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What Causes Dandruff?

If you were thinking not washing hair regularly is the only cause of dandruff, think again. Causes of dandruff can range from uncleanliness to skin diseases. Here is detailed information on it.
Madhura Pandit
Dandruff is one of the most embarrassing conditions experienced by men and women alike. It is also one of the major hair problems. Dandruff not only leads to an itchy scalp, but, also results in falling of the flakes on clothes. This condition is chronic, and the dandruff tends to reappear frequently if not treated properly.

Reasons for Dandruff

There are several myths and misconceptions associated with dandruff, like washing hair too often, not washing hair every day, not using shampoo, having spicy food, etc. Let us see the actual reasons.


Not washing hair regularly leads to accumulation of dirt and dust in the hair which can trigger off dandruff. Similarly, increased oil production is also one of the major causes.

Skin Diseases

It can also be caused due to certain skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema. In these conditions, the skin tissues die sooner, making the skin dry and flaky.

Nutritional Deficiency

A person's diet is also responsible for dandruff. Consuming foods low in vitamins (A, B, C) leads to nutritional deficiency. Drinking less amounts of water, and consuming oily and salty foods have been linked to dandruff formation.

Hair Care

Using products containing harsh chemicals, using shampoo and other hair products not suitable to your hair type can also cause dandruff. Blow drying hair frequently or exposing hair to heat frequently (through curlers or straighteners) is another possible cause.


It can also be caused due to exposure to cold and dry weather. Exposure to extremely hot climatic conditions, heat, frequent sunlight, etc., can also lead to itchy scalp and dandruff.

Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal imbalance caused due to any reason, like the onset of puberty, abnormal functioning of glands, stress, etc., is another prominent reason. Did you know that stress can also lead to mild to severe dandruff in people?
Apart from the aforementioned, following are some possible causes.
  • Malassezia
  • Oily skin/excess oil production
  • Allergy
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Lack of sleep/rest
  • Head lice
  • Use of unclean combs/pillows
  • Sweating
  • Weakened immune system
  • Yeast infection
It is essential to get dandruff treated immediately to prevent it from reappearing again. Before looking for treatment, you should look out for the cause and try to get rid of it.
Most of the causes mentioned above can be treated effectively. Use of anti-dandruff shampoo is the best way of getting rid of dandruff temporarily. Secondly, there are several home remedies that can be used, like using tea tree oil, massaging with oil, and following proper hair care treatment. If it is caused due to psoriasis, you should consult the doctor immediately.
Lastly, you should remember that following proper methods of cleanliness and hygiene, having a proper diet, and avoiding experiments with hair care products can help in the prevention of dandruff to a great extent. Take care!