What are the most common causes of dandruff? Human skin cells are always renewing themselves. As skin cells die a small amount of flaking is normal. But for people with dandruff, the new cells are produced at a faster rate than they die. Several theories suggest possible reasons why an unusually large amount of flaking is produced excessively and chronically in some individuals.
Why do I have dandruff? Possible cause #1: yeast infection
Some experts believe dandruff is caused by an overabundance of a scalp specific fungus. This fungus is called Malassezia and is also known as P. Ovale. The overgrowth of yeast is often triggered by an imbalance in environmental factors such as climate, pollution, heredity, diet, hormones, or excessive perspiration. Another factor allowing yeast overgrowth is stress. By depressing the immune system, stress can contribute in an increase of yeast proliferation and the subsequent appearance of dandruff.
Why do I have dandruff? Possible cause #2: an underlying illness
Seborrheic dermatitis (called cradle cap for babies) and psoriasis of the scalp are severe forms of dandruff. These conditions affect not only the scalp, but the skin of other parts of the body which become inflamed, flaky and itchy.
Why do I have dandruff? Possible cause #3: reactions to hair products
Dandruff can also be a manifestation of an allergic reaction to chemicals in hair gels, sprays, shampoos, conditioners and hair oils. For instance, hair-dye products contain a wide range of chemicals and almost any of these could trigger sensitivity reactions. The main culprit is usually Paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which is found in permanent hair dyes, especially those at the darker / black end of the range.
Why do I have dandruff? Possible cause #4: seasonal changes
There is some evidence climate has a significant role in the development of dandruff. The severity of dandruff sometimes fluctuate with season. For example, the yeast proliferation may worsen in winter due to cold air outside and overheated rooms inside.
Why do I have dandruff? Possible cause #5: poor diet
Studies have shown that a poor diet that is too salty, sugary or spicy and accompanied by excessive alcohol and saturated fats may exacerbate dandruff. Allergies and intolerances to dairy, seafood, high-fat foods and citrus fruits have also been associated with dandruff, as well as deficiencies in certain nutrients (like B vitamins – especially B12, zinc, omega 3).
Almost anyone can have dandruff, but certain factors can make you more susceptible: like your age or being male! Because more men have dandruff, some researchers think male hormones may play a role. Men also have larger oil-producing glands on their scalps, which can contribute to dandruff.