Dandruff: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Written by Anjali Sayee

Dandruff – those pesky little white flakes on your scalp – can be very annoying. Dandruff is a skin condition that is mainly caused due to dryness of scalp or several other factors. It may cause itchiness on your scalp. Although not a serious health issue, dandruff can make you feel embarrassed or self-conscious. Know more about this skin condition and how to treat it in a natural way right here. Keep scrolling! 

Some Interesting Facts About Dandruff

Dandruff is a fairly common skin condition. Here are some interesting things about dandruff that are worth noting:

  • Dandruff does not discriminate on the basis of age. It can happen to anyone, be it younger or older people.
  • Dandruff may affect your face and body as well. Many women may find dandruff on their eyebrows and on the sides of their nose. Dandruff mainly affects the parts of the body where excess oil is produced.
  • Dandruff affects almost half the adult population in the world (1).
  • Along with humans, dandruff may also affect animals like cats and dogs (2).
  • You can find your DNA in the dandruff from your scalp. This may help in forensic research (3).

Now that we know some interesting facts about dandruff, let’s take a look at the different causes of dandruff.

What Are The Causes Dandruff?

1. Dry Scalp

Dry scalp is the number one cause of dandruff among people (4). If dry scalp is the reason behind your dandruff, then it may get worse during winter. This is because the low humidity in the colder months makes your skin dry out even more.

2. Lack Of Good Hygiene

Lack of good hair and scalp hygiene may also cause dandruff. If you neglect washing your scalp and hair regularly, then you are more prone to suffer from dandruff. This is because it allows oil, dirt, and product residue to accumulate and build up on the scalp, which leads to dandruff.

3. Skin Condition

Skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis may cause dandruff on your scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that causes inflammation on your scalp (5).

4. Malassezia

Malassezia is a fungus that is normally present on everyone’s scalp. When your scalp’s microbiome is out of balance, it causes an increase of Malassezia, which leads to dandruff (6). It can also cause itching and irritation on the scalp.

5. Stress

Excessive stress may result in a compromised immune system (7). This may allow fungi like Malassezia to thrive and cause dandruff on your scalp.

The first step for treating dandruff is to identify its symptoms. Scroll down to the next section to check them out.

Different Symptoms Of Dandruff

The various symptoms of dandruff that you may notice include:

  • Flakes on your scalp, hair, and eyebrows.
  • Itching on the scalp.
  • Dandruff may become worse during the winter season.
  • It may also become worse when you are stressed (8).

If you are suffering from dandruff, rest assured that there are many ways to treat it. Here are a few home remedies that you can try to keep dandruff in control.

How Do You Get Rid Of Dandruff?

There are many different ways to treat dandruff naturally, ranging from home remedies to  meditation. Check them out!

I Home Remedies

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

The main component of apple cider vinegar is acetic acid (9). Acetic acid is known to have strong antifungal properties (10). Hence, using ACV may help with treating the dandruff caused by Malassezia.

You Will Need

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water

What To Do

  1. Mix the apple cider vinegar and water together.
  2. Pour this ACV mixture over your hair after washing it.
  3. Leave the mix in your hair for 15 minutes before rinsing it off with plain water.

How Often

Every time you wash your hair.

2. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is known for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties (11). Hence, it may help treat Malassezia-induced dandruff.

You Will Need

  • Regular shampoo
  • Tea tree oil

What To Do

  1. Add 8-10 drops of tea tree oil to your bottle of shampoo.
  2. Use this shampoo to wash your hair.
  3. Alternatively, you can use tea tree oil-based shampoo.

How Often

Every time you wash your hair.

3. Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil may help in hydrating your scalp and keeping it moisturized (12). As it helps prevent dryness of the scalp, it may also prevent your dandruff from worsening.

You Will Need

  • Virgin coconut oil

What To Do

  1. Take a few drops of virgin coconut oil in the palm of your hand.
  2. Massage the oil into your scalp and hair.
  3. Keep the oil in your hair for 1-2 hours, then wash it off.

