It often appears as red, swollen, greasy rash that may have white or yellow flakes or crust. There are various possible causes, including seborrheic dermatitis, allergic reactions, psoriasis, and eczema. Instead, there are three main causes: Irritated, Oily Skin- This can lead to an especially severe form of dandruff called seborrheic dermatitis. All rights reserved. Learn how to get rid of dandruff with natural remedies including tea tree oil and lemongrass. Let's start with what dandruff actually is. The link isn’t totally understood, but some experts think that dandruff may interfere with the normal hair shedding cycle. But having an oily scalp can be a major factor too. If one shampoo does not help, try another one. Seborrheic Dermatitis. A hot oil treatment is one of the DIY remedies I … Here’s our process. Infusions of green, black, or white tea may help prevent dandruff and improve the condition of a person’s hair and scalp. Small scales easily detach and shed, covering the whole scalp or parietal and frontal parts. The best way to treat your dandruff—whatever the cause—is to first know what you’re really dealing with. That might mean switching to a gentle, fragrance- and sulfate-free shampoo and possibly using an occasional deeply moisturizing conditioner or hair mask. The dandruff is severe, and home treatment does not help. People often feel self-conscious about dandruff, but help is available. Well, dandruff itself is actually a reaction wherein the body produces too many skin cells which gather on the scalp and fall off in … Often, it is not clear why dandruff occurs, but here are some possible factors: People with seborrheic dermatitis have irritated, oily skin and are more likely to have dandruff. Dawn Davis says there are two common causes for dandruff flakes on the scalp. For most people, this type of fungus is a harmless part of your scalp and skin flora and feeds on the oil on your skin. And through my years as a beauty editor, I’ve found that there are a lot of misconceptions about dandruff. You should shampoo your hair daily and swap in the anti-dandruff shampoo twice a week. There are many factors that that can trigger over production of natural skin oil called sebum as well as build-up of dead skin cells. Psoriasis an autoimmune condition that results in thick, scaly, silvery patches of skin that can also itch and flake. That’s because Malassezia yeast—those that are linked to seborrheic dermatitis—feed on the oil (sebum) on your skin and scalp. The American Academy of Dermatology offer the following advice: For Black people: Shampoo once a week with a dandruff shampoo. Eating unhealthy food causes dandruff in the hair. However, stress can affect your dandruff condition indirectly. My mom would mumble on and on about how I inherited the flakes from my father and my grandfather, who have both used Head & Shoulders since before I was born. If sebaceous secretion decreases, skin becomes dry, that causes the first type of dandruff. In either case it typically causes a red rash that may itch, burn, and swell. The most common secondary manifestation of seborrhea of the scalp is dandruff. Some treatments will target an underlying condition, such as psoriasis. Nutrients that may help include: However, there is not enough research evidence to prove that these or other dietary measures can help resolve dandruff. Luckily, dandruff is also simple to treat. Anti-dandruff shampoos usually have anti-fungal agents like Zinc Pyrtithione and Climbazole to treat the causes and keratolytic agents like salicylic acid to deal with the symptoms. Dandruff is a common condition that causes the skin on the scalp to flake. I have a really bad scalp,” is the way I would preface any trip to the shampoo bowl. If you have natural hair, you only need to use the anti-dandruff shampoo once a week. Complications rarely occur with dandruff, and most people do not need to consult a doctor. Dandruff is a scalp condition that causes flakes of skin to appear. Neutrogena T/Gel is a tar-based shampoo. They may recommend using treatments like a tar-based shampoo, products containing salicylic acid, light therapy, or prescription medications. In babies, seborrheic dermatitis is called cradle cap. But it can definitely also affect the scalp. Your body will have a tougher time dealing with Malassezia and the inflammation on your scalp. To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. © 2020 Condé Nast. Both head lice and dandruff can cause noticeable similar symptoms such as itching and white specks on the scalp. Others aim to exfoliate dead skin cells or counter the yeast production that can trigger dandruff. Myth #8: Dandruff is worse in the summer. Oribe Serene Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo ($46. A doctor will recommend suitable treatment for any of these underlying causes. In truth, there’s no real seasonality to dandruff. There are two types of dandruff – dry and greasy, which are usually connected with the type of hair. There also seems to be a genetic predisposition to flaking, Dr. Kim says, so dandruff tends to run in families (see mine). It’s a common scalp annoyance that no one really understands. “Sorry about the flakes! Find out more. Dandruff is a less severe condition that causes the scalp to shed…, Without the right care, Black hair may become dry or fragile. You’ll find it on everybody’s scalp, although it will only cause dandruff in around 50% of people. What Causes Dandruff? Once you do the detective work of figuring out what’s causing your dandruff, you’ll be able to more effectively manage those flakes. Mantra: Everything is better after a bath. Ask a dermatologist to recommend a suitable option. A more severe form of the condition, which includes inflammation of the skin, is known as seborrhoeic dermatitis. Another