Dandruff and Hair Loss

Understand dandruff and hair loss

Although dandruff isn’t normally considered to be a particularly serious illness, many sufferers find the condition to be irritating and embarrassing. Often, dandruff is visible and patients may feel uncomfortable if other people are aware of their condition. Is dandruff and hair loss preventable?

What is dandruff (pityriasis simplex capillittii)?

Although there are many forms of the condition, dandruff (pityriasis simplex capillittii) is the most common. In the same way that skin on the body is shed and replaced, so too is the skin on our scalps. In most cases, this isn’t particularly noticeable and it doesn’t cause any discomfort.

However, when dandruff occurs, an unusually large amount of skin may be shed. This excess amount means that it may be more visible or be apparent on our clothes. As well as this, patients may experience some itching on their scalps as well.

While dandruff doesn’t tend to be painful, the itching can be uncomfortable and, in some cases, people may scratch their scalps and cause inflammation.

What about dandruff and hair loss?

Perhaps one of the most concerning complications of dandruff is the potential for hair loss. While some people have linked dandruff and hair loss, many people maintain that there isn’t a direct causal link between the two conditions.

Although dandruff can occur alone as a chronic condition, it can also be caused or exacerbated by other scalp conditions, such as infections or psoriasis. While you may assume that dandruff and hair loss are co-existing, you could actually be suffering from an underlying condition.

By consulting a medical professional, you can determine exactly what’s causing your dandruff and hair loss. This is important as you could inadvertently make the condition worse if you use the wrong treatment.

If you attempt to prevent dandruff and hair loss with a strong anti-dandruff shampoo, for example, the symptoms could worsen if you’re actually suffering from another condition, such as psoriasis. By obtaining a diagnosis from a dermatologist or a trichologist, you can identify exactly what’s causing your scalp condition and treat it accordingly.

How can dandruff be treated?

If your dandruff and hair loss is being caused by an underlying condition, you may need to use or take prescribed medication. If the dandruff is merely a side effect of another illness, it should clear up once this is treated.

However, if you’re simply suffering from chronic dandruff, you may want to use over-the-counter shampoos and treatments in order to reduce the severity. While there is no particular cure for dandruff, many people find that anti-dandruff shampoos are effective and reducing itching and flaking.

You may also find that rinsing your hair more thoroughly could reduce the appearance of dandruff. By using a scalp brush or massaging your scalp with your hands, you will be removing the dead skin and leaving the healthy, supple skin in place. This will reduce the amount of subsequent shedding and, therefore, reduce the visibility of flaking skin.

Are hormones the cause of dandruff?

Although no direct causal link has been found, many people believe that dandruff can occur, or be worsened, if they experience hormonal imbalances. If this is the case, you could find that obtaining treatment will also reduce dandruff and hair loss.

While our skin does tend to indicate a link to our hormones, people have reported other factors which contribute to dandruff as well. Some people find that eating rich or fatty foods results in a bad bout of dandruff, whereas others associate the condition with particular food items, such as cheese.

As our skin tends to show signs of stress, you may even find that your dandruff is being caused by psychological or emotional stress. If you’re able to remove or reduce the stressor, you could find that the condition resolves itself accordingly.

Overcoming dandruff and hair loss

While dandruff and hair loss can be worrying for many people, it’s rarely a cause for concern. Physicians can often prescribe medications for unwanted hair loss and over-the-counter shampoos can be extremely effective in treating the symptoms of dandruff.

Although dandruff does tend to be a chronic condition without a particular cure, there are plenty of treatments which can effectively reduce the shedding or flaking of skin and limit the itching associated with the condition. By finding the right individual treatment plan for the patient, the condition needn’t cause ongoing discomfort or irritation.

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Last Reviewed:
June 30, 2017
Last Updated:
October 12, 2017
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