Dandruff:
Just the Facts, Please

One in every two people experience dandruff at some point in their lives.1 Still, many myths around the skin condition remain. Here are seven myth-busting facts to better understand dandruff—from its causes to its impact. Plus, learn tips to help you combat all your symptoms quickly and protect you from future outbreaks.

Myth 1: Dandruff only affects you on the outside.

Fact: People with persistent dandruff report insecurity, low confidence in social interactions, and even anxiety and a sense of helplessness.2 The stress of dandruff can actually trigger more dandruff, creating a vicious cycle.3 The good news: you can still fight it. The NEW Head & Shoulders Clinical Dandruff Defense Collections offer up to 100% dandruff protection. The collections also relieve the white flakes and red, itchy scalp associated with dandruff. They include dermatologist-tested shampoos and shampoo + conditioner 2-in-1 combos that are powered by the prescription-strength ingredient 1% selenium sulfide. This trusted anti-dandruff agent, with 35% more dandruff-fighting power,* helps relieve your symptoms so you can focus on the things that matter.

Myth 2: A dry or oily scalp causes dandruff.

Fact: A dry scalp is a symptom, rather than a cause, of dandruff. Your dandruff is likely caused by your skin’s overreaction to Malassezia, a fungus on everyone’s scalp. Malassezia feeds off sebum, a natural oil produced by your scalp, which creates oleic acid. One in two people are sensitive to oleic acid, and their scalp responds by becoming irritated and shedding skin—thus causing the flakes associated with dandruff.4 Zinc pyrithione and selenium sulfide treat dandruff by eliminating excess Malassezia.5

Myth 3: Everyone experiences dandruff the same way.

Fact: People with dandruff experience a range of symptoms—e.g., flakes, itchiness, dryness, and oiliness—and levels of irritation, from mild to intense. The Head & Shoulders Clinical Dandruff Defense Collections offer eight products that treat dandruff at the source and target specific symptoms:

  • For itchiness: Intensive Itch Relief—a shampoo, a shampoo + conditioner 2-in-1, and a scalp mist infused with cooling menthol.
  • For excess oil: Advanced Oil Control—an anti-dandruff shampoo and a shampoo + conditioner 2-in-1 combo infused with refreshing citrus.
  • For dry scalp: Dry Scalp Rescue—an anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner, and a moisturizing scalp cream infused with manuka honey.
*Flakes and itch associated with dandruff
Find out more about dandruff protection.

Myth 4: Dandruff indicates poor hygiene.

Fact: Poor hygiene does not cause dandruff. If you don’t use a dermatologist-recommended anti-dandruff shampoo containing the ingredients zinc pyrithione or 1% selenium sulfide, you may continue to experience a flaky, itchy, and irritated scalp even with proper hygiene.6 Consistency is also essential. Make sure you use your anti-dandruff shampoo regularly to treat and prevent your dandruff from recurring.7

Myth 5: Washing your hair too often causes dandruff.

Fact: The opposite is true. Your dandruff is likely caused by your scalp’s sensitivity to Malassezia. Washing your hair infrequently can contribute to the buildup of sebum, on which Malassezia thrives.8 Regularly washing your hair with an anti-dandruff shampoo can help keep your hair healthy and your scalp free of flakes, itchiness, and dryness. Between washes, try the Head & Shoulders Clinical Dandruff Defense Collections’ out-of-shower products, including the scalp mist to ease itchiness and the moisturizing cream to hydrate the scalp and protect against dryness.

Myth 6: It doesn’t matter which conditioner I use for my dandruff.

Fact: Though conditioners keep hair silky and smooth, they can wash away the active ingredients in your anti-dandruff shampoo, which continue to work even after you step out of the shower.9 Using a non-anti-dandruff conditioner after a Head & Shoulders shampoo removes up to 50% of the zinc pyrithione from your scalp and decreases the efficacy of the shampoo. To avoid this, try the Head & Shoulders Clinical Dandruff Defense Dry Scalp Rescue conditioner infused with manuka honey.

Myth 7: All anti-dandruff products are created equal.

Fact: Anti-dandruff products vary in how they treat this scalp condition and how they leave your hair looking and feeling. Depending on the level of treatment you need, the most important thing to look for in your products is the active ingredient, such as zinc pyrithione or the powerful dandruff-fighting 1% selenium sulfide, which get to the root of the problem by attacking the dandruff-causing microbe Malassezia.10 The Head & Shoulders Clinical Dandruff Defense Collections not only offer products to treat and protect your scalp from dandruff, but they also leave your hair looking healthy and smelling fresh.

Visible flakes; with regular use; excluding scalp cream

Flaking with H&S Clinical shampoo vs. prescription dandruff shampoo with 2% ketoconazole

* Fights Malassezia after 1 wash with H&S Clinical shampoo vs ordinary anti-dandruff shampoos

*Flakes and itch associated with dandruff
Find out more about dandruff protection.