Dandruff may begin to be a problem as your child hit puberty. Most younger children don’t have to worry about dandruff, according to Baby Center. When children hit puberty, their hair glands begin to produce more oil, which can cause skin flakes from the scalp to clump together and become more visible. A yeast may also have some responsibility in causing dandruff to form on your child’s scalp.
On occasion, all a child needs to do to clear up dandruff is wash his hair every day. In some cases, flakes are caused not by dandruff, but by unrinsed excess shampoo flakes, so make sure your child uses only a small amount of shampoo, no bigger than the size of a dime, and that he rinses his hair out thoroughly, according to Baby Center. Your child should brush or massage his scalp after shampooing to loosen the flakes, then rinse them away.
If a daily shampoo doesn’t clear up your child’s dandruff, he may need to switch to a product that contains salicylic acid or coal tar to treat the dandruff. When your child uses a medicated shampoo, he needs to let it sit on his scalp for several minutes before rinsing for it to work properly. He should massage or rub the shampoo into his hair while it sits and rinse the shampoo out completely afterward. He may need to use the shampoo every day initially then reduce use to once or twice a week as the dandruff improves. If over-the-counter medicated shampoos don’t work, you may want to take him to see his doctor. The doctor may prescribe a stronger shampoo.
You may need to provide your child with extra zinc in his diet to help control his dandruff. Zinc is an ingredient in some dandruff shampoos and seems to help clear up dandruff. You can find zinc in whole-grain foods, egg yolks and meat, according to the Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service of South Australia. More B vitamins and healthy fats in your child’s diet can also keep his dandruff under control.
Your child shouldn’t sit out in the sun with a reflector and suntan oil on, but getting a bit of sun on his scalp may help clear up his dandruff, according to the Mayo Clinic. Make sure you put sunscreen on his face, neck and any other exposed skin. You should limit your child’s sun exposure to no more than 30 minutes daily.