What Causes Dandruff

Dandruff (Seborrheic dermatitis) is a condition in which the skin looks greasy, flaky and scaly and it generally attacks the scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis is more popular as "dandruff."

What causes dandruff?

Physicians are not aware of the actual cause of dandruff. The cause may be different in infants and adults. If can often run in families. The condition appears to be pertaining to hormones, as it often surfaces in infancy and vanishes before puberty. Fungus (malassezia) could also be another reason. One other cause is neurologic disorders like epilepsy or arkinson's disease. Dandruff is not contagious.

Some of the mostly witnessed causes of dandruff may include:

Poor Hygiene/Immune System : Dandruff may be stimulated due to poor hygiene and infrequent washing and shampooing. Compromised immune system also triggers dandruff.

Micro-Organism : Dandruff is often the resultant of micro-organism (pityrosporum-ovle) which is found in our body's scalp. When exposed to dust, harsh chemicals, UV rays or hair dyes etc, it stimulates microbes leading to unhygienic residue on the scalp resulting in dandruff.

Weather Condition : Dandruff is mostly seasonal and it is most aggressive during winter season and the slightest during the summer season. Dandruff scales generally appear as small, circled, white or gray patches on the head top. Scaling may also appear anywhere on the head skin, in the hair, ear, beard or even on the eyebrows, which can also stretch to the shoulder and neck.


Yeast : Contrary to most common notion, dandruff is often an outcome of excessive oiliness of the scalp and skin not dryness. Mild dandruff is the result of overactive glands of oil. Recent studies suggest that the severe dandruff is linked with seborrheic dermatitis which is the resultant of excessive of Pityrosporum ovale, a yeast type organism present on healthy scalp in limited quantity. Enhanced scaling and oiliness increases these yeast organisms and aggravates scaling and inflammation.

Stress : Emotional stress is also a prominent cause of dandruff. Skin cells grow and eliminate rapidly and lead to dandruff, but medically its reason is not known. Some people, experiencing severe dandruff, manifest overactive sebaceous glands. The task of these glands is to provide lubrication to the skin through oils. Some others people manifest an enhanced level of the fungus Pityrosporum ovale, which is found in most individual but in excess quantity in those who are suffering with dandruff.

Other Causes of Dandruff

Other factors may also include food allergies, excessive sweating, family background, administration of alkaline soaps, and often yeast infections. Even the changing weather condition is also responsible for developing dandruff.

Treatment of Dandruff

The treatment of this disorder is on the basis of its location on the body part. The treatment is also based on the age of the sufferer.
Once your physician has diagnosed of dandruff, the general treatment comprises of antifungal shampoos, anti-inflammatory lotions, and antibacterial cleansers. Most of time, the most prominent dermatologic remedies are the fusion of treatments facilitating multiple medicated components involved at the same time. Steroid based creams and medications are generally suggested. In addition more frequent shampooing and hair wash are mostly recommended.

In case the dandruff has reached its severe stage, a fusion of ultra high-level of steroid creams, lotions, sprays, foams, and often substitute treatments are given a try. Rare severe conditions of dandruff may need short period of treatment in which oral steroids like prednisone (Deltasone, Liquid Pred, Prednicen-M, Orasone) and or some orally administered antifungal pills can be facilitated. Oral pills are only recommended for rare cases of dandruff hence it should not be used frequently on regular basis to treat mild dandruff conditions.