Can Dandruff Cause Hair Loss?

Does dandruff cause hair loss Hair Health
September 29, 2022
6 minutes Read
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Does dandruff cause hair loss? The flaky culprit isn’t fun that we know. Dandruff can take an emotional toll due to the white flakes on someone’s scalp, hair, and eyebrows. 

In an article for News Medical, Dr. Anjali Mahto was interviewed, and she revealed some telling info. 

Mahto explained that people with this condition might experience embarrassment and even avoid social interactions for fear of judgment. 

According to NIH, fifty million Americans suffer from dandruff, and individuals spend over $300 million yearly to rid themselves of it. 

But back to the million-dollar question: Can dandruff cause hair loss?

Is there a connection between dandruff and hair loss?

Firstly, dandruff, in itself, doesn’t normally lead to hair loss. 

Hair thinning, male pattern baldness, or alopecia areata can signify deeper issues, such as stress, poor nutrition, or genetics (to name a few). 

That said, dandruff and hair loss can go hand in hand. Some medical conditions and infections may cause both to occur.  

In other words, the reason for dandruff might also be the same for hair loss. 

According to a medically reviewed article in Medical News Today, some issues that induce dandruff are also associated with balding or thinning. 

Ailments that can cause both dandruff and hair loss include:

  1. Folliculitis decalvans
  2. Fungal infections
  3. Scalp psoriasis
  4. Seborrheic dermatitis
  5. Lichen planopilaris

Before we understand dandruff and hair loss better, let’s get to the issue’s root.

What is dandruff?

A common condition, dandruff, causes the head’s skin to itch and flake. On a positive note, it’s not contagious or serious. 

Furthermore, dandruff is often characterized as a milder form of seborrheic dermatitis

Most of us recognize the white flakes when we see them. However, we might not know why they’ve decided to show up. 

Possible causes for dandruff includes:

  • Irritated or dry skin
  • Malassezia (A yeast-like fungus that feeds on scalp oils)
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis 
  • Contact dermatitis (A sensitivity to hair care products)

Now, let’s tackle hair loss caused by dandruff.

Can dandruff cause hair loss?

As noted, dandruff doesn’t usually lead to hair loss.

But to play devil’s advocate, or rather, to offer a balanced perspective, dandruff hair loss can sometimes occur. 

Firstly, the itchiness associated with dandruff can lead to scratching. You may scratch your scalp so intensely that it’s harmed. 

Damage to the scalp and follicles from itching can provoke some hair loss but not complete baldness.  

Secondly, if dandruff becomes severe, it can irritate the hair follicles. Irritation may trigger tresses to stop growing or become thinner.

Hair loss caused by dandruff is usually remedied once the scalp is treated. 

Thirdly, a study titled, Revisiting Dandruff, published in the Wiley Online Journal, notes that the flakey condition can cause hair loss in individuals with androgenic alopecia, a health issue linked to female and male pattern baldness. 

Ultimately, dandruff is a sign of an unhealthy scalp, making hair weaker and more prone to damage and breakage.

Main takeaway: 

Does dandruff cause hair loss? Generally, no, it doesn’t. 

However, any health issue resulting in an itchy scalp may cause hair loss if someone scratches repeatedly or the follicles become irritated.

If you suspect that your dandruff is linked to hair loss, ensure you consult a dermatologist to check for any underlying health issues. 

How to prevent hair loss from dandruff?

Those with a history of dandruff may encounter periodic flare-ups, even after successful treatment.

Putting a stop to dandruff-related hair shedding focuses on reducing as much itching as possible.  

Minimizing scalp agitation will decrease the need to scratch, protecting hair follicles against further harm.

Below are some ways to avoid hair loss related to dandruff:

  • Wear loose hairstyles: Tight ponytails, buns, or other updos can break hair and stress the scalp and follicles. 
  • Treat flaking quickly: If you notice white flakes, use an anti-dandruff shampoo immediately. Chat with your doctor if discomfort or flaking continues. 

Should you purchase a medicated shampoo, look   

for products containing:

  • Selenium sulfide
  • Salicylic acid
  • Ketoconazole
  • Pyrinthione zinc
  • Selenium sulfide
  • Follow directions closely: When using an at-home anti-dandruff treatment, ensure you follow instructions to a tee. 
  • Condition: Medicated dandruff shampoo can leave your scalp dry, so it’s essential to use a conditioner to maintain moisture. Alternatively, coconut oil has been shown to hydrate the skin and act as an antifungal. Avoid using oils, though, as they might worsen seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Handle the scalp carefully: Avoid harsh styling products, rough brushing, and aggressive scratching. 
  • Shampoo regularly: Not washing your hair enough may increase the possibility of dandruff. The American Academy of Dermatology has tips on caring for your hair, including daily shampooing if you have an oily scalp. Alternatively, concentrate shampoo more on the crown and conditioner on the ends of your hair. 
  • Consult a dermatologist: Should dandruff be stubborn and not respond to specialized products, you’ll want to make a dermatologist appointment. 

Lastly, Speak to a doctor: 

If you’re experiencing hair loss, we suggest contacting a licensed, vetted physician through Ravkoo MD

To get started, download the Ravkoo Health app. Afterward, you can consult a healthcare provider to discuss hair loss in the privacy of your home. 

The Ravkoo Health app offers you a centralized location to book doctor’s appointments on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Our medical experts will direct you towards understanding the cause and possible solutions.

To sum up:

When confronted with dandruff, try not to be too hard on yourself. It’s a common condition and treatable! 

Luckily, easy-to-find anti-dandruff products are often affordable and readily available. 

Finally, other conditions can be similar to the symptoms of dandruff. So if flakes don’t disappear with store-bought remedies, get in touch with a doctor.

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