Dandruff – Causes, Symptoms and treatments


What is dandruff?


Dandruff is a common scalp condition where it occurs on the scalp and is quite related to a disease called Seborrheic Dermatitis which leads to flaky and itchy skin. One of the common side effects of dandruff is itching and flakes.

What causes dandruff?

There are plenty of reasons for the cause of dandruff. It is hard to conclude what exactly causes an itchy and flaky scalp. Some of the well-known causes of dandruff are:

  • Dry skin
  • Oily skin
  • High sensitivity to air care products
  • Skin conditions like Psoriasis and Eczema
  • Malassezia, a yeast-like fungus that feeds on oil
  • Sebaceous glands Secretion
  • Fungal colonisation on the skin surface
  • Overexposure to sunlight
  • Exposure to dust or dirt
  • Eat Routine
  • Pressure formed on scalps due to wearing hats

Some people may be more predisposed to dandruff than others for reasons that are quite unknown. Men develop dandruff more often than women. However, some causes of dandruff are still undiscovered.

People who face oilier hair problems are at a high risk of getting affected by dandruff.

Signs and Symptoms 

When it comes to dandruff, flakes, itching, and a scaly scalp are the three main symptoms of dandruff.

Hair loss

 Additional symptoms can include:

  • Eyebrow dandruff
  • Hair loss
  • Erythema, a type of red patch formed in the scalp and face
  • Dry flakes formed on the skin

Treatments for dandruff

Some of the common problems like flaking and itchiness can be brought under control through medications. For mild dandruff, try regular cleansing with shampoo to reduce oil and skin cell build-up. If it does not produce good results, then try a medicated dandruff shampoo.

Some people prefer medicated dandruff shampoo to normal dandruff shampoo, which yields good results compared to the other one.  

On the other hand, hair and scalp products with medicated and non-medicated are available as solutions like foams, gels, ointments and oils.

Stop using the products if you notice any signs and symptoms occurring due to the product. If you notice unusual symptoms like rash, hives or skin redness, immediately opt for medical attention.  

Dandruff shampoos are segmented based on the medication they contain, and they are:

Pyrithione zinc shampoos

These shampoos contain antibacterial and antifungal agents like zinc pyrithione.

Tar based shampoos

Shampoos that contain tars are widely used for the treatment of dandruff. People who naturally have light-coloured hair may face discolouration problems due to this shampoo. Therefore, take proper medical conditions before using tar shampoos.

Shampoos containing salicylic acid

These shampoos, which contain a substantial amount of salicylic acid, eliminate the problem of dandruff and scalping.

Shampoos containing selenium sulfide

These types of particles contain antifungal properties. Rinse your head well when shampooing, or else they can discolour your hair and scalp.

Fluocinolone shampoos

These products contain a drug called corticosteroid that may help to control conditions like itching, slaking, and irritation.  

If your dandruff shampoo yields good results, then try using the shampoo that you are most comfortable with and avoid shampoos that produce irritation and other scalp problems.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Lifestyle and home remedies

Home remedies to mitigate to control and mitigate the risk of dandruff:

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil contains anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant medicinal properties that fasten healing and resolve dandruff problems.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has moisturising effects and nutrient properties that help to treat dandruff and dry skin problems.

Aloe vera

Applying aloe vera either before or after applying shampoos is the best way to cure dandruff and dandruff-associated problems.  

Minimise stress levels

Stress not only affects your head but your overall health. People rarely face dandruff problems when their stress level is under control.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar helps to balance dandruff problems by rebalancing the pH level of the scalp.


Aspirin is used as an OTC pain reliever to reduce the symptoms of dandruff. The salicylic acid present in aspirin is used as a key ingredient for manufacturing dandruff shampoos.


Omega-3s acid regulates oil production of the skin. The deficiency of omega-3s actually helps in the formation of dandruff and skin related problems.


You can reduce your dandruff symptoms by oral intake of pro-biotics that contain an important element called the bacteria Lactobacillus paracasei.

Baking soda

Baking soda, which is also known as Sodium bicarbonate, may help to reduce dandruff symptoms. It also helps to remove skin and oil from the scalp.  

Eat a healthy diet

A diet that contains enough zinc, Vitamin B and certain fats that trigger the production of diet.  

Develop a hair and scalp care routine that suits you

In case of facing oily scalp problems, then daily shampooing may be the best solution to get rid of the problem. Massage your scalp to lose flakes. If your hair is dry and sensitive, shampoo less and massage more on your scalp.

