We think of dandruff as the white flakes we see on our shoulders sometimes. But what is it, really?
- 1Dandruff is a common skin problem that can cause scalp scaliness, flakiness, itching, or redness. It can flare up when the weather changes, especially in winter, and during stressful times.
- 2If you're having a lot of redness and irritation, your doctor may call it seborrheic dermatitis. But when the condition is mild, it's usually called dandruff.
- 3A flaky scalp may lead you to think dandruff is caused by dry skin. But actually, dandruff has more to do with your skin producing too much oil.
- 4The specific cause of dandruff isn’t known, but dandruff is an inflammatory condition. That means it's related to the ways your body reacts to things and tries to protect itself.
- 5The symptoms may be a response to something that's living on your skin, like the yeast malassezia. Most people have malassezia on their skin. Some people just react differently to it.
- 6Your diet can affect your dandruff. Some antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods may help. Try foods high in vitamin B, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids like fruits and vegetables, fish, and multivitamins.
- 7Most people who have dandruff are otherwise healthy. But there are a few medical conditions that can make people more likely to have dandruff. These include HIV, Parkinson's disease, and Down syndrome.
- 8Dandruff is very treatable. If you have trouble managing your symptoms, call a dermatologist for help.