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Does Dandruff Cause Hair Loss? Here’s What Science Has to Say

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Do you avoid wearing black or keep your hair tied in a bun all the time because you fear those white flakes on your shoulders? We feel you! In the USA, more than 50 million people have dandruff and they spend a huge amount of money on various treatments, as dandruff not only causes embarrassment, but also makes the scalp constantly itchy and can lead to several other hair problems. But does dandruff cause hair loss? Let’s find out!

Table of Contents:

  • Does Dandruff Cause Hair Loss?
  • How Can I Remove Dandruff From My Scalp Permanently?
  • Should I Wash My Hair Every Day If I Have Dandruff?

Does Dandruff Cause Hair Loss?

How often have you thought (or complained) that it’s the dandruff that’s causing your hair to fall? Well, you will be surprised to know that dandruff does not directly cause hair loss. Dandruff and hair loss are two different hair problems that have separate causes and treatments. However, severe dandruff can have a negative impact on hair growth. Dandruff is typically believed to be caused by a fungal infection, although new research is showing that bacteria may play a role in it as well. Regardless, dandruff often turns the scalp dry and itchy and may also cause inflammation. This is why it’s sometimes hard to know the difference between seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.  Either way, you end up scratching your scalp more often and more vigorously. But, be careful – scratching can cause serious skin conditions and damage to the hair follicles, ultimately making your hair thin and weak. This impacts hair growth and you might even experience hair loss.

How Can I Remove Dandruff From My Scalp Permanently?

It might be disheartening to know that you cannot permanently get rid of dandruff. No treatment or hair product will remove dandruff from your scalp once and for all. However, you can still control dandruff. Some dry flakes and an itchy scalp are common, especially if you haven’t washed your hair for a few days, and should not worry you. However, moderate and severe cases of dandruff should be dealt with. Here are a few tips to help you prevent dandruff and provide the best hair care for your sensitive scalp:

Learn how to use hair oils

Improperly applying hair oil on dandruff-prone scalp or using the wrong oils will only make things worse. Leaving the oil on your scalp and hair for more than a couple of hours can create a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. So make sure the oils you use have antifungal and antibacterial properties and only leave them on for a short while, then shampoo as usual. 

Keep your hair brush clean

Even though this seems like a simple tip, it can make a huge difference. A dirty hair brush can’t be a part of your daily hair care. It can spread fungi and bacteria, potentially leading to scalp infections. So wash your hair brush at least once a week to keep it nice and clean.

Maintain a healthy diet

A diet low in carbs and rich in protein will help keep dandruff under control and also you might even avoid the thinning hair problem.

Should I wash my hair every day if I have dandruff? 

You might be tempted to wash your hair daily if you have dandruff. But should you be doing it? As we have already mentioned above, dandruff most commonly occurs due to excess oil and a fungi/bacteria overgrowth. To prevent this, you may shampoo more often and dry out your scalp. A better option would be to choose a shampoo that fights against dandruff. 

Now, there are many dandruff shampoos out there and they’re quite effective. However, they can leave your hair extremely dry and prone to breakage. So, if you’re only dealing with mild or moderate dandruff, you can try a more natural approach for your daily hair care routine. Here are some natural ingredients in shampoos that can efficiently work against dandruff: 

Apple Cider Vinegar

When it comes to treating dandruff and hair loss, and many other hair problems, for that matter, apple cider vinegar is the Holy Grail. Apple Cider Vinegar helps balance the natural pH of the scalp and reduces excess oil secretion. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help to control fungal and yeast infections on the scalp. Apple Cider Vinegar also works as a gentle cleanser that removes build-up from the scalp and hair. You can rinse your hair with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water (in equal parts), or you can use an Apple Cider Vinegar shampoo.

Apple Cider Vinegar shampoo


Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is another ingredient that is effective in controlling dandruff and the easiest way to use it is to get an anti-dandruff shampoo that contains it. Activated charcoal deeply cleanses the scalp and attracts all dirt and oil, thus helping in preventing fungi and bacteria overgrowth. If you have a greasy, dandruff-prone scalp, you may highly benefit from using an Activated Charcoal Shampoo. 

Activated Charcoal Shampoo


Bottom line

While a few white flakes should not worry you, as always, it is better to prevent than to treat, so opt for the best natural solutions to help keep dandruff under control and prevent it from becoming serious conditions affecting both your scalp&hair health, but also your self-esteem. 

Sneha Chugh

Sneha is a law student and works as a freelancer. She has written content for various brands including upGrad, Bewakoof and more.

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