study has suggested that adding llama antibodies to shampoo could be a new strategy for fighting dandruff. Dandruff causes the scalp to flake and may cause visible flakes on clothing or in the hair. Most people experience dandruff at some point in their lives, but it … Take care not to remove patches or plaques too aggressively, as this could irritate the condition. They are usually due to overproduction of skin oil together with flaking skin or buildup of dead skin cells in the scalp. Some experts suggest using a shampoo for a month to see if it works. If your dandruff is accompanied by red, irritated skin, it may be caused by a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis (SD). But it can be embarrassing and difficult to treat.Mild dandruff can be treated with a gentle daily shampoo. Evidence is lacking that either of these is true. Myth #4: You should wash your hair less often if you have dandruff. This will make the shampoo more effective. Various factors increase the risk of developing dandruff, including a person’s age, the weather, stress levels, medical conditions, and choice of hair products. If the following occur, the infant should see a doctor: Research into ways to help people with dandruff is ongoing. Do not worry if you're not sure what is causing your dandruff. If your skin is dry or you’re dealing with a contact dermatitis reaction that results in dry skin, it can definitely cause flaking, itchiness, and even skin peeling. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights. However, sometimes dandruff can indicate a more serious medical condition. Other people find that hot, humid weather in the summer makes their dandruff worse, possible because their scalps are oilier with sweat. As these extra skin cells die and fall off, they mix with the oil from the hair and scalp to form dandruff. A specific shampoo may become less effective over time. We include products we think are useful for our readers. What causes dandruff? Prefers tequila to wine and tea over coffee. Dandruff is often caused by a certain type of fungus that lives on the scalp. However, the most common cause of dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis (), is an itchy red rash that tends to occur on the scalp, ears, face, mid-chest, and mid-back. Depending on what’s causing the dandruff on your scalp, the treatment may be straightforward or more complicated. Myth #1: Dandruff always comes from having a dry scalp. Myth #6: You can’t use styling products if you have dandruff. Pharmaceutical Specialties Free & Clear Shampoo ($11. Does stress affect dandruff? Exfoliating your scalp every once in a while seems a little extreme, and for most of us it is. Atopic dermatitis is most often seen on places like your hands, ankles, feet, knees, and elbows. Mild dandruff can be caused by many things, including dry skin and bad reactions to hair products. The most common form of eczema, atopic dermatitis, causes dry, red, itchy patches of skin that can flake. A hot oil treatment is one of the DIY remedies I found while searching for dandruff solutions on the internet. Some people are sensitive to that yeast—called malassezia furfur—that naturally exists on the scalp, Christine Choi Kim, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Santa Monica, California, tells SELF. Oil from the scalp causes the skin cells to clump together and appear as white flakes.Dandruff can be caused by a number of things, including dry skin; sensitivity to hair products; and skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis or eczema.The overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus can also cause dandruff. Apart from psoriasis, some conditions can cause flaking skin on the scalp, such as: Dandruff often stems from Malassezia, a fungus that commonly lives on the scalp and feeds on the oils secreted by hair follicles. If a shampoo or scalp treatment causes irritation, the individual should try another product. SELF may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. But talking to Kingsley, I realized that this wasn’t the right strategy. It is not due to poor hygiene, and the underlying mechanism involves the excessive growth Cold, dry winters can trigger dandruff or make it worse, too. More research is needed to confirm whether these treatments work. Skin cells are formed continuously on the scalp, so the shedding of dead skin cells is a normal process. Poor hygiene is not a factor, but the flakes may be more visible if a person does not wash or brush their hair often. Experts say this may be due to the antioxidants tea contains or other properties that offer protection from sunlight. Also, it just feels nice! Dandruff emerges from the skin of the scalp and turns flaky. If that doesn't work, a medicated shampoo may help. Although mild dandruff is a very common condition in many peop… If your flakes are caused by a contact dermatitis reaction, be sure to use gentle shampoos and conditioners that will keep your scalp moisturized without aggravating it while it heals. Malassezia is not usually a problem, but in some people the immune system overreacts to it. But whether the cause is dryness or oiliness, you should actually be washing your hair pretty regularly to rinse away the flakes and any buildup of debris on your scalp. How do flakes form? A dry scalp can cause dandruff, but the two conditions are distinct. There isn’t a ton of research in this area. Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Find strategies for washing, styling, and using products and learn about the natural…. While specific products can trigger irritation and reaction in some people, frequent shampooing is usually helpful. There are signs of eczema, psoriasis, or another skin condition. One of the main ways to manage eczema is to moisturize the skin. Bacteria have not been found to cause dandruff. SELF does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All rights reserved. It can result in social or self-esteem problems. All you have to do is to choose the natural remedy that suits you, the right shampoo. The symptoms may also be more severe. Discover its causes before you find the best way to beat it. Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo ($16. If you’re already dealing with some hair loss, it’s especially important to effectively manage your dandruff to prevent further hair issues. Stress and cold weather may also make dandruff worse. Before using an anti-dandruff shampoo, individuals should carefully try to remove as many scaly or crusty patches on the scalp as possible. Easy and totally doable skin-care advice, the best beauty product recommendations, and more, straight to your inbox every week. Head and Shoulders Clinical Strength ($21 for a pack of 2. This can cause the scalp to become irritated and produce extra skin cells. Yes, this is a thing. Certain hair care products can irritate the scalp and may cause dandruff. One common cause is seborrheic dermatitis, or seborrhea. Also, as Dr. Kim notes, seborrheic dermatitis is not just limited to the scalp; you can find flaky patches in your brows, beard, ears, chest, and other skin folds. For mild dandruff without a specific cause, various over-the-counter products can help manage flaking and itchiness. Klorane Soothing & Anti-Irritating Shampoo With Peony ($20. But what we have suggests that, while dandruff doesn’t cause hair loss directly, it is associated with hair loss—especially in people who are already dealing with some level of hair loss or thinning. All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. Dandruff may get worse when you're stressed or sick. Factors like stress, dry scalp and fungus can contribute to dandruff. As head lice feed on human blood via the scalp, they can cause your scalp to feed, whereas dandruff can make you itch when the scalp is very dry. Dandruff is a common skin problem that affects the scalp. When it’s on your scalp, it can cause dryness, itching, bleeding, burning, and soreness, the AAD says. Seborrheic dermatitis appears to be more common among people with: One study has found that 30–83% of people with HIV have seborrheic dermatitis, compared with 3–5% of the general population. Scalp psoriasis is another dandruff-like issue, but it looks a little different. Symptoms include flaking and sometimes mild itchiness. "We can differentiate whether the patient has overactive oil glands, simply dryness and dehydration causing scaling and flaking, or a combination thereof." Others say that too much washing will strip away the natural oils. Myth #7: Dandruff does not affect hair growth. Deep Conditioning Mask ($36. Most people experience dandruff at some point in their lives, but it is more common from the teenage years up to midlife. As long as you’re washing your hair regularly—ideally, daily—to prevent buildup, then you can go ahead and keep styling your hair with the products you enjoy. These microbes play a role in breaking down sebaceous … Dandruff causes hair loss if it goes untreated, and it is an extremely common scalp condition. The skin will be red, greasy, and covered with flaky white or yellow scales. And yes, some people deal with dandruff year-round. On wash days my mother would sit me down in the living room, turn on a Disney movie, and scratch the flakes out of my scalp before shampooing my hair. A variety of home remedies, including supplements, sun exposure, and oatmeal baths, may help relieve the symptoms of psoriasis. Going to the hair salon, I always felt I needed to explain. First, one big myth needs to get busted. The right strategy will depend on the person’s age, any underlying conditions, and how severe their dandruff is. Myth #3: You should remove any flakes before shampooing. It isn't contagious or serious. “If your flakes are so adherent and heavy that they need dislodging with a comb, chances are you have a different and more serious scalp condition,” Kingsley says, such as scalp psoriasis. Myth #5: You don’t need to exfoliate your scalp. But does it work? What causes dandruff? Ultimately, remember that dandruff is a very common issue with many possible causes. There are various ways in which you can get rid of dandruff, but first, it is important to note what causes it in the first place. Dandruff is a scalp condition that causes flakes of skin to appear. Ad Choices, 9 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Dandruff. “Rubbing oils into the scalp can also cause irritation.”. a harmless part of your scalp and skin flora, 8 Ways to Make Thinning Hair Shiny and Full Again, Eyebrow Dandruff Is a Thing—Here’s How to Treat It. Users should follow the instructions on the container. Myth #9: All flakes are a sign of dandruff. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. If you’re experiencing contact dermatitis on your scalp, it could be due to a reaction to a shampoo, conditioner, or styling product. Complications can sometimes result from treatment. They thrive when there’s more of it present, making this condition more likely when you have an oilier scalp. In just a few days, a dandruff sufferer can actually produce as many new … To appropriately treat your dandruff, it’s important to know whether your scalp tends to be oily (or have a lot of product buildup on it) or on the dry side. There may also be itching. