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What Causes Dandruff?

Sep 19 '13

What Causes Dandruff?

How to Minimize the Risk of Dandruff

Dandruff on the shoulders is unsightly.

Dandruff on the shoulders is unsightly

Dandruff is a very common condition that produces an excessive quantity of flaky skin cells that commonly fall on the shoulders. It makes people feel awkward and embarrassed and often causes itching.

But what causes it?

Unfortunately, like various other forms of eczema (including psoriasis) there is no clear-cut explanation for dandruff. But the experts do agree that it is not due to bad hygiene, though of course you do need to keep your hair and scalp clean. If you have dandruff, here are some of the possible reasons why.

  • You don’t brush your hair enough

It is believed that people who don’t brush or comb their hair regularly are more likely to get dandruff than those who do. The explanation is quite simple: by brushing your hair, you are helping to shed dry flaky skin on your scalp. 

  • You are sensitive to yeast

People who suffer from yeast sensitivity seem to have a higher risk of getting dandruff. Often they find that the condition gets worse in winter, and gets better when it is warmer. This is because the long-wave UVA light from the sun is able to counteract the yeast. At the same time, people report that in winter, when the air is cold and rooms heated, dandruff is more likely.

  • If your skin is dry you may have a predisposition for dandruff

It does seem to be a fact that those with dry skin have a tendency to get dandruff. Generally if the dandruff is caused by dry skin, they will have very small flakes of dandruff and it won’t be oily.

  • If you have seborrheic dermatitis you are likely to be prone to dandruff

Dandruff is a mild characteristic or form of seborrheic dermatitis. But while dandruff is generally dry and scaly, seborrheic dermatitis is often associated with greasy scale in the scalp. Unlike dandruff it also affects the skin, specifically behind the ears, under the eyebrows, on the sides of the nose and on the breastbone.

  • You don’t shampoo your hair often enough

There is a theory that if you don’t shampoo frequently enough, oil and dead skin cells can build up and cause dandruff. However, this idea is disputed by many experts, and there is an opposing theory that too much shampooing actually causes dandruff because it irritates the scalp.

  • Some skin conditions may make you more prone to dandruff

People who suffer from eczema and psoriasis (and some other skin disorders) are more likely to suffer from dandruff as well.

  • Some illnesses may make you more prone to dandruff

Neurological illnesses, including Parkinson’s disease, seem to have a link with both dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. People who are recovering from strokes and heart attacks, and those who have a weak immune system, are also more likely to get dandruff.

  • A reaction to hair and skin care products can cause dandruff

People with sensitive skin often have reactions to commercial hair and skin care products. A common result is a red, itchy, scaling scalp.

  • Malassezia may turn into “dandruff”

A fungus that lives on all our scalps, malassezia is normally harmless, but on occasion it can develop out of control. Being a fungus, it feeds on the oils that are secreted by our hair follicles, and this can cause the scalp to become irritated, and to produce additional skin cells. What happens is that the extra skin cells die and mix with the hair oils and scalp, and develop a form that looks like dandruff.

  • Your diet may be to blame

Another theory relating to dandruff is that if you don’t eat sufficient foods that contain zinc, vitamin B and some good fat types you are more likely to get it.

  • Mental stress could be the trigger

Most experts accept that there is a link between stress and many skin problems. For this reason mental stress could make dandruff more likely.

  • HIV may be the cause

A scientific study has revealed that about 10.6% of people with HIV also have seborrheic dermatitis.

If you have seborrheic dermatitis or very severe dandruff you should consult with a medical professional. But if it is reasonably mild, the friendly staff at Sheer Bliss Hair Salon, Durham can advise you on some excellent hair care products that will alleviate your dandruff.

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