Generally speaking, the human body is a marvel of symbiotic harmony, with microorganisms thriving in our guts and mouths, and living on our skin without us even noticing. Occasionally though, things go awry, resulting in unpleasant reactions like the sinister-sounding seborrheic dermatitis, more commonly known as dandruff. The itchy, flaky scalp condition is caused by the body's reaction to a naturally occurring species of yeast called Malassezia and, while not life-threatening, no one wants it. Luckily, it's easy to treat and Dr. Jessica Krant, founder of Art of Dermatology, has some tips to keep your head and shoulders clear.
The best way to knock it out is with the right lab-tested chemicals. "There are a few herbal products on the market, and some people tout the use of tea tree oil," says Krant. "But these are not as effective as the use of the very safe over the counter shampoos containing zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, and ketoconazole." These chemical compounds possess antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory properties, meaning they'll wipe Malassezia out, keep it from coming back, and help heal your scalp.
Credit: Dana Hoff / Getty Images