Dandruff is a scalp condition where the skin dries and flakes off of the scalp. It is a very common condition that can be managed. Those with dry skin, eczema and other skin conditions, may be more apt to develop dandruff. When it’s not under control, your scalp can itch, become red and irritated and flakes will persist.
There are many reasons why dandruff occurs, but there are about as many ways to manage it. From stress to natural oil production to medical issues, dandruff is common and can be prevalent in children, teenagers and adults.
Causes of Dandruff
- Yeast overgrowth. Malassezia is a fungus that is naturally found on the scalp. Some scalps are more sensitive to the yeast growth than others, causing dandruff.
- Dry skin. No matter where on the body, dry skin typically results in itchy, red, flaky skin. If the scalp is not moisturized properly, it can dry out and cause dandruff.
- Stress. Stress has the tendency to exacerbate some conditions and symptoms. It can also cause increased oil production that oftentimes results in dandruff.
- Bad shampoo habits. Shampooing and conditioning your hair and scalp is an important part of proper hair care and health. When using products that don’t care for your hair or scalp properly can cause dandruff. If your scalp is not getting enough shampoo or conditioner, that can also cause dandruff.
- Seborrheic dermatitis. This is a medical condition where itchy, red and scaly patches are found on oily parts of the body, such as the scalp, face, back and chest. One of the main symptoms of this condition is dandruff.
Ways to Manage Dandruff
- Change up your hair care routine. If you don’t already, make sure you begin using a shampoo and conditioner that is enriched to moisturize your hair and scalp. Be attentive when washing your hair and be sure to scrub your scalp and rinse thoroughly. Leaving shampoo or conditioner in your hair can lead to dandruff. Consider how often, or not often, you’re washing your hair as washing your hair too much or not enough can cause dandruff.
- Get prescribed medication. Certain medical conditions, such as an overgrowth of malassezia or seborrheic dermatitis, cannot be easily managed through anti-dandruff hair care products and at-home remedies. Talk with your doctor about your experience with dandruff, and if there is an underlying condition, get a treatment plan that’s right for you.
- Manage your stress. If your dry skin or dandruff has increased in production, it could be influenced by your stress levels. Evaluate your stress and find ways to reduce your daily stress. Learn ways to manage your stress here.
Dandruff is not a life-threatening condition. While it can be a nuisance, it also can be managed. Unless you suspect your dandruff is the result of an underlying condition, it typically doesn’t warrant a doctor’s visit. Specialty hair care products can be found at your local drug store. Should your dandruff become unmanageable, talk to your doctor for additional treatment options to see what is right for you and your skin.