Dandruff Causes and Cures

Dandruff is very common, very stubborn and very irritating! Whether it’s causing your scalp to itch excessively or showing up on your clothes on a night out, it’s not a condition that any of us envy!

Dandruff is a condition which litters the hair with white flakes which are highly noticeable when they appear on dark clothing. Even babies can suffer with dandruff, referred to as cradle cap. Dandruff can render the scalp itchy, dry and irritating. Excessive itching can cause the scalp to bleed. Fortunately, dandruff has no serious consequences and it isn’t damaging in any way but it is physically and aesthetically irritating and notoriously hard to beat!

So what causes dandruff?

There are many causes of dandruff so it’s important to find out the source for your concerns. The skin is constantly making new skin cells whilst eradicating older cells. If this process is too speedy, then dandruff can occur as the scalp sheds the old skin cells.

Other causes of dandruff include psoriasis, which causes red, scaly, crusty patches which itch a lot and bleed. Seborrheic dermatisis is a very common condition which is triggered by too much yeast on the skin. Tinea capitis is a fungal infection that occurs on the scalp. Eczema is another common ailment that can trigger dandruff. Allergic contact dermatitis is a reaction to any products that a person uses on their scalp including hairspray, gel, mousse or hair dye. It can also occur if shampoo or conditioner comes into contact with the scalp and is not washed out.

It’s important to note that poor hygiene is not a trigger for dandruff. There are many causes (even weather, sweat and stress!).

How to Treat Dandruff

If you are afflicted with dandruff, you’ll want to invest in a shampoo specifically designed for the treatment of dandruff. You can purchase such products at any supermarket but for stronger solutions, you may want a prescription from your GP or to go to a pharmacy.

The following ingredients are known to sooth dandruff:

·        zinc pyrithione

·        salicylic acid

·        selenium sulphide (or selenium sulfide)

·        ketoconazole

·        coal tar


It is important to leave anti-dandruff shampoos in for several minutes (often 3-5). Some shampoos advise you to use twice per wash to make sure the shampoo works.

If you find that your shampoo regime is not helping, book an appointment with your GP for a more intense solution.