Find Out What Causes Dandruff

What causes dandruff? We give you some answers and solutions to this hair woe.

Do you often find yourself scratching your scalp? Do you see white flakes on your dark clothes? Then, you might have dandruff. We understand how uncomfortable the itching can be. Add to that the visible white flakes that you may see on your hair or on your dark shirt. But don’t worry! We’re here to discuss what causes dandruff and what you can do to remedy this flaky situation.

Let us first learn about the common causes of dandruff. This way, we get to know how to address the root of this hair woe.

Scalp care men: Closeup shot of an Asian man touching her short black hair
One of the causes of dandruff is an overgrowth of the fungus Malassezia. Credit: Hariono Halim

1. Fungus

The presence of the fungus Malassezia on your scalp is a common hair dandruff cause. It exists on your scalp, whether you have dandruff or not. However, when there’s an overgrowth of Malassezia, or when your scalp’s natural barrier is weakened, that’s when your scalp gets irritated, and this may lead to dandruff.

“Malassezia uses sebum and other lipids in the scalp as nutrients and then converts these into waste materials that can penetrate the scalp and cause an inflammatory response,” explains Peter Bailey, Unilever’s research and development manager.

2. Oily Scalp

When you have an oily scalp, you have a higher risk of getting dandruff, as Malassezia feeds on your scalp’s sebum. An oily scalp can also lead to a more serious condition called seborrheic dermatitis. When your scalp becomes red, feels scaly, or when the itching doesn’t stop, it is best to consult a dermatologist to find the best treatment.

3. Dry Scalp

Dry scalp is an altogether different problem from dandruff. When you have a dry scalp, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get dandruff. However, a dry scalp can make the itching worse and lead to flaking.

4. Dirt and Product Residue

Shampooing your hair removes excess oil and dirt, as well as old skin and  product residue. When you don’t shampoo well, these things clog up your pores and cause irritation, which can then lead to dandruff.

1. Wash your hair with an anti-dandruff shampoo.

Asian man washing his hair with an anti-dandruff shampoo
Use an anti-dandruff shampoo to help treat and prevent dandruff. Credit: Dennie Ramon

Anti-dandruff shampoos usually have anti-fungal agents like zinc yrtithione and piroctone olamine (Octopirox) to treat the causes of dandruff. These shampoos also have keratolytic agents like salicylic acid to deal with the symptoms.

If you have recurring dandruff, use an anti-dandruff shampoo like CLEAR Cool Sport Menthol Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Men. It has piroctone olamine, which inhibits the growth of microorganisms like Malassezzia. This shampoo is also formulated with Triple Anti-Dandruff Technology, which removes, resists, and prevents the occurrence of dandruff. It penetrates deeply and gives your hair and scalp more germ-fighting power compared to regular shampoos.


2. Get some sunlight

Filipino man smiling and touching his hair wearing a black shirt outdoors
A little bit of sunlight is good for your scalp. Credit: Jisa Atrero

Sunlight can help suppress the fungus on your scalp. But don’t get too much sun exposure. A few minutes under the morning sun (before 10 a.m. when the sun is not yet too harsh) is recommended. And don’t forget to use sun protection.

3. Wash hair at the end of the day to remove product residue.

What causes dandruff: Asian man towel-drying his hair and wearing a striped shirt
Make sure no product residue clogs your pores. Credit: Hariono Halim

If you go straight to bed when you get home late, you might want to ditch this habit, especially when you used styling products throughout the day. Wash your hair to keep product residue from clogging your pores. If you’re really tired and you no longer have time for a hair wash, brush your hair to remove dirt.

Editor’s tip: Leave your scalp fresh and clean with a good hair wash using Dove Men + Care Refreshing Clean Shampoo. It has caffeine and menthol that helps in deeply cleansing your hair and scalp, washing away dirt and grease, and leaving you energized and refreshed. 

Dandruff is nothing to be afraid of, and it can be easily remedied. The important thing is you know what causes dandruff so you know how to treat it effectively.

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