5 Common Misconceptions About Dandruff That Might Surprise You

Dandruff is an extremely common problem that has a wide range of causes making it sometimes difficult to find the right treatment. Dandruff is harmless but it can affect your self-esteem and lead to a lack of self-confidence. 

Before we debunk common myths about dandruff, we should know the meaning of it and its causes. So, dandruff is a condition in which the scalp becomes itchy and irritated leading to white bits in your hair. Mild dandruff can be provoked by lots of things, from kin dryness to allergic reaction to hair products. 

However, if dandruff is severe it might be provoked by a chronic skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis that might be partially caused by yeast overgrowth or hormone fluctuations.

Some people are sensitive to a yeast Malassezia furfur that naturally lives on the scalp. This type of fungus is a harmless part of the scalp, however if it starts to overgrow, it can cause an inflammatory response that provokes dandruff.

Dandruff can also be hereditary and it actually tends to run in families. Other skin problems such as eczema, contact dermatitis, and scalp psoriasis, can cause white flakes similar to those that occur in dandruff. So, let’s look at the most common misconceptions about dandruff:

1. Those who have dandruff should wash their hair less often 

Many people believe that they have dandruff because of a dry scalp and therefore start to wash their hair less often. However it doesn't matter if your dandruff is due to dryness or oiliness, you still need to wash your hair pretty regularly to rinse away the flakes on your scalp.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) explains, the best way to get rid of dandruff is to use an over-the-counter shampoo. It’s important to use the regular shampoo daily and swap in the anti-dandruff shampoo twice a week.

2. Oil treatment will make dandruff better

Hot oil treatment for dandruff involves applying warm coconut or olive oil directly to the scalp. This might help moisturize the scalp if it’s dry. However, the most common cause of dandruff is oily skin, and therefore using oil will only worsen your dandruff and provoke irritation.

3. Dandruff doesn’t impact hair growth

Although there isn’t a lot of research on this topic, dermatologists suggest that while dandruff doesn’t provoke hair loss directly, it is connected with hair loss. This especially true for people who are experiencing some level of hair thinning or loss. 

4. All flakes indicate dandruff

There are lots of health issues that can lead to dandruff-like flaking. If you have flakes on your scalp or in your hair, it might be due to one of the following:

  • Contact dermatitis. This is a reaction to certain things or substances that can either irritate your skin or cause allergy. Contact dermatitis can lead to a red rash that might itch, burn, swell, itchy, dry, and flaking. 
  • Seborrheic dermatitis. This is another common culprit of dandruff and flaking of the skin. It’s characterized by a swollen, red, greasy rash that can cause white or yellow flakes.
  • Eczema. This is a general term that describes a few different conditions. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis that leads to dry, red, itchy patches of skin that can flake. 
  • Scalp psoriasis. Psoriasis is another possible cause of flaking, but it looks a little different. This is an autoimmune disease that provokes scaly white patches of skin that can also itch and flake. When it occurs on your scalp, it can lead to itching, dryness, bleeding, burning, and soreness.

5. Dandruff is always the result of dry scalp

Dandruff can occur only if your skin is dry and you’re experiencing a contact dermatitis reaction that actually provokes dry skin as well as flaking, itchiness, and even skin peeling. However, oily scalp is the most common cause of dandruff. Malassezia yeast that normally lives on your scalp feeds on skin oil, and it starts to overgrow when there’s more oil present.

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