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9 Common Causes of Dandruff and its Best Treatment at Home

common causes of dandruff and its treatment

In this article, we will explore the various causes of dandruff and effective treatments to alleviate this condition. Dandruff, a typical scalp condition, influences a huge number of individuals around the world. Characterized by the presence of white flakes and an itchy scalp, it can be frustrating and embarrassing. 

Table of Contents

Causes of Dandruff

The common causes of dandruff are briefly described below.

Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal changes, especially during puberty or pregnancy, can trigger causes of dandruff in some individuals. Fluctuations in hormones can lead to an increase in sebum production, making the scalp more susceptible to dandruff.

Seborrheic Dermatitis also Causes Dandruff

Seborrheic dermatitis is an ongoing skin condition portrayed by red, irritated, and flaky skin. When it affects the scalp, it leads to dandruff. The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not fully understood but may involve a combination of genetics, hormones, and an overgrowth of yeast on the skin.

Malassezia Fungus One of The Most Important Causes of Dandruff

Malassezia is a type of fungus found on the scalp, and in some people, it can cause irritation and excessive cell turnover, leading to dandruff.

Dry Scalp

dry scalp lacks moisture, which can cause skin flakes to shed more easily. Dry scalp dandruff is often smaller and less oily than other types.

Sensitivity to Hair Products

Certain hair products, such as shampoos, conditioners, and hair sprays, may contain harsh chemicals that irritate the scalp and trigger causes of dandruff in susceptible individuals.

One of The Causes of Dandruff is Poor Hair Hygiene

Infrequent washing of the hair can lead to a buildup of oils, dead skin cells, and dirt on the scalp, creating an environment conducive to dandruff formation.

Weather Conditions

The cold or dry climates is also one of the causes of dandruff, the scalp may become dry, leading to flakiness.

Diet and Nutrition

A diet lacking essential nutrients, especially zinc and B vitamins, can contribute to the causes of dandruff.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can exacerbate existing skin conditions, including causes of dandruff, due to their impact on the immune system.

Signs and Symptoms of Dandruff

Dandruff is primarily characterized by:

  • White or yellowish pieces on the scalp and hair
  • Itchy scalp
  • Dry scalp
  • Red and irritated skin
  • Oily scalp and hair (in some cases)


To diagnose dandruff, a thorough examination of the scalp and hair is required. The following steps can help in diagnosing dandruff and its causes.

Scalp Examination

A dermatologist may conduct a scalp examination to assess the severity of the dandruff and rule out other scalp conditions.

Medical History

Understanding the patient’s medical history can provide insights into potential triggers and underlying causes of dandruff.

Skin Biopsy (in severe cases)

In rare and severe cases, a skin biopsy may be performed to rule out other skin conditions that mimic dandruff.

Effective Treatments for Dandruff

The good news is that dandruff can be managed and treated with various approaches, ranging from simple home remedies to specialized products and medical interventions. we will explore some of the most common and effective methods to combat this condition and restore a healthy scalp.

Medicated Shampoos

Over-the-counter medicated shampoos containing ingredients like zinc pyrithione, ketoconazole, or selenium sulfide can effectively reduce dandruff and soothe an itchy scalp.

Antifungal Treatments

Antifungal creams or lotions may be prescribed in cases of dandruff caused by yeast overgrowth.

Natural Remedies

For those looking for more natural alternatives, there are several home remedies that may alleviate dandruff symptoms. Tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, and coconut oil are some examples of natural remedies that possess anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Tea Tree Oil

Nature’s Anti-Dandruff Solution

Tea tree oil possesses powerful antifungal properties that help combat the yeast responsible for dandruff. When diluted with a carrier oil, it can be massaged onto the scalp for relief.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is renowned for its nourishing properties. Massaging warm coconut oil into the scalp and leaving it overnight can moisturize the scalp and reduce dandruff.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera’s soothing and anti-inflammatory properties can provide relief from itching and irritation associated with dandruff. Its moisturizing effect also helps combat dryness.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar restores the scalp’s pH balance, creating an inhospitable environment for yeast growth. Mixing it with water and using it as a rinse can be beneficial.

Baking Soda

Baking soda’s exfoliating properties help remove dead skin cells and reduce dandruff. It can be used as a gentle scrub on the scalp.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice’s acidic nature acts as a natural antimicrobial, effectively controlling dandruff-causing yeast. Applying fresh lemon juice to the scalp can work wonders.

Neem Leaves

Neem leaves have been utilized for quite a long time in conventional medication for their antifungal and antibacterial properties. Boiling neem leaves and using the water as a rinse can fight dandruff.

Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds are rich in nutrients that nourish the scalp and strengthen hair follicles, helping to control dandruff.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil not only stimulates hair growth but also helps alleviate dandruff by soothing the scalp and reducing inflammation.

Olive Oil

Olive oil’s moisturizing properties make it an excellent choice for deep conditioning the scalp, reducing flakiness and itching.

Tea Rinse

Herbal teas like chamomile and green tea can be used as scalp rinses to soothe irritation and reduce dandruff.

