Those unpleasant white flakes on the collar of your dark shirt or blouse are dandruff. Dandruff is a sign that the skin of the scalp is peeling off (exfoliating). It is perfectly normal for the skin to exfoliate. The problem arises when the amount of dandruff becomes an eyesore. There are basically two reasons for this. Too much production or not effective removal. In the too much production category are inflammatory diseases of the scalp. In the ineffective removal category is inadequate scalp hygienic efforts.
As consumers, we have all seen plenty of advertisements dramatizing the repulsive appearance of these small white flakes on dark hair, a dark blouse, or shirt. A few particles of dandruff go unnoticed. Too much produces angst. It has been estimated that as much as 50% of the population is troubled by this nuisance.
White specks can arise from dried hair mousses, sprays, or nourishers that flake off the hair and then fall on the shoulders. Some people avoid shampooing regularly in the belief that washing leads to a dry scalp, that such washing damages the hair, or that washing will destroy their hairdo. Scale from an unwashed scalp can accumulate and then appear as excessive dandruff. The scalp skin is full of follicles with active sebaceous glands producing large quantities of grease. Actually, having a dry scalp is very rare.
Dandruff Can Be Found in Other Areas
Probably the most common cause of dandruff, however, is a skin disease called seborrheic dermatitis. This condition can produce an itchy, scaling red rash on the scalp, in the ears, on the upper eyelids, brows, forehead, in the folds that extend from the nose to the corners of the mouth, and occasionally on the mid-chest and mid-back.