When Should You See a Specialist For Your Dandruff?

Having dandruff can be extremely frustrating and greatly affect one’s quality of life. It can cause itching and discomfort, and the unwelcome white flecks that appear on our shirt can even lead to feelings of embarrassment.

Although most dandruff symptoms can easily be managed with the right anti-dandruff shampoo, some dandruff issues require professional help. Thankfully, there are a variety of options available in Singapore — from dandruff prevention to specialised anti-dandruff treatments.

When should you see a specialist for your dandruff woes, and what effective dandruff treatment options are available? Read on to find out.

Persistent and severe dandruff

Persistent and severe dandruff, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, refers to dandruff of a chronic nature — a scalp that continues to scale excessively, and often reoccurs periodically, even after using anti-dandruff hair care products. 

Take note of how your dandruff spreads as it may also provide clues on what type of dandruff you’re experiencing. Are they patches that move past your hairline to your forehead? Are they clearly demarcated and red? If so, that may be a sign of more severe dandruff that must be managed by a specialist. 

Severe itching and discomfort

Not only can severe itching cause great discomfort and frustration,  constant scratching could lead to injury to the scalp and put you at risk of infection and scarring. A visit to the specialist could help alleviate the itch and prevent further injury to your scalp.

Redness and irritation

Dandruff can cause redness and irritation, and, in more severe cases could even lead to red, painful pus-filled bumps and patches. Redness is often a sign of inflammation. 

When faced with an already-irritated scalp, try adopting gentler shampooing techniques and avoid hot showers to prevent exacerbating your condition.

Excessive scaling

Excessive scaling refers to an unusually large amount of skin shedding, which could indicate a more severe scalp condition, which requires specialised treatment. 

It is important to take note of the type of scaling you experience. For example, dandruff appears more scaly than flakey. However, silvery or powdery scaling could indicate a more serious condition like psoriasis. 

No improvement with OTC products

If you’ve exhausted all over-the-counter anti-dandruff products available and continue to suffer from dandruff symptoms, it might be time to visit a hair and scalp specialist. A proper consultation will allow your specialist to determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend a suitable treatment plan for your condition. 

The right anti-dandruff treatment largely depends on treating its underlying cause, and this can only be done with a proper understanding of your condition. 

What could be causing your dandruff?

As mentioned earlier, severe dandruff symptoms could be caused by a spectrum of conditions, including:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis — Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the scalp, called Malassezia. Although most of the time, OTC anti-dandruff shampoo would suffice, more serious seborrheic dermatitis may require a prescription-strength antifungal shampoo. 
  • Psoriasis — Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells, causing excessive skin scaling. This skin disorder requires long-term treatment to keep your symptoms at bay.
  • Fungal infections — Your severe scalp issues may be caused by tinea capitis, also known as ringworm, which could, over time cause other problems such as hair loss. Tinea capitis can generally be treated with a topical over-the-counter antifungal ointment. However, ringworm infection in your hair follicles will require prescription oral antifungal medication to get rid off.
  • Contact dermatitis — Contact dermatitis is a rash that occurs when your skin comes into contact with an allergen. Specialised tests could be carried out to determine what’s causing your allergies, and in most cases the rash goes away once you avoid your triggers. 
  • Dry scalp — Your dandruff could be caused by a lack of moisture, which could indicate a skin barrier dysfunction. Treatments can be recommended by a specialist to address the weakened skin barrier and instil more moisture in the scalp.

Dandruff treatment options

tricholab scalp analysis

There is a large variety of dandruff treatment options — from over-the-counter dandruff remedies to specialised scalp treatments. 

  • Over-the-counter shampoos — Anti-dandruff shampoos available at your local drugstore are fairly effective at treating most cases of seborrheic dermatitis. They are formulated with active ingredients like zinc pyrithione or ketoconazole to help mitigate yeast overgrowth and treat dandruff with consistent use.
  • Prescription-strength oral medication — For more severe cases, oral antifungal medication or corticosteroids can be prescribed, depending on the underlying medical condition of the patient. 
  • Scalp exfoliation treatments — Scalp exfoliation treatments can help with mild dandruff symptoms by removing and preventing environmental build-up through gentle exfoliation methods. This minimises flaking and encourages hair growth. TrichoLab’s Scalp Exfoliating Treatment is a non-invasive, 90-minute treatment with no downtime, and a gentle alternative to microdermabrasion and chemical peels. 


The treatment includes a scalp exfoliation mask and steam treatment, and is completed with a sensitive scalp shampoo and multivitamin serum for optimal results.

  • Scalp revival treatments Tricholab’s Scalp Revival Treatment involves medical-grade salicylic acid exfoliation, followed by a nano mist essence to calm and deeply hydrate the scalp. 
  • Dandruff prevention treatments — Of course, prevention is better than cure, and dandruff is no exception. TrichoLab’s Dandruff Prevention Treatment is a 90-minute treatment with papaya enzymes, Centella Asiatica and green tea extracts that help cleanse the scalp while regulating oil levels.

Scalp exfoliating treatment in Singapore

Hopefully this guide has better explained what symptoms to look out for that would warrant a visit to a hair and scalp specialist, and has given you treatment options to consider for clean, dandruff-free hair. 

With over two decades of experience, TrichoLab has perfected a series of medically evaluated treatments for various scalp conditions. 

Schedule an appointment for an in-depth assessment of your scalp health and personalised treatment plan today.

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