The exact cause of dandruff, also known as scurf or Pityriasis simplex capillitii, is unknown. However, most experts agree that dandruff is not caused by poor hygiene.Dandruff is a condition of the scalp that causes flakes of skin to appear and is often accompanied by itching. In some cases, it can be embarrassing and not easy to treat.
The following are factors that may contribute to dandruff:
People with seborrheic dermatitis are very prone to dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis affects many areas of the skin, including the backs of the ears, the breastbone, eyebrows, and the sides of the nose.
The patient will have red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales.
Seborrheic dermatitis is closely linked with Malassezia, a fungus that lives on everybody’s scalp and feeds
on the oils that our hair follicles secrete. Generally it will cause no problems at all. However, it can grow out of control.
When this happens, the scalp can become irritated and produce extra skin cells. These extra skin cells die and fall off; they mix with the oil from the hair and scalp and turn into what we see as dandruff.
People who do not comb or brush their hair regularly have a slightly higher risk of having dandruff – this is because they are not aiding the shedding of skin that combing or brushing provides.
People who are sensitive to yeast have a slightly higher risk of having dandruff, so it is logical to assume that yeast may play a part. Yeast-sensitive people who get dandruff often find that it gets better during the warmer months and worse during the winter.
UVA light from the sun counteracts the yeast. Some believe that, during the winter, the skin is drier because of exposure to extreme temperatures – hot rooms and the cold air outside – making dandruff more likely.
People with dry skin tend to get dandruff more often. Winter cold air, combined with overheated rooms is a common cause of itchy, flaking skin. People with dandruff caused by dry skin tend to have small flakes of dandruff; the flakes are not oily.
Some people say that if an individual does not shampoo enough, there can be a buildup of oil and dead skin cells, causing dandruff. However, many experts doubt this is true.
People with psoriasis, eczema, and some other skin disorders tend to get dandruff more frequently than other people.
Adults with Parkinson’s disease and some other neurological illnesses are more prone to having dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.
Patients recovering from heart attacks and strokes and some people with weak immune systems may also have dandruff more often than other people.
Some people react to certain hair care products with a red, itchy, scaling scalp. Many experts say that shampooing too often may cause dandruff as it can irritate the scalp.
Some experts say that people who do not consume enough foods that contain zinc, B vitamins, and some types of fats are more prone to dandruff.
Experts believe there may be a link between stress and many skin problems.
One study found that 10.6 percent of people with HIV have seborrheic dermatitis.