Get a little sun

Sunlight can help in controlling dandruff. But do not spend much time in sunlight. Avoid sunbathing as it may cause ultraviolet rays to damage your skin cells.

Limit hair-styling products

Abstain from using hair styling products that can potentially cause scalp and dandruff problems. Use natural products if you are about to use hair styling products.

Ways to get rid of dandruff

Getting rid of dandruff consists of taking medications that you can get both through prescriptions and over the counter. There are also some effective home remedies that you can try to have dandruff-free hair.

Risk factors of Dandruff

  • Age. Typically, Dandruff begins in young adulthood and can exist until middle age. However, it does not mean older people don’t face dandruff. The point here is younger people do face dandruff-related problems a lot more than older people.  
  • Males. Most of the dandruff problems are faced by males than females.
  • Illnesses. Certain illnesses like Parkinson’s disease attacks the nervous system directly, which directly increases the risk of dandruff in the future. Disorders like HIV can also increase the risk of dandruff.

Dandruff versus dry scalp

It is really hard to figure out the difference between dandruff and a dry scalp. These two causes both flakes and itchiness on your scalp. Dandruff is associated with seborrheic dermatitis, whereas dry scalp is associated with skin losing too much water. This condition arises when you’re not getting enough fluids.

Try not to live in a cold and dry climate, as it may lead to having a dry scalp on the head.

How to prevent dandruff problems?

The following are some of the effective tips that help to prevent dandruff problems:

Practice good hygiene

Avoid touching your scalp, especially when you feel dry and itchy.  

Scratching aggravates hair irritation and causes unnecessary hair complexion. When you scratch your head, you are also placing dirt into it that may cause additional hair problems in your head.

Use the right shampoo

Using the right shampoo always prevents hair problems, especially dandruff on your head. Don’t use shampoo that does not guarantee dandruff removal.  

Reduce stress

Stress can also cause dandruff and hair problems. To avoid stress, practice yoga and other exercises that could help you in reducing stress on your body.

Breathe fresh air

Breathing fresh air reduces oil build-up on the scalp. This oil build-up results in the cause of dandruff formation on the scalp.

Massage your scalp

A gentle massage on your scalp often reduces dandruff symptoms on your head.

Limit friction

Avoid synthetic materials. Abstain from wearing hats and scarves, especially during hot climates.

Summing up

Dandruff causes annoyance and discomfort very often. It spoils your mood and tempts you to rub your scalp frequently. Most of the dandruff-related problems can be resolved through OTC medications and treatments. If you feel unsatisfied with the product, as a solution for dandruff relief, change the product by getting a piece of advice from dermatologists.


1. How do I stop dandruff?  

You can avoid dandruff in the following ways:
1·Use a good shampoo
2·Do not touch your scalp often
3·Reduce your stress and depression
4·Gently massage your scalp
5·Daily shampoo your head

2. Is dandruff good or bad?

Dandruff is not a harmful skin condition. Dandruff does not result in hair loss. However, scratching the scalp may lead to temporary hair loss.

3. Is shaving the head good for dandruff?

Shaving your head can temporarily reduce dandruff problems. However, it does not mean your dandruff problems are fully resolved. It may slightly stick on your scalp and may develop once your hair grows.

4. Can dandruff cause hair loss?

It is still a piece of unproven information that dandruff causes hair loss. People who have dandruff, often experience hair annoyance and scalp irritation. Prompt treatment may reduce dandruff and other dandruff complications.

5. Is lemon good for dandruff?

Yes, lemon is a very effective home remedy to relieve dandruff problems. The citric acid present in lemon helps you in cleaning your hair roots and prevents the occurrence of dandruff and other scalp-related infections.

6. How do you get rid of dandruff in one wash?

Getting rid of dandruff in one wash is still a dubious statement. Massage your head with two tablespoons of lemon juice for 2-3 minutes before taking a bath. This may wipe out dandruff problems from your head.

7. Does hot water cause dandruff?

Hot water is said to be the important cause of dandruff. The dry scalp is the reason behind irritation and dandruff. Hot water leaves your scalp dry and causes dandruff on your head.

8. Can dandruff cause white hair?

White hair generally appears when people grow older. Dandruff does not cause white hair. However, dirty scalp and fungal infections may cause white hair. The deficiency of important nutrients like vitamin B, Copper, Iron and Iodine is said to be the major reason for white hair.

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