Dandruff is a common chronic scalp condition marked by flaking of the skin on your scalp. It isn’t contagious or serious, but it can be embarrassing.

The good news is that dandruff usually can be controlled.

Mild cases may need nothing more than daily shampooing. More stubborn cases often respond to medicated shampoos.

Take these steps to reduce your risk of developing dandruff:

• Manage stress. Stress affects your overall health, making you susceptible to a number of conditions and diseases. It can even help trigger dandruff or worsen existing symptoms.

• Shampoo often. If you tend to have an oily scalp, daily shampooing may help prevent dandruff.

• Get a little sun. But if you’re going to be outside for a prolonged period, don’t neglect your skin. Wear sunscreen on your face and, in the summer, body.

• Try an alternative medicine. Tea tree oil has been shown to reduce dandruff in some cases, but more study is needed. The oil, which comes from the leaves of the Australian tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), is included in many shampoos found in natural foods stores. Note: The oil may cause allergic reactions in some people.

• When regular shampoos fail, dandruff shampoos may succeed. But you may need to experiment until you find one that works for you.

If you develop itching, stinging, redness or burning from any product, stop using it. If you develop an allergic reaction, seek medical attention.

Mayo Clinic News Service