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What can cause dandruff?

ANSWER

Several things can cause dandruff:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis: This is oily, itchy, irritated skin that flakes off on your scalp. It also can happen with your eyebrows, groin, or chest hair.
  • Contact dermatitis: Hair-care products like shampoo, gel, or dye can irritate your scalp and cause redness, itchiness, and flakes.
  • A fungus called malassezia is a yeast that thrives on the oil on your scalp.
  • If you don’t shampoo your hair often enough, oily skin can flake off.
  • Dry skin can lead to small flakes on your scalp. You’ll probably have dry skin all over your body.
  • Male hormones: Men are more likely to get dandruff than women.
  • People whose immune systems can’t fight off diseases, for instance people who have HIV, may be more likely to get dandruff.

SOURCES:

MayoClinic.org.

American Academy of Dermatology.

National Health Service UK Choices: "Dandruff."

National Psoriasis Foundation: "Scalp Psoriasis."

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Questions and Answers About Psoriasis."

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on January 24, 2019

SOURCES:

MayoClinic.org.

American Academy of Dermatology.

National Health Service UK Choices: "Dandruff."

National Psoriasis Foundation: "Scalp Psoriasis."

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Questions and Answers About Psoriasis."

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on January 24, 2019

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Is dandruff a serious condition?

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