp is allowed to become greasy and the scales to accumulate, a hard grease forms over the scalp. This is a source of irritation: it causes itching; the scratching adds to the irritation; the oil glande become over-active and more oil scales, as well as skin scales, accumulate. This forms a good field for infection and the growth of germs, which may cause a form of dandruff which is not normal. Such infections can be transmitted by using another person’s comb and brush. Simple neglect of the scalp may, however, result in formation of dandruff without infection from others.
If the simple type of dandruff is not cured it may go on to the oily form.
The treatment of both types is (first) remove the scales, (second) destroy the germs, and (third) bring the scalp to its normal condition. The removal of the scales is accomplished by brushing, as described above. A fine comb may be usedgently, so as not to injure the scalp.
Then comes the washingthe frequency depending upon the stage of the disease. A severe condition may require a daily shampoo. Later, once a week, or once every two weeks, will be sufficient. Any mild soap may be used for the shampoo. A little lemon juice or vinegar in the last rinse water, when hard water is used, will keep the hair from being sticky.
For the oily form of dandruff, after the hair has dried, medication may be applied to the scalp (not the hair) with the fingers. This should be used for three days. After the disease is under control, once a week will probably be often enough if the daily care is kept up.
A three per cent solution of resorcin in alcohol is recommended for medication in the oily form of dandruff. As resorcin may give a rusty stain to gray hair, three per cent of salicylic acid can be used instead of the resorcin.