What Causes Dandruff?

Dandruff is a very common condition that affects up to about 50% of the adult population in the world. It is not a serious condition and neither is it contagious, but it can be a great source of embarrassment. Many people are not aware of what causes dandruff and what they can do to get rid of it but you can find out here.   

What is Dandruff?

Dandruff is a skin condition that causes the scalp to itch and flake. Other symptoms include tingly skin and greasy patches on the scalp. It’s actually considered to be a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis and in babies, it’s known as cradle cap.

What Causes Dandruff?

Several reasons cause dandruff, but it’s important to note that dandruff is not caused by poor hygiene, as many people have been led to believe. However, the flakes become more visible if you don’t wash or brush your hair enough. 
Some of the most common causes of dandruff include:

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is what causes dandruff oftentimes. It’s a condition that makes the skin oily, scaly, or red. When the scales flake off, they create dandruff. 


This is a fungus that lives on the scalp and may cause dandruff. This happens when you have too much of it and it causes skin cells to multiply quicker on the scalp. 

Not Shampooing Enough

Shampoo strips the scalp of excess oil so when you don’t use it enough, the scalp becomes too oily. The oil build-up then causes the scalp to have flakes which eventually leads to the development of dandruff. On the flip side, shampooing too much makes the oily glands produce too much oil to compensate for the lack of it and so causes flaking. Therefore, you have to strike a balance by shampooing once or twice a week.   

Dry Skin

When the skin of your scalp is not hydrated enough, it dries up. This leads to flaking and may result in dandruff.

Sensitivity to Hair Products

When you react to some hair products, they may make you develop dry skin. This will cause flaking and production of too much oil which may lead to dandruff. These products may also cause contact dermatitis which makes the scalp red and itchy.

Skin Conditions 

Some skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema cause the skin and scalp to dry up and flake so they may cause dandruff. 

How to Get Rid of Dandruff Fast

There are both natural and chemical solutions you can use to get rid of dandruff. Here are some of those remedies:

Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Anti-dandruff shampoos are made with antifungal chemicals that kill the Malassezia fungus that causes dandruff. They may also contain coal tar which prevents the scalp from scaling and overproducing skin cells. 

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is well-known for its hydrating properties on skin and hair. Applying it to your scalp will prevent it from drying up and flaking. It also reduces the symptoms of eczema which also contributes to dandruff.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is acidic in nature so applying it to your scalp will stimulate the shedding of dead skin cells thereby preventing build-up. It also balances the pH of the skin and thus prevents the over-multiplication of fungus that may cause dandruff.


Aspirin contains salicylic acid that is present in a lot of anti-dandruff shampoos. Salicylic acid loosens flakes on the scalp and gets rid of scaly skin. 

Tea Tree Oil 

Tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties so it will help in reducing the itchiness of dandruff and fight the fungi that cause seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. 

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has potent antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties will be beneficial in fighting dandruff-causing fungi and soothing irritation. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Improving your intake of omega-3 fatty acids is beneficial to the health of your skin. This is because they regulate hydration and oil production. They also alleviate inflammation and reduce the irritation of dandruff. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in nuts, seeds, and fish.   

When to See Your Doctor

You can easily get rid of dandruff by using anti-dandruff over-the-counter products and home remedies. However, if you don’t observe any improvement after trying these solutions, you can visit a dermatologist for further assistance.

You are now knowledgeable and wiser concerning what causes dandruff and what you can do to get rid of it. You can, therefore, start taking conscious steps towards treating dandruff and preventing its development. 

Read more:
How to get rid of Dandruff: Causes, Symptoms, Best Remedies

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