What Causes Dandruff?

Time and again, I get asked: What Causes Dandruff?

A lot of research has been done on the subject and there is still much debate going on as to what is the exact cause of dandruff. The truth is that since dandruff is an aggravated physiological condition, there can be multiple causes for it. Here I will provide you the result of my research and the most widely accepted theories.

The epidermis of all people continually replaces its cells, and push the old ones outwards. The life of cells on the scalp are usually over a month in a normal person, but in the case of a person susceptible to dandruff, it gets reduced to a week or even couple of days.  This results in larger flakes of greasy, scalp cells, that we usually refer to as dandruff.

The following conditions are a prerequisite to the formation of dandruff.

  • An excess of oily secretions from the scalp, known as sebaceous secretions.
  • An active presence of Malassezia globosa, a yeast.
  • Susceptible individual.

As per this article, it is estimated that there are up to 10 million Malassezia globosa fungi on average living on the head of an individual. WHOA!

The yeast feeds on triglycerides that occur in sebum, ending in a lipid byproduct oleic acid. For individuals with dandruff, the levels of the yeast increase by up to two times its normal level. When the oleic acid penetrates the top layer of the scalp epidermis, it results in an response including inflammation in susceptible individuals that result in dandruff formation.

Seasonal changes, especially the onset of colder weather and winter, as well as stress,  and suppression of the immune system can trigger the onset of dandruff.

Other opinions on what causes dandruff include:

What Causes Dandruff

  • Fatigue
  • Infrequent use of  shampoos
  • Lotions that contain alcohol
  • Acne
  • Food that is too spicy/ salty
  • Obesity

Now the last point there, is worth noting, and for someone with obesity, dandruff should be his or her last concern. Obesity is linked with numerous life threatening conditions, and I HIGHLY recommend any one who  is obese to waste no time in taking action, and getting your weight and BMI under control.

Now that you know  what causes dandruff, move on to getting rid of it. I have categorized the resources in to home remedies for dandruff, natural remedies for dandruff, and my recommended tools can be found in the toolbox. Pick one of your interest and keep reading. As I always tell my readers, there is no single universal remedy for dandruff. It depends on individuals as to how effective each method can be, but nothing can be achieved without taking action.


- Mat

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