How Often You Should Do It

Once or twice a week.

4. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is believed to have antibacterial and antifungal properties (13). Hence, it may help in treating dandruff.

You Will Need

  • Aloe vera gel

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply aloe vera gel as a hair mask.
  2. Keep the gel in your hair for 1-2 hours.
  3. Wash it off with a mild shampoo.

How Often

Once a week.

II. Meditation

As mentioned before, stress may cause dandruff to worsen (14). Excessive stress may result in a compromised immune system, which may help Malassezia to thrive. Hence, to reduce stress, you can try meditation. You may also try yoga or aromatherapy to reduce de-stress every day.

III. Good Hair Hygiene

Having good hair hygiene can help in lessening the effect of dandruff tremendously. Washing your hair regularly with shampoo and keeping it moisturized is a must if you want to treat dandruff. Additionally, using shampoos with ingredients like ketoconazole may also help in treating dandruff (15).

You may be wondering how long it will take for you to see the effects of these treatments. Find out in the next section!

How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Dandruff?

It may take around 6 to 7 weeks to see any results of the home remedies. Hence, do not get discouraged if you do not see an immediate improvement in your dandruff. Be patient and try out the remedies for a month or two. If you still do not see any improvement, you may consult a doctor.

When Should You See A Doctor?

Most of the time, dandruff does not require medical attention. However, if you see no improvement after using anti-dandruff shampoo or following home remedies, you may consult a dermatologist to figure out the root cause of your dandruff and get it treated medically.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. Now you know everything you need to know about dandruff – from causes to symptoms to a few home remedies. All these remedies are easy to follow and budget-friendly. We hope this information helps you treat your dandruff successfully!

Recommended Articles

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

    1. Seborrheic Dermatitis and Dandruff: A Comprehensive Review
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4852869/
    2. Malassezia Infections in Humans and Animals: Pathophysiology, Detection, and Treatment
      https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1004523
    3. Dandruff as a potential source of DNA in forensic casework
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9670516/
    4. A New Postulate on Two Stages of Dandruff: A Clinical Perspective
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3129121/
    5. Seborrheic dermatitis
      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-3083.2004.00693.x
    6. Malassezia, dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis: an overview
      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2133.2011.10570.x
    7. Stress Damages Immune System and Health
      https://www.discoverymedicine.com/Ronald-Glaser/2009/07/18/stress-damages-immune-system-and-health/
    8. Dandruff, Cradle Cap, and Other Scalp Conditions
      https://medlineplus.gov/dandruffcradlecapandotherscalpconditions.html
    9. Comparison of the apple vinegar with other chelating solutions on smear layer and calcium ions removal from the root canal
      https://www.ijdr.in/article.asp?issn=0970-9290;year=2014;volume=25;issue=3;spage=370;epage=374;aulast=Kirchhoff
    10. Growth inhibition of a phytopathogenic fungus, Colletotrichum species by acetic acid
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14717453/
    11. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16418522/v
    12. A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15724344/
    13. The Review on Properties of Aloe Vera in Healing of Cutaneous Wounds
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4452276/
    14. [Modern management of dandruff]
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16617752/
    15. Successful treatment and prophylaxis of scalp seborrhoeic dermatitis and dandruff with 2% ketoconazole shampoo: results of a multicentre, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled trial
      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2133.1995.tb08680.x
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Anjali Sayee is a writer and an introvert. From studying Aeronautical Engineering and wanting to design her own airplane to writing articles on hairstyles, she has been on quite a journey. She believes that hair is one of the key factors that define a woman’s personality. To quote her, “What’s the first thing they do in the movies to show a personality change? Change the hair – because it has a life of its own.” She’s here to help you find the hairstyle you need. This bookworm is a self-professed Wholocker, a talented drummer, and an amateur photographer.