Dandruff in toddlers may be unnerving and uncomfortable as it leads to frequent itching. The main culprits in formation of dandruff are bacteria, yeast or fungus (referred as malessizia) that grow in the sebum (skin oil), get incubated by body heat, cause irritation due to formation of skin plaques or crust.
Both these malessizia and sebum occur naturally on scalp and under healthy state lubricate the skin. Only when yeast or bacteria are overproduced, they eat away excess of sebum leading to dryness of the scalp and enhance up skin regeneration process that flakes off as dandruff.
Possible Causes of Dandruff
Dry scalp is the biggest cause of dandruff which could be because of sunburn, insufficient hair oiling and massaging of scalp, excessive use of shampoos with inefficient rinsing. Extreme cold and dry weather may initiate dandruff condition in absence of regular massaging on the scalp.
Frequent Scratching of dry hair can initiate skin flaking process and we should carefully monitor the cause of scratching which could be due to skin injury or varied skin infections.
Sharing pillows, towels and combs with ones having dandruff may be the cause of concern as it easily gets transferred. Inadequate Nutrition for skin and hair makes them deficient of essential nutrients and disrupts the healthy balance of sebum and yeast on the scalp.
Treating Dandruff in Toddlers
The best way to have healthy hair is by regular oiling and massaging scalp before bath. In toddlers, massage more with fingers at places of dandruff, so that loosen skin flakes get washed away on bathing.
Avoid excessive use of shampoos and ensure to rinse it out completely from hair and scalp. Shampoos are dry in nature and may be the cause for scalp drying. Prefer using oil based or herbal based shampoos for toddlers.
Curd and fenugreek should be utilized for massaging scalp as it treats the flaky scalp and also kill the bacteria causing infection. Curd is a natural conditioner that moisturizes the scalp and keeps it properly conditioned. Moreover, it is devoid of all chemicals and serves as the best treatment for kids.
Commercially available anti dandruff shampoos for toddlers could be used but never try adult brands for treating dandruff as they are medically treated and too strong for sensitive skin of toddlers. These have negative effects on hair growth amongst toddlers.
Combing hair after oil massage is a good practice that improves blood circulation and aids in healthy hair growth. Do not tie pony or pleat toddler hairs too tight as then roots of the hair get weak.
Make sure to wash hair daily till dandruff subsidizes but do not use shampoo every time, instead wash only with plain water. Use shampoo once a week only for young toddlers.
For severe cases, prescription lotions and shampoos are available for treating dandruff in toddlers but use them only after consulting pediatrician.