Dandruff is a common scalp condition that affects more than 50% of the population and is characterized by visible white flakes in your hair
Contrary to some common myths, it’s not caused by poor hygiene – the two factors that cause it are found on everyone whether they wash every day or not.
It’s caused by a naturally occurring microbe, Malassezia globosa, which is present on everyone’s scalp. Here’s how it works:
- Oleic acid is produced as Malassezia globosa breaks down the scalp oils in your hair
- Your scalp becomes irritated if you’re sensitive to oleic acid – around 50% of the population are – leading to itching, dryness and redness
- Your skin cells renew quicker than before as they respond to the irritation by increasing their turnover rate
- The excess skin cells form visible clumps which appear as white flakes in your hair and on your scalp – these flakes are the main symptom of dandruff
There are also a number of different factors which can exacerbate a dandruff problem or make it seem worse. These include:
These don’t cause the problem, but can make it seem worse at certain times of the year or when doing particular activities like sports.
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