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Causes and Symptoms of Dandruff

Written and reviewed by
Dr. A.A Khan 90% (1063 ratings)
MBBS,CCA,DCA,AASECT,FPA,AAD,F.H.R.SM.I.M.S
General Physician, Gorakhpur  •  19 years experience
Causes and Symptoms of Dandruff

Dandruff is one of the most common chronic hair conditions. It is characterized by a white, flaky substance on the scalp. Dandruff is not a serious condition and neither is it contagious. However, people still want it gone so that their hair looks better. Here are the symptoms as well as the causes of dandruff.

Causes:

  1. Skin drying up: Dry skin is the most common cause of dandruff. The flakes from dry skin are usually less oily and smaller than with other forms of dandruff.
  2. Seborrhoeic dermatitis: Dandruff can also be caused by oily irritated skin. In this type of dandruff, red, greasy skin has flaky white or yellow scales covering it.
  3. Infrequent shampooing: This is also a very common cause of dandruff. This is because oil and skin cells accumulate, thus resulting in dandruff.
  4. Malassezia: Malassezia is a yeast like fungus. It is usually harmless and stays on the scalp of most adults. However, it is worth noting that sometimes the yeast may irritate the scalp and cause extra skin cells to grow. The skin cells then fall off and become flaky. 
  5. Contact dermatitis: Contact dermatitis is a sensitivity to health care products and when you use too much shampoo, hair styling products or other chemicals, such as paraphenylenediamine, the red, itchy, scaly scalp associated with dandruff is caused.
  6. Other skin conditions: There are many other skin conditions, which cause dandruff as well. These include eczema and psoriasis. Eczema is a chronic skin disease, which causes the skin to become inflamed. Psoriasis is another skin condition. It is characterized by thick scales forming resulting from rough, dry, dead skin cells which build up rapidly. 

These are just the causes of dandruff. Now you will see how to identify when you have dandruff by learning about the symptoms of dandruff.

Symptoms:

  1. The symptoms of dandruff are pretty easy to spot. All that happens is that you will see white, flaky, dead skin cells in your hair.
  2. It is sometimes accompanied by an itchy, scaly scalp. 
  3. There is also a type of dandruff called cradle cap, which occurs in newborns. Just like dandruff, it is not dangerous and goes away when the baby is 3 years old.
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