• U.S.

A Real Head Scratcher

1 minute read
Janice M. Horowitz

NEWS Procter & Gamble, maker of Head & Shoulders, announced last month that it had figured out what really causes dandruff. The culprit, it said, is a couple of yeastlike funguses, M. restricta and M. globosa, and not the fungus that has long been a primary suspect, M. furfur.

SECOND OPINION A bit flaky, or at least an oversimplification, say independent dermatologists. “No one knows for sure what causes dandruff,” says Bruce Robinson, a dermatologist and spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology. “That’s the frustrating part.” Fungus may be the root cause, says Robinson, or it may simply be “a bystander” that likes to hang out with big clumps of skin cells. Inflammation of the scalp or excessive oil secretions may also play a role. For each theory, there’s a remedy. Products like Head & Shoulders, Nizoral A-D and Selsun Blue have compounds that fight fungus. Neutrogena’s T/Gel contains a purified tar that slows down the scaling process and reduces inflammation. And some dermatologists recommend using a solution of anti-inflammatory cortisone after shampooing.

–By Janice M. Horowitz

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