Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."


Question: My 7-year-old daughter has a flaky scalp, even after a good washing. I am trying a mild dandruff shampoo, but its not helping. I'm afraid to try one of the adult stronger types at the store. What can I do? - Tamara

Answer: At age 7, having "dandruff" can be quite annoying, both to you and your daughter.

To help you find a solution, take note of when you noticed the scalp becoming "flaky and dry." Have you changed shampoos or washing her her too frequently (this will tend to dry out the scalp). As with any condition on scalp or skin, once an irritation starts, unless it's halted, it will continue to worsen. Dry scalp or skin becomes drier and more irritated. We will try to "treat it" by shampooing more. This in turn dries the scalp even more. Allergy to certain ingredients in shampoo or creams used on the hair may also lead to a scalp dryness and further irritation. A conditioner that is not rinsed completely may leave a residue and cause flaking.

A condition called seborrhea can mimic "dandruff." This scalp condition is sometimes associated with other skin problems such as eczema or atopic dermatitis (AKA allergic skin).

Psoriasis is another skin condition that may manifest on the scalp and appear as ordinary dandruff.

If over the counter shampoos don't appear to be helping, then speak with your daughter's pediatrician for advice. It may be as simple as using a stronger prescription shampoo or possibly a referral to a dermatologist if necessary.

Dr. Betti

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  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.