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October 1924


Arch Derm Syphilol. 1924;10(4):429-441. doi:10.1001/archderm.1924.02360280023005

We believe that dandruff is not essentially seborrheal; that the combination of seborrhea and dandruff is not so common as to warrant the present classification; that the old pityriasis group should be restored to its original and independent status; that the definition of seborrhea should be standardized, and that the use of the adjective seborrheal should be confined to conditions in which seborrhea is essential—not incidental to the morbid picture.

After examining the textbooks on dermatology used in American medical schools, I am inclined to accept the Elizabethan description quoted below as, by comparison, clear and accurate. The word dandriff (dandriffe, dandruff) is of Anglo-Saxon origin, a combination of tan meaning tetter and drof meaning dirty.1 Dandruff, then, is "itch-dirt" and is described as follows in what is said to be the first book on midwifery published in the English language.2

Of the Causes and Remedies of Dandruffe