Dandruff Overview
Table of Contents


    Dandruff is a common condition with both men and women. It’s essentially skin that flakes off the scalp. Sometimes it’s the result of dry skin (it’s more common to experience dandruff in dryer weather), sometimes a hair care regimen is the culprit, and sometimes dandruff can be a sign of a more serious issue. 

    What Causes Dandruff?

    Since dandruff is classified as any flaky skin on the scalp, it can be caused by a long list of lifestyle choices and conditions. 

    The most common causes of dandruff are excessive shampooing and under-shampooing. If you shampoo too often, you can strip your scalp of the oils it needs to stay healthy. If you don’t shampoo enough, you may experience a buildup of dry skin. 

    Another common cause of dandruff is a buildup of hair care products (conditioner, hair masks, styling products, sunscreen) on the scalp. 

    A less common cause of dandruff is Malassezia, a buildup of yeast that can cause your skin cells to replicate faster than necessary. 

    Other common causes of dandruff include:

    • Excessive shampooing
    • Irritated skin
    • Oily skin
    • Seborrheic dermatitis
    • Sunburns
    • Under shampooing
    • Yeast buildup 

    Who Gets Dandruff?

    Men suffer from dandruff more commonly than women do, but both men and women can develop dandruff at pretty much any age. Dandruff commonly becomes a problem during (and after puberty), but it can happen at any time in a person’s life.

    Infants also commonly develop a form of dandruff called ‘cradles cap’. This is normal (especially when the air is dry) and often goes away on its own. Most doctors recommend using an infant-friendly moisturizer. 

    Symptoms of Dandruff

    Generally, if you’ve got dandruff, you’ll know it. The most common symptoms of this condition include:

    • Skin flakes 
    • Itchy scalp
    • Scales on the scalp 

    How to Prevent Dandruff

    Preventing garden-varieties of dandruff is pretty easy; all it takes are a few lifestyle changes to keep the white flakes off your clothes and out of your hair. Some of the most common treatments to prevent dandruff include:

    • Using clarifying shampoo to cut through build-up
    • Using anti-dandruff shampoo
    • Shampooing at most two times a week and at least every other week
    • Massaging and exfoliating your scalp in the shower to keep the blood flowing and your dead skin cells from ending up on your clothing
    • Shampooing with medicated shampoo if your symptoms are severe

    Medical Treatments for Dandruff

    Sometimes your scalp requires a little extra TLC to restore the balance. In some rarer cases, your dandruff may not be dandruff at all — but a scalp fungus. Either way, if you’re experiencing extreme symptoms of dandruff, including an itchy, red, and flaking scalp, we recommend making an appointment with a digital clinic to get your dandruff under control. 

    If you’re concerned that your dandruff might be severe (or a symptom of a larger problem), consult a doctor to nip your dry scalp in the bud.