Dandruff is not only a cosmetic problem

Skin constantly produces new skin cells and sheds old cells to help it stay healthy. Dandruff occurs when this cycle of skin renewal speeds up, causing patches of dead skin to form on the scalp, leading to white flakes in the hair.

Why does dandruff occur?

Dandruff is far more common than people think. It isn’t caused by poor hygiene but can be more noticeable without regular hair washing. Many factors can contribute to a build-up of dandruff such as stress and hair styling products, but the main causes of dandruff are:


Malassezia is a group of fungi that naturally occurs on the skin surface of humans. One of these fungi species is Malassezia furfur. The fungus needs fat to grow and can be found on sebaceous skin and hairy areas of the body such as the scalp, face, chest and back.

Tinea Capitis

Tinea capitis is a fungal infection that affects the scalp. It is sometimes also known as scalp ringworm, as it can cause a scaly, red rash. Tinea capitis can affect both adults and children but is more common in children.


Eczema is a skin condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked. Eczema can affect any part of the body, but most often affects the hands, creases of elbows and knees, face and scalp, when the scalp is affected it can lead to dandruff.


Psoriasis is a skin condition that is associated with red, flaky, patches of skin that look like they are covered with silvery scales. These patches can appear anywhere on your body but can often affect the scalp, which can cause dandruff. Psoriasis affects around 2% of people in the UK and can start at any age.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction to contact with a particular substance such as soap or detergent and usually occurs within a few hours or days of exposure to an allergen or an irritant. This reaction can cause the skin on the scalp to become red, blistered, dry and cracked.

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