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Is there any medicine to get rid of dandruff?

Q: I am a 36 years old male with lots of dandruff flakes on my scalp and in my ear, which sometimes causes itching. Is there any medicine available to get rid of dandruff and any procedure to stop this from recurring?

A:Once you've had dandruff, its return is inevitable. There's simply no cure. But you can manage your scalp's flaking and itching by killing the yeast that causes it. That must be the whole goal. When you suppress that yeast, dandruff disappears. If dandruff has your dander up, try these remedies. Work yourself into lather If you're suffering from only a few errant flakes, just washing your hair more often (at least once a day) with a standard shampoo may be enough to do the trick. Choose your weapon If the flakes persist, it's time to move to a more aggressive treatment. Over-the-counter shampoos containing selenium sulphide are the best at battling dandruff. It's great stuff—knocks the heck out of it in two to three weeks. Next on the list: shampoos made with pyrithione zinc, coal tar and salicylic acid, in that order. Coal tar and salicylic acid aren't as good because they're messy, they smell lousy and they just aren't as effectives. Take turns with your treatment If you rotate your shampoos, you get an even better response. When you shampoo on a daily basis with a particular shampoo, all of a sudden you perceive a plateau—the shampoo doesn't do any good any more. For best results, buy a couple different dandruff shampoos and use them in rotation. Shampooing twice is nice That line on the dandruff shampoo bottle urging you to lather your hair twice isn't just a line to get you to buy more shampoo. Dandruff shampoo has two elements to it, the soap or detergent action to degrease the hair, and the medicinal quality delivered the second time around. You'd probably have a little better penetration of the medicine when you have a degreased scalp. Subdue stress Certainly the three conditions that are the most common causes of dandruff are all known to be influenced by stress or aggravated by stress. If you could reduce that, it would probably help. Put some sunlight on the subject If your hair is thinning and you have dandruff, some exposure to sun may help temper the yeast. All's well with oil—when it's not too hot Applying oil to the scalp will often help loosen and dissolve dandruff. But oil, when it's too hot, can damage the hair shaft and cause breakage of the hair. Rather than buying a hot-oil treatment, simply put a few drops of olive oil on your scalp after shampooing at night, cover your head with a shower cap and shampoo again in the morning. That's an excellent home remedy. Hunt down some hydrocortisone lotion Available without a prescription, 1 percent hydrocortisone lotion helps relieve the inflammation that contributes to dandruff. The only drawback: Hydrocortisone can mask a serious fungal infection until treatment is stopped—allowing it to reappear with a vengeance. Apply several drops after shampooing and work it into the scalp. A stronger hydrocortisone cream is also available by prescription; see your doctor.

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