Other scalp conditions often confused with dandruff include:
1. Dry Skin – In some cases, individuals simply suffer from overly dry skin. This problem is usually not confined to the scalp. If you need to add lotion to your legs or gloss to your lips on a regular basis, then you’re likely just a rather dry person. Scalp flaking is usually rather minor and can be handled by using a moisturizing shampoo.
2. Dermatitis – This is a skin disease. In most cases the scalp skin is also red and may be raw in areas (generally related to scratching). Dermatitis tends to cause more itching than classic dandruff. Scratching can damage the hair follicles and can even result in bald patches. Flakes tend to be yellowish in color rather than white. It’s important to see a skin specialist and begin a medical treatment program if diagnosed with dermatitis. About 10 percent of scalp problems thought to be dandruff are, in fact, dermatitis.
3. Yeast Syndrome (chronic candidiasis) – Though most doctors now agree that traditional dandruff is related to a scalp yeast fungus, some medical mavericks are suggesting that excessive yeast may be systemic and bowel focused. If you suffer from frequent vaginal yeast infections and note a high number of health problems overall along with dandruff, then research on chronic yeast conditions are available. Most advocate a rather radical diet designed to cleanse excessive yeast fungi from the body. Unless you suffer from a host of additional and serious health concerns, don’t worry about chronic systemic yeast. Information available is sparse and often contradictory.
4. Tinea corporis (ring worm) – Ring worm is seen most often in children. This fungal infection is easier to identify on the body where hair is not involved. The classic red patches which typically form rings can be almost impossible to see when covered with hair. Itching is more pronounced when ring worm is involved. In addition, ring worm is contagious. If a younger child is experiencing dandruff-like symptoms, it’s a good idea to visit the doctor to rule out ring worm. The doctor can shine a special light on the scalp which will turn the rings purple and conclusively confirm the diagnosis. Special creams are required to cure ring worm.