What Causes Dandruff: Symptoms and Treatment

What Causes Dandruff

Dandruff is a common condition that causes the skin on the scalp to flake. Dandruff is not contagious or serious. It is embarrassing and it can be difficult to control. The main question in your mind will be that what causes dandruff?

Mild dandruff can be easily treated with a gentle shampoo daily. If you have stubborn dandruff, then you can use a medicated shampoo. 

Dandruff is considered the mild form of seborrheic dermatitis. In babies, it is termed as cradle cap. 

Dandruff is annoying and embarrassing at times. It doesn’t indicate a serious health issue. Itching and flaking can be treated with OTC shampoo. You should try different brands until you find the best one for you. 

In the case of dandruff, most people focus on flakes. It has a side effect of itching, which is an uncomfortable situation. Now you will wonder what exactly your scratchy scalp means and what is it indicating?                    


Flakes and itchy, scaly scalp are the main symptoms of dandruff. White oily flakes tend to accumulate in your hair and skin and on your shoulders. It becomes worse during the fall and winter months when the air is dry. The most common symptoms and signs of dandruff include

 1. Itchy scalp

 2. Skin flakes on your scalp, hair, eyebrow, beard, or shoulder. 

 3. Scaly, crusty scalp in infants with cradle cap.

 4. Irritated and oily skin, a condition is known as seborrheic dermatitis. It is more severe than dandruff. 

 5. If you are not shampooing properly, it will cause skin cells to accumulate and create flakes and itching.

 6. A yeast called Malassezia, will aggravate your scalp, and it causes excess skin cell growth.

 7. Different personal care products may cause dermatitis, which makes your scalp red and itchy. 

 Above mentioned symptoms can become severe in case of stress, and they tend to flare in the cold, dry season. 

See a doctor 

As mentioned earlier, that dandruff is not contagious or serious. So, it can be treated by yourself without consulting a doctor. But if you have been using dandruff shampoo for more than a month and dandruff is not removing, then you should consult your primary doctor.

What causes dandruff?

What causes dandruff? Dandruff may be caused by several causes, including:

 1. Irritated, oily skin 

 2. Not shampoo enough

 3. Dry skin

 4. Fungus called Malassezia that feeds on oiks on the scalp of most adults

 5. Sensitivity to hair products. 

 6. Other skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema

You may notice these symptoms around puberty but dandruff can be developed at any age. When you notice that what your itchy scalp trying to indicate? Here are some common answers. 

1. All the shampoos are not the same

If you have an itchy scalp then you should use an over-the-counter shampoo that is specially formulated to treat dandruff. 

Getting the right one may take some trials and errors. Sometimes alternating two or more shampoo can help to treat dandruff. 


Some products can be used to treat dandruff.

Head & shoulder and Jason Dandruff Relief 

It contains zinc pyrithione, which is antibacterial and antifungal. Dandruff is not caused by a fungus, but it still helps to slow the production of excess skin cells. 

Neutrogena T/Gel

It is a tar-based shampoo. Coal has the potential to ease the conditions from dandruff to psoriasis by slowing how quickly your scalp skin cells die and flake off. This can discolor your hair, so be careful if you have blonde hair or gray hair. 

Neutrogena T/Sal

It has a dose of salicylic acid that can reduce the number of scales. This type of shampoo can dry your scalp. So if you have already dry skin, then you should use a moisturizing conditioner. 

Selsun Blue

It contains selenium sulfide that can slow and prevent the skin cells from dying and also reduces Malassezia. It can also discolor your blonde hair. 


It is a ketoconazole shampoo that contains a broad spectrum of antifungal. 

2. Moisturize 

A dry scalp tends to flakes and causes itching. Restoring moisture to the scalp can help to reduce itching.

Coconut oil has moisturizing and antibacterial properties. So, it is a great natural choice for dryness.

3. Practice good hygiene & avoid scratching 

Proper shampooing can be enough to keep the oil away and treat it with dandruff. Itching is caused due to dandruff. So, you should resist the urge to scratch. Scratching will increase irritation and lead to a vicious cycle.

Using too many products can also irritate the scalp. 

4. You need to relax 

Stress can make your dandruff more worsen. Moreover, if you have a weak immune system then you are more likely to be attached to Malassezia that will increase the scales on your scalp. You can keep yourself relaxed by regular exercise, meditation, or yoga.

Some reasons cause dandruff. 

 1. Dry skin 

This is the main cause of dandruff. And unfortunately, it gets severe in winter when the air is dry. 


 1. Use a moisturizer 

 2. Use of medicated shampoo 

 2. Not enough shampooing 

It is unhygienic and causes dandruff. If you don’t shampoo properly, oil tends to accumulate and builds up on your scalp.

It doesn’t mean that you don’t clean yourself, but it means the shampoo used is not enough, or it is not strong enough. 


 1. Use shampoo more frequently than the usual routine. 

 2. Use of medicated shampoos. 

 3. You are allergic 

In this universe, many people are allergic to many things. You can also be allergic to care for products. 


 1. Stop using that product. 

 2. Carry out the elimination process to identify the culprits.

Risky factors 

Almost anyone can have dandruff, but certain factors can make you more susceptible:


Dandruff may start from young adulthood and continues through middle age. That doesn’t mean older adults can’t get dandruff. It can be a lifetime problem for some people. 

Being male

It is a common observation that more males have dandruff. So, some researchers believe that male hormones play a role. Men develop dandruff more frequently than women. 

Certain illnesses 

Parkinson’s disease and other diseases that can affect the nervous system also increase the risk of dandruff. If you have HIV or a weakened immune system, then it also increases the risk of dandruff. 

 People who tend to have oiler hair or suffer from certain illnesses are at high risk of dandruff. 


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