What to Know About Dandruff

by | Feb 1, 2022 | Skin Care

What to Know About Dandruff

Most people don’t think about hair when it comes to dermatology, but actually, dermatologists can give you wise advice on how to keep both your hair and scalp healthy. 


One of the most common dermatology issues with hair is dandruff. You know those little white flakes you find in your hair or on your shoulders? Dandruff is a scalp condition in which small pieces of dry skin flake off of the scalp. If this is something that you struggle with, just know you’re not alone! Nearly 50% of the adult population has dealt with dandruff at some point in their lifetime. It’s natural for the body to shed skin in order to form new skin, so that’s exactly what is happening when you see these flakes. 


Signs and Symptoms

Dandruff is a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis. As listed by the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms may include:

  • Skin flakes on your scalp, hair, eyebrows, beard or mustache, and shoulders
  • Itchy scalp
  • Scaly, crusty scalp in infants with cradle cap


Possible Causes

While some think that dandruff is a result of poor hygiene, stress, diet, etc., that is not entirely true. Researchers are still trying to narrow down the possibilities. Here are some of the possible causes as stated by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Irritated, oily skin
  • Dry skin
  • A yeast-like fungus that feeds on oils on the scalps of most adults
  • Sensitivity to hair care products
  • Other skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema


Tips for Treating Dandruff

If you struggle with dandruff, there are some things that you can do to control it. Luckily, it is easily treatable if you’re willing to switch up your routine. Follow these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology Association:

  • Use dandruff shampoo and do scalp treatments – The best way to control this condition is by using a shampoo that contains a medication. There are many different kinds, and there are a variety of active ingredients that can be used to control your symptoms. 
  • Follow the instructions on the dandruff shampoo bottle – Be careful and aware when you are using shampoo. To get the best results, read and follow the instructions listed on the bottle. Most shampoos will advise you to leave the shampoo on your scalp for 5 minutes, however, there are some that say to rinse immediately. 
  • If you are Caucasian or Asian, shampoo daily and use dandruff shampoo twice a week – If one shampoo doesn’t bring adequate results, then try switching between two shampoos that have different active ingredients.
  • If you are African-American, only shampoo once a week using a dandruff shampoo – We suggest scheduling an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist so that they can recommend the best product for your hair type. 
  • Be careful when using a dandruff shampoo that contains coal tar – If you choose to use a tar shampoo, be cautious as it can discolor blonde, grey, or white hair. Tar shampoo also can make your scalp more sensitive to sunlight, so it’s important to wear a hat and seek shade when outside.


Closing Thoughts

In most cases, dandruff should be something that you can treat at home by yourself using these tips. If the itching or flaking gets to be too much, please give us a call at Complete Family Dermatology in Lincoln, NE. We can properly diagnose and recommend a treatment plan for your condition. Call us at 402-423-1111 to schedule an appointment! 



Dandruff, Mayo Clinic. 

How to Treat Dandruff, American Academy of Dermatology Association.

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