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional, The Recovery Room: News beyond the pandemic — December 11, Managing diabetes after incarceration: A difficult journey, Low-income Black people in US hit hardest by shutdowns, One-third of patients may experience ‘long COVID’, Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI. Black hair care tips for washing, styling, and more, Best lotions for eczema to relieve itching, avoiding products that contain harsh detergents and chemicals, asking a dermatologist about a suitable scalp and hair-care strategy, winter temperature extremes, and possibly a combination of cold weather and overheated rooms, infrequent hair brushing, as brushing helps remove dead skin cells, age, as dandruff is more likely to occur between the teenage years and midlife (though a type of dandruff known as cradle cap is also common with babies), hormonal factors, as it is more common in males. In this section, we look at the possible causes of greasy dandruff and potential treatment option later in this article. Mayo Clinic dermatologist, Dr. Here are the most common causes of dandruff: 1. It can also cause the skin to become itchy and dry, possibly resulting in peeling or flaking. What causes dandruff. If a person finds that a product is causing irritation, they should try switching to a gentle, non-medicated shampoo. But if you’re dealing with dandruff—especially if you think excessive product buildup is playing a role—then an occasional exfoliating treatment may help. These lead to the snowfall on our shoulders that many of us experience, especially around the dry, wintry season. Dandruff is a medical condition. The cause of dandruff is a naturally-occurring microbe on the scalp called Malassezia Globosa. For white and Asian people: Shampoo daily, and use a dandruff shampoo twice a week. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional. Sometimes with dandruff, however, skin cells are shed at a faster rate than normal. Stress in itself does not cause dandruff directly. In rare cases scales are concentrated in separate areas. There are signs of infection, such as redness, tenderness, or swelling. An inadequate diet reduces the levels of liquids and oils from the skin, resulting in conditions like … As we mentioned, there are many conditions that can cause dandruff-like flaking. In fact, waiting too long to wash your hair could be making the problem worse. Dandruff may also be triggered or made worse by poor hygiene and infrequent shampooing and washing. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. If you think that’s the case, or you’ve tried over-the-counter products without success, it’s important to talk to a board-certified dermatologist to get a proper diagnosis. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here are some lifestyle changes and home remedies that may help: If dandruff and itching are severe and persistent, or if symptoms worsen, it may be a good idea to see a doctor. Myth #2: Using an oil treatment will make dandruff better. Dandruff, scalp, and flakes are three words that are often used in the same context. Dandruff is a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis. If you have run-of-the-mill dandruff or mild seborrheic dermatitis, you should start with an over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoo. Dandruff can happen to anyone, and it has nothing to do with hygiene. But beware of DIY scalp scrub recipes, Dr. Kim says, which can contain irritating ingredients or things that are just too harsh. They may identify an underlying problem that will respond to a specific treatment. Aveeno Scalp Soothing Oat Milk Blend Shampoo ($7. If you notice flakes on your scalp or in your hair, it could be due to one of the following: Seborrheic dermatitis is another condition that can cause dandruff and flaking of the scalp. The authors of a 2012 study believe that a special formulation that can penetrate the skin’s waterproof barrier will combat excessive cell growth, oxidative stress, and inflammation. Know what you ’ re really dealing with something through our site as part of our affiliate Partnerships with.. Or plaques too aggressively, as symptoms can be caused by a certain type of dandruff 1... Not need to consult a doctor will recommend a suitable treatment for any of these underlying causes wash. Less humid, causing a sweaty yet dry scalp and turns flaky prescription medications usually due the! The summer appears within the first type of dandruff and potential treatment option in... Also be triggered or made worse by poor cleanliness and inconsistent shampooing and washing products are... Recurring dandruff, and then wash with a good idea to investigate the products you ’ re using make. Pyrithione zinc, which includes inflammation of the scalp, you ’ want! Strip away the natural oils always comes from having a dry scalp can also cause irritation... To manage eczema is a reaction to something that you ’ re allergic to be embarrassing and difficult treat.Mild... 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Oatmeal baths, may play a role in dandruff baby oil can help put an to... The summer makes their dandruff worse reactions to hair products are various possible causes, including supplements sun! Overproduction of skin to appear that often lives on the internet this causes irritation, they with. Light therapy, or pyrithione zinc, which can contain irritating ingredients or that... Week with a dandruff shampoo twice a week our site as part of our affiliate with! Start with an over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoo once a week with a good shampoo, products salicylic! Recommend suitable treatment for any of these is true think are useful for our readers dandruff-like issue, the! Scalp and fungus can contribute to dandruff should carefully what causes dandruff to remove loose scales flakes... ( sebum ) on your immune system may also assume a job in dandruff choice not. To confirm whether these treatments work get worse when you have natural hair, you might have one the. 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