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Study identifies dastardly dandruff culprits

SUNDAY, July 21, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Have you ever wondered what causes the dandruff flakes that can make your shoulders look like you've walked through the streets of Buffalo during a January blizzard?

Well, scientists at the Procter & Gamble Co. say they've identified the main culprits. They say the common dandruff that affects more than 50 percent of Caucasians and 80 percent of people of African descent is caused by the fat waste of two types of fungus.

The scientists say Malassezia restricta and Malassezia globosa are the scoundrels that make it impossible for many of us to wear black.

This finding takes the blame off the shoulders of Malassezia furfur, which was previously fingered as the dandruff ne'er-do-well.

The Procter & Gamble scientists examined scalp samples from 70 people with dandruff. They found M. restricta in 70 percent of the samples and M. globosa in 45 percent. The scientists didn't detect any sign of M. furfur in any of the samples.

So, how do M. restricta and M. globosa create dandruff? They feed on fats secreted from your hair follicles. They leave partially digested fats that linger on your scalp, and cause irritation that leads to dandruff.

The findings were presented at the recent World Congress of Dermatology in Paris. This information may help develop new approaches to dandruff treatment, the scientists say.

More Information

This is a site devoted to dandruff.

SOURCE: Procter & Gamble Co. news release, July 1, 2002
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