What is Dandruff?

Do your shoulders look as if you've been in a snowstorm? Are you blinded by a blizzard every time you comb your hair? Dandruff isn't a serious health problem, but it can certainly be embarrassing.


People continually shed outer layers of dead skin. When those skin cells flake off the scalp at turbo speed, you have a case of dandruff.

What causes dandruff?

Dandruff has many possible causes.

  • Overactive oil glands and seborrhoeic dermatitis–an itchy, scaly rash that can affect the face and chest as well as the scalp–cause