Dandruff is something that many people struggle with, but it can be managed! Here’s what causes it and how to treat it.

Is your hair often speckled with flakes? It’s probably just a dry scalp. But, in some cases, it could be dandruff. This scalp condition affects around half of the global population and men more than women. And while it might not be contagious or dangerous, it can be damaging to the ego and be a source of embarrassment.

Contrary to popular belief, having dandruff is not a reflection of your hygiene habits. It also has nothing to do with how often, or infrequently, you wash your hair. Here’s what you need to know about this common condition and what you can do to keep your hair flake-free.

Dandruff in hair

What is dandruff?

Dandruff is the name given to a mild case of seborrheic dermatitis in adults. In babies, the same condition is known as cradle cap. Not only limited to the hair on your head, but dandruff can also occur in beards, moustaches, and eyebrows as well.

Most people who experience bouts of dandruff have flare-ups. These can be triggered by things like stress or a change of season. While this issue generally doesn’t need to be monitored by a doctor, a dermatologist can offer advice on improving your scalp health and help you explore your treatment options.

What causes it?

Many people are under the impression that dandruff is linked to poor hygiene. This might be true in rare cases but, generally, it is a result of oily skin on the scalp or a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia.

People tend to develop dandruff in young adulthood. Men are also more susceptible, as are people with certain nervous-system diseases or who have a compromised immune system.

How is it treated?

While there are several options available, dandruff can be challenging to treat. In most cases, regular use of medicated shampoos and conditioners should improve the condition. Most of these are conveniently available over-the-counter and online.

While these hair products are constantly being reformulated to improve their efficacy, they also need to be used often in order to achieve and maintain results. Using them – and rinsing them out thoroughly! – two to three times a week is recommended for healthy, flake-free locks.