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What to do About Your Child's Dandruff

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What to do About Your Child's Dandruff

Oct 30, 2017

Dandruff—those small white flakes of dead skin that can gather on a child's shoulders—is normal and can be treated with the right hair care. Pediatrician Dr. Cindy Gellner talks about the causes and prevention of dandruff in children.

Episode Transcript

Dr. Gellner: Dandruff is one of those things many people have and few people want to talk about. Well, I'll talk about it today on The Scope. I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner.

Announcer: Keep your kids healthy and happy. You are now entering the Healthy Kid Zone with Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope.

Dr. Gellner: So dandruff, while it looks really gross, is actually just normal skin shedding. All over our body dead skin cells flake off and no one really notices, but in the hair it's easy to see. Many parents think that their kids have lice when it's actually dandruff and no, dandruff is not contagious but it does tend to run in families. The key to fighting dandruff is removing the flakes as fast as they form. Brush your child's hair before you wash it to loosen up dead skin flakes and then wash your child's hair. Regular shampoo often works if you do this and wash daily. Eventually you'll be able to wash it every other day but probably not any less than that.

If your child's scalp is red or irritated or the flakes are greasy, then you're going to want to use a medicated anti-dandruff shampoo. There are several kinds but you're going to want one that contains selenium sulfide. These shampoos will help remove the dandruff and also cut down on the shedding. For these shampoos you want to be very careful that they don't get into your child's eyes. You'll use it differently too. You'll lather your child's hair, wait three minutes and then rinse thoroughly. You'll do this three days in a row and then use regular, non-dandruff shampoo on the other days.

If these tips still aren't helping your child's dandruff stay under control then ask your pediatrician for a referral to a dermatologist. These doctors help with skin and hair diseases and often have many other tricks up their sleeves to help stop your child's flakes.

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