Dandruff can be so annoying! It can stop you from wearing dark clothes altogether, can make you feel incredibly self-conscious about your appearance, and have I mentioned the itchiness yet?

No, dandruff is definitely no fun! But how can you get rid of it? To find the right remedy for our flaky scalp, we first need to understand the cause of it.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

What is dandruff caused by?

Wouldn’t it be easy if dandruff was a sickness itself? Then we could just have one blanket thing to fight it! But, unfortunately, dandruff is a symptom. For what? Well, that depends…

Let’s look at the three most common causes of dandruff!

  1. Your sebum: Sebum is what we call the oils secreted from your skin.
  2. A fungus: a specific type of micro-organism, the Malassezia-yeasts
  3. Your personal sensitivity: Unfortunately, you might just have a tendency towards developing dandruff.

Dandruff & fungus

Even though it might sound less than desirable to have dandruff because of a fungus, this can actually be a good thing. Scalp issues caused by the Malassezia-yeasts are the easiest to control from the three possible scenarios.

You can basically just use products with a specific ingredient, Pyrithione zinc. We’ll look at products a little closer below when we talk about dandruff treatments.

Dandruff vs. dry scalp

Hearing that dandruff is caused by oils on the scalp can be confusing for people with a dry scalp. A dry scalp can also produce flakes, and it can definitely itch, too!

Image of a scalp with dark hair and dandruff, hands scratching the scalp

You will need to treat a dry scalp very differently though. Instead of treating it more with anti-dandruff shampoos, you’ll want to try washing it less, possibly even oiling it.

Dandruff & Hygiene

A last important note on the causes of dandruff: dandruff is not due to poor hygiene! If anyone tries to shame you about this condition, it just shows they are poorly informed. It is not your fault!

Dandruff treatment

So what can you do if you’re looking for dandruff remedies? First, check in with yourself: How bad is it, really? Does it impact your life heavily? Does the skin flaking show up even on your face, your eyebrows or around your nose?

In all of those cases, you should definitely see a dermatologist. You might suffer from seborrhoeic dermatitis, basically an advanced stage of dandruff.

If your dandruff is less severe, you can try managing it yourself with the following ideas!

Dandruff shampoo

Image of a bottle of zinc shampoo

For anyone dealing with dandruff because of these pesky little yeasts, dandruff shampoos will be very effective. As I mentioned above, there is an ingredient called “Pyrithione zinc”. This one kills all the fungi, helping you to keep the flaking in check.

Get a shampoo with pyrithione zinc here!*

Work on your oily scalp

If your dandruff is caused by a very oily scalp, the dandruff shampoo might also be a good idea. They usually contains sulfates, removing sebum and product buildup effectively.

If you are doing the curly girl method and you want to remove oils without sulfates, consider a clarifying shampoo from this list of curly girl-approved shampoos.

At the same time, you might want to look into ways to slow down your scalp’s sebum production. Or at least not aggravate it. Some of these tips for avoiding super oily hair might help!

Dandruff home remedies

If your dandruff is caused by a sensitive scalp, dandruff shampoos won’t help much. In that case, you’ll have to try various things to see what helps and what doesn’t. Luckily, there are lots of home remedies for dandruff that can actually help!

Among the things to try are coconut oil, aloe vera gel, adapting your diet to fight dandruff, and reducing stress levels. You can find the whole guide to dandruff home remedies here!

Common questions about dandruff

If you’re here, chances are you or someone close to you is struggling with dandruff. Hopefully, after reading through all of this, you have a pretty good idea of what you can do to get rid of dandruff or at least keep it in check. And to round everything up, here are answers to a few common questions about dandruff!

Does dandruff cause hair loss?

Dandruff itself doesn’t cause hair loss. However, when it’s itchy it might make you scratch, leading to injury of the scalp. This might cause hair loss. It is way more likely, though, that the condition that’s causing your dandruff is also causing your hair loss.

Is dandruff contagious?

No, fortunately, dandruff isn’t contagious. There is no need to worry that you’ll give it to someone or you’ll get it from them! If both you and the people close to you have dandruff, the more likely explanation is that your dandruff might be caused by a similar lifestyle. Maybe you use the same harsh shampoo?

Can dandruff cause acne?

Dandruff and facial acne can appear at the same time, making it look like one might be caused by the other. But it’s more likely that both of these conditions are caused by the same issue: increased oil production, leading to skin issues.

However, if your dandruff is severe, keeps falling onto your face, and making you touch and scratch your face, this will definitely worsen your skin’s condition.

And if we are talking about scalp acne, dandruff might play a role, as it can clog the pores on your scalp.

Can dandruff stop hair growth?

Dandruff itself won’t stop your hair from growing. Severe scratching of the scalp as a result of dandruff can lead to inflammation and injuries in the hair follicles though. This, in turn, might slow down or, in rare cases, even stop hair growth.

What foods help stop dandruff?

Increasing healthy fats in your diet while at the same time decreasing bad ones can help reduce your dandruff. Think flaxseeds, avocado, walnuts. But don’t expect a few snacks to stop dandruff completely. A really healthy diet like Dr Gregers Daily Dozen will be more effective over time.

Good luck with your dandruff journey!

I hope you learned something useful here. If you did, please share this with someone else!

*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.