Can dandruff cause hair loss? To know if this annoying skin condition is to blame for your hair loss, read up on this FAQ.
In this article:
- What Is Dandruff?
- What Causes Dandruff?
- What’s the Difference Between Dandruff and Dry Scalp?
- Does Dandruff Cause Hair Loss?
- How Does Dandruff Affect Hair Growth?
- Does Hair Loss from Dandruff Grow Back?
- Can Dandruff Go Away on Its Own?
- How Do You Prevent Dandruff and Hair Loss?
Does Dandruff Cause Hair Loss?
What Is Dandruff?
Dandruff is a skin condition that causes your scalp to become itchy and flaky. This skin problem is neither dangerous nor contagious, but it can be embarrassing.
What Causes Dandruff?
There are several causes of dandruff. Some of these include:
- An irritated and oily scalp (seborrheic dermatitis)
- Malassezia, a fungus that feeds on oils on the scalp
- Not shampooing enough
- Sensitivity to hair products
- Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema
- Dry air and climate change
- Other environmental factors
Trivia: A dandruff-afflicted scalp suffers more protein and cuticle damage than a healthy scalp.
What’s the Difference Between Dandruff and Dry Scalp?
While both conditions cause scalp flakiness, dry scalp happens when your skin doesn’t have enough moisture. If you have a dry scalp, the skin on other parts of your body will also be dry.
You can tell the difference between flakes from dandruff and dry scalp from their appearance. Flakes from dry scalp look small, crusty, and scaly, while dandruff has large, oily flakes that look either yellow or white.
Does Dandruff Cause Hair Loss?
Dr. Ralph M Trüeb stated in a study conducted that dandruff causes some degree of temporary hair loss. This hair loss is due to oxidative stress.
Oxidative Stress Definition: The inability of your skin cells to repair the damage because of an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in the body.
However, permanent hair loss from dandruff is rare. It only happens if the dandruff is severe and left untreated for long periods.
If you have baldness-causing conditions like androgenic alopecia, dandruff can further increase hair loss.
How Does Dandruff Affect Hair Growth?
A chronic dandruff damages the stratum corneum (SC). Damaged SC may lead to other skin disorders.
What is stratum corneum? It is the outermost layer of the skin. SC functions as the primary barrier of the body and the environment. It protects the underlying tissues not only from harmful chemicals but also from dehydration and infection.
Does Hair Loss from Dandruff Grow Back?
It depends on what’s causing your dandruff in the first place. If you treat the cause of dandruff, your hair will grow back.
RELATED: 7 Ways To Prevent Hair Loss
Can Dandruff Go Away on Its Own?
When it is already a chronic condition, dandruff won’t go away on its own. You can, on the other hand, manage your skin problem and minimize its effects.
How Do You Prevent Dandruff and Hair Loss?
To keep hair loss from happening, you need to treat the underlying causes. It is also important to address the itchiness because it reduces the need to scratch your head that may cause further damage to hair follicles. Follow these tips:
1. Get Some Sunlight
A little bit of sun is good for your scalp. Just make sure to put on sunscreen before going outside to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
2. Add Moisture to Your Scalp
Hydrating and moisturizing your scalp is as important as doing it to the rest of your body. This is vital if you use medicated shampoos with salicylic acid. This ingredient may dry your scalp with regular use.
For a natural remedy, you can use coconut oil, which is known for its antifungal properties, similar to ketoconazole. Massage your scalp with coconut oil before rinsing it out.
However, don’t use any oils if you think seborrheic dermatitis is the cause of dandruff. The excess oil makes the condition even worse.
3. Use Medicated Shampoo
Try some medicated shampoos to help control your dandruff. Check for shampoos with any of these ingredients:
- pyrithione zinc
- selenium sulfide
- salicylic acid
For mild dandruff, you need to use them for a shorter period. For dyed (light-colored) or bleached hair, avoid selenium sulfide as it can discolor your hair.
4. Shampoo Your Hair Often
For people who have oily hair, shampooing more often keeps dandruff at bay. If you have been following the suggested shampooing schedule of every 2-3 days, you may want to try changing it to once a day.
Massage your scalp gently to loosen the flakes off, then rinse thoroughly.
5. Avoid Harsh Hair Products
A lot of hair products contain ingredients like preservatives and fragrances that irritate your scalp. This can cause contact dermatitis.
Other ingredients that can be harsh on the scalp include:
Some use these types of products for a long time before a reaction happens. Consider changing products if you observe your dandruff is getting worse.
6. Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress can wreak havoc to the immune system. This makes the scalp more responsive to Malassezia.
Try to relieve stress with relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation and yoga. Short walks and deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress, too.
7. See a Dermatologist
If you’re not sure what’s causing your dandruff, talk to a doctor or dermatologist. They help find out what causes your dandruff.
They can also check for signs of underlying issues like:
- dry scalp
- contact dermatitis
- seborrheic dermatitis
Remember to bring any new hair product or medicated shampoo you used on your scalp on the day of your appointment, so they can determine if that can be one of the causes.
Seeing your dermatologist for a thorough checkup is important, especially if:
- Your dandruff persists after using the medicated shampoo for a longer period.
- You notice inflammation occurs in your scalp.
You might need a steroid lotion or prescription-grade shampoo to manage your condition.
Dandruff is not the cause of baldness. Sometimes, temporary hair loss may occur because of damaged hair follicles as a result of aggressive scratching on your head.
Once you learn the cause of your dandruff (whether on your own or with your dermatologist’s help), hair loss should resolve quickly.
Have you had dandruff hair loss? What remedies helped you stop dandruff in its tracks? Let us know in the comments below.