Darunakam- Dandruff

There are hundreds of diseases that affect human skin. Common skin conditions for which people seek medical attention are Psoriasis, Eczema, Dermatitis, Utricaria, Alopecia, Pemphigus, Acne and pimples, Atopic dermatitis, Lichen, Vitiligo, Dandruff, dark spots etc


Depending upon the presenting symptoms, Ayurveda classifies these skin conditions under various names like kushta, switra, visarpa, etc. Ayurvedic classics mention these skin conditions under Mahavyadhis or severe diseases. The root cause of most skin conditions are very deep-seated dosha vitiations and Ayurveda recommends periodic and thorough deep cleansing and detoxing of the body using various Panchakarma procedures for the cure of such conditions along with regular internal medication.
Darunakam – Dandruff (which is mild seborrhoeic dermatitis of the scalp) can affect almost 50% of the human population. It can start at any time after puberty and is slightly commoner in men. It can result in social or self-esteem problems. In Ayurveda it can be correlated as “Darunaka”. It is a disease of the scalp described in ‘Kshudrarogas’.


  • White oily flakes of dead skin
  • Itchy scaly scalp

The signs and symptoms may be more severe if you’re stressed, and they tend to flare in cold, dry seasons. Darunaka is characterized by:

  • Tvak sphutana (scaling of the scalp)
  • Kanḍu (itching)
  • Rukshata (dryness and roughness of scalp)
  • Keshachyuti (diffuse hair falling)
  • Daruṇa (difficulty in tolerance)
  • Svapa (loss of touch sensation)

Risk Factors

  • Age: Dandruff tends to begin during young adulthood, and continues through middle age in many cases.
  • Gender: More men than women have dandruff
  • Oily hair and scalp


Simple inspection of your scalp will help to diagnose the condition.


The treatments indicated for Darunaka in Ayurveda are Siravedhana, Shiro-Abhyanga, Shiro-Lepa and Nasya, Shiro-Basti,Shiro-Prakshalana.


  • Seborrheic dermatitis: Skin will appear red and greasy, and covered by flaky white or yellow scales. It can affect the scalp and other areas rich in oil glands, including the eyebrows, sides of the nose, backs of the ears, breastbone, groin area and sometimes the armpits.
  • Malassezia: This is a yeast-like fungus that lives on the scalp of most adults.
  • Not shampooing enough: Oils and skin cells from the scalp build up over time if you don’t wash your hair often enough, which causes dandruff.
  • Dry skin: Flakes from dry skin are typically smaller and less oily than those from other causes, and redness or inflammation is unlikely.
  • Contact dermatitis: This is a sensitivity to certain ingredients in hair care products. It can cause a red, itchy, scaly scalp.

As per Ayurveda classics, non-application of Kesha Taila (oiling of head), improper cleaning, sleeping during day time, night vigil, exposure to dust, hot weather etc. are causative factors for Darunaka.