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What causes dandruff?

5288 day(s) ago

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Dandruff, that flaky, itchy –and sometimes right down embarrassing—scalp condition that afflicts approximately 50 million people in the United States, is not that hard to recognize. It manifests as white flakes that stick to your hair, dot your shoulders, and (if you itch your head) float to all kinds of different places. But the cause of dandruff? That may be a bit more difficult to recognize because there are several different conditions that may cause these flakes.

Dry Skin: The most common cause of dandruff is dry skin, and it’s not much more complicated than that. Your skin dries out during the winter and—voila—the itching and flaking start.

Poor Hair Hygiene: If you don’t wash your hair often enough (thereby washing away the daily accumulations of dead skin cells on your scalp), they can build up, mix with the oils of your hair, and start to flake off. Hello dandruff.

Contact Dermatitis: If you wash or style your hair with a product that your scalp just does not like, it will punish you by becoming irritated, itchy and flaky—a condition also known as dandruff.

Seborrheic Dermatitis: If you have this condition, which is characterized by portions of the skin that are red and oily (but covered by flaky scales), in your scalp then, obviously, you could develop a major case of dandruff.

Eczema: If you suffer from bouts of eczema, which cause skin irritations that eventually cause the skin to become scaly and itchy, a case of dandruff may not be too far away.

Psoriasis: This condition causes dead skin cells to accumulate and form silvery scales on the skin. Although most common on the elbows and the knees, psoriasis can also occur on the scalp and cause dandruff.

Malassezia: This hard-to-pronounce cause of dandruff is a fungus that can start greedily feeding off of the oil of the hair follicles. This causes scalp irritation that leads to a build up of dead skin cells that—eventually—start to flake off.

So…know that you know the causes of dandruff, what can you do about it? Sorry. My head is itching too much to answer that one!

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