Embracing natural remedies for dandruff can be an effective and gentle approach to maintaining a healthy scalp. Whether it’s using tea tree oil’s antifungal properties, coconut oil’s nourishment, or aloe vera’s soothing effects, there are plenty of options to choose from. Remember that consistency is the key, and results may vary depending on individual factors. It is good to perform a patch test before using any new remedy to avoid potential adverse reactions.

Preventing Dandruff

there are several ways to prevent dandruff. Here are some tips:

Balanced Diet

Maintaining a balanced diet that includes essential nutrients is crucial for promoting a healthy scalp and reducing the risk of dandruff. A well-rounded diet provides the necessary vitamins and minerals that contribute to scalp health and overall hair condition.

Certain nutrients play significant roles in scalp health:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Found in fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, omega-3 fatty acids nourish the scalp, reducing inflammation and dryness.

Vitamin A

This vitamin aids in the production of sebum, which moisturizes the scalp. Food varieties like yams, carrots, and mixed greens are plentiful in vitamin A.

Vitamin C

Present in citrus fruits, berries, and bell peppers, vitamin C supports collagen production, which is essential for maintaining the scalp’s structure and health.

Biotin (Vitamin B7)

Biotin helps strengthen hair and can be found in eggs, nuts, and whole grains.


Foods like oysters, nuts, and seeds contain zinc, which is crucial for a healthy scalp and hair growth.


Iron-rich foods like lean meats, beans, and spinach support hair follicles and prevent hair loss due to iron deficiency.


Hair is composed mainly of protein, so consuming enough protein-rich foods like lean meats, legumes, and dairy products supports hair and scalp health.

Vitamin E

Nuts, seeds, and leafy greens are good sources of vitamin E, which promotes blood circulation in the scalp, aiding in nutrient delivery.


Found in Brazil nuts, fish, and whole grains, selenium helps maintain a healthy scalp and reduces causes of dandruff.

Avoiding Harsh Hair Products

Look for a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo that is specifically formulated for sensitive or dry scalps. Harsh hair products can strip the scalp of its natural oils and disrupt the balance, leading to dryness, irritation, and ultimately dandruff.

Keeping the Scalp Hydrated

Dandruff is in many cases brought about by a mix of elements, including a dry scalp and the excess of a yeast-like growth called Malassezia. When the scalp becomes too dry, it can lead to flakiness and itching, which contribute to the formation of dandruff. Using a moisturizing conditioner can prevent the scalp from becoming dry and flaky.

Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Dandruff

Making some lifestyle changes can help reduce causes of dandruff and improve the overall health of your hair and scalp. Here are some recommendations.

Daily Hair Care Routine

Adopting a daily hair care routine that includes gentle scalp massages can improve blood circulation and reduce dandruff.

Regular Haircuts

Trimming the hair regularly prevents split ends, which can contribute to scalp dryness and dandruff.

Choosing the Right Hair Products

Selecting hair products suitable for your scalp type can prevent irritation and causes of dandruff. Determine whether you have an oily, dry, or combination scalp. This will help you find products formulated for your specific scalp condition. Seek products that contain active ingredients known to combat dandruff.

Stress Management Techniques

Incorporating stress-reduction techniques into daily life can promote a healthier scalp. High-stress levels can lead to increased hair shedding and hair loss. By managing stress through techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga, you can reduce the impact of stress on your hair health.

Head and Scalp Massages Reduces Causes of Dandruff

While massage can offer various benefits for scalp and hair health, it is important to note that dandruff is primarily caused by a fungal infection called Malassezia or seborrheic dermatitis. Massage alone may not be a direct cure for it, but it can complement other treatments and promote overall scalp health. Regular head and scalp massages can stimulate oil production and reduce flakiness.

When to Seek Professional Help

While mild dandruff can often be managed with over-the-counter shampoos and home remedies, certain situations may warrant a visit to a healthcare professional or dermatologist. Here are some instances when seeking professional help is recommended.

Persistent Dandruff

If you are experiencing persistent dandruff that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter treatments or natural remedies, it may be time to seek professional help.

Severe Itching and Redness

Intense itching and redness could indicate an underlying skin condition that requires medical attention.

Excessive Hair Fall

Dandruff may lead to hair fall, and if it becomes excessive, a dermatologist’s assessment is necessary.

Sores and Infections

If dandruff leads to open sores or infections on the scalp, medical attention is essential.


Dandruff is a typical scalp condition that can be overseen successfully with the right methodology. By understanding the underlying causes of dandruff and adopting the appropriate treatments and lifestyle changes, individuals can bid farewell to pesky flakes and enjoy a healthy scalp.


  1. Is dandruff contagious?

No, dandruff is not contagious. It is a result of various internal and external factors affecting the scalp.

  1. Can stress cause dandruff?

Yes, stress can worsen existing skin conditions, including dandruff, due to its impact on the immune system.

  1. Are natural remedies as effective as medicated shampoos?

Natural remedies can provide relief for mild cases of dandruff, but medicated shampoos are more effective for severe dandruff caused by specific conditions.

  1. Can I prevent dandruff with a healthy diet alone?

While a balanced diet plays a role in scalp health, other factors like hygiene and stress management are equally important in preventing dandruff.

  1. Can dandruff lead to hair loss?

In some cases, untreated or severe dandruff can contribute to hair loss, but it is not the sole cause. Consulting a dermatologist can assist with resolving the issue.

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