About half of the adult population has experienced finding flakes on their hair at one point in their lives. Dandruff is one common scalp condition that so many have had, but so few understand. Most who have dandruff go on about their days without knowing the cause or how to properly deal with it.
There are some people, however, who might develop hair loss as a result, especially if the dandruff is severe. But is dandruff to blame for lost strands? Read on to determine the correlation between the two, dandruff’s possible causes, and some ways to prevent and treat the condition.
A Closer Look at Dandruff
Dandruff is a skin condition where one experiences flaky, itchy scalp without signs of inflammation. Those flakes or scales that fall on the shoulders are a mix of oils and dead skin. They are usually white or yellow in appearance, but it can be brown or gray for some.
Many factors can trigger dandruff. It could be one or a combination of causes such as dry skin, diet, stress, and bad reactions to some shampoos and hair products. Some misconstrue that dandruff is experienced only by those with dry scalp. But those with an oily scalp can also suffer dandruff (especially from product and debris buildup).
Can Dandruff Be Blamed for Hair Loss?
Having dandruff does directly cause hair loss, in most cases. However, those who suffer from severe dandruff might find their scalp so itchy that they might scratch it often and hard to the point of injury.
The heavy scratching may cause damage to the hair follicles. And the repeated inflammation leads to scarring, slowing, or stopping one’s hair growth. The disruption of the hair’s cycle is what causes weak or thinning hair. Although not usually permanent, aggressively twisting or brushing the scalp may make it worse. It can also further aggravate hair loss in people with androgenic alopecia (mostly known as male or female pattern baldness).
Conditions That Cause Dandruff-Like Flaking
For some, dandruff is merely caused by poor or improper hair-washing habits. These can happen from washing hair too frequently or not enough or using the wrong hair products.
For others, it could be an underlying skin condition, and several situations can cause skin flakiness or shedding. It is important to know what kind of state one is dealing with to properly treat it. One should seek to make an appointment with a doctor or dermatologist so they can better diagnose the problem.
The conditions could be one of the following:
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- It is a condition that can cause dandruff and often appears as a red, swollen, greasy rash that may have white or yellow flakes or crust. However, seborrheic dermatitis is not just limited to the scalp. One may experience flaking in the brows, beard, ears, chest, and other skin folds as well.
- Contact dermatitis
- Often triggered by something one is allergic to (or irritating the skin), this usually causes a red rash that may itch, burn, and swell. It is typically a reaction to a shampoo, conditioner, or styling product. Contact dermatitis also causes the skin to become itchy and dry that may result in peeling or flaking.
- Scalp psoriasis
- Psoriasis an autoimmune condition that often takes the appearance of thick, scaly, silvery patches of skin. While usually found in the body, the condition can also affect the scalp, making it dry and itchy, and frequently cause soreness, bleeding, and burning.
- Atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, is a condition that causes the skin to dry and have red, itchy patches that can flake. It is most often found on hands, ankles, feet, knees, and elbows. But it commonly occurs on the scalp as well.
- Fungal infections
- Tinea capitis, or ringworm, can cause an intense itching on the scalp. Some people also notice dry flakes or blisters, and the hair may fall out in clumps. Some other fungal infections can also cause dandruff symptoms and lead to hair loss. Antifungal treatments can help treat these conditions.
- Folliculitis decalvans
- It is a rare inflammatory condition that destroys the hair follicles and causes itchy red patches to develop on the scalp. Folliculitis decalvans may be mistaken as dandruff due to the itching that comes with having the condition.
- Lichen planopilaris
- This condition causes a dry, flaky rash to develop on the scalp and the hair to fall out in clumps. While the symptoms are like those of dandruff, applying dandruff treatments will not work. Lichen planopilaris is also more likely to affect women.
Prevention Tips for Dandruff-Related Hair Loss
Be sure to determine that the itching and flaking are not caused by the skin conditions mentioned. Also, make it a point to consult with a healthcare professional if dandruff (or another hair and scalp disease) is causing the hair loss.
Here are a few ways to prevent or help treat dandruff-related hair loss:
- Use a medicated shampoo
- Medicated shampoos are available to help with dandruff. These shampoos contain pyrinthione zinc, salicylic acid, ketoconazole, and selenium sulfide. Those with mild dandruff only need to use the product for a few weeks.
- Avoid harsh hair care products
- Those who are allergic to chemicals or need help with hair loss should go for an all-natural shampoo, such as our Hair Strength shampoo. It is vegan, free from sulfate, silicone, and parabens, and is safe to use for all hair types. Available for men and women, it is designed to nurture the scalp and improve the strength, thickness, and overall volume of hair.
- No matter the cause of dandruff, hydrating the scalp is essential. After shampooing, a conditioner that doesn’t weaken the hair is advised to use, such as our Hair Recovery conditioner. Like our shampoo, it is also all-natural and vegan and available for men and women. The conditioner works to enhance the hair’s protective layers, boosting its elasticity and overall strength. It also removes excessive oiliness, eliminating greasiness without drying out the strands.
Hair loss from dandruff is often not permanent, but hair growth may take some time. Establishing a good hair care routine using products with all-natural ingredients will help with healthier, fuller hair growth. These benefits should take effect within 150 days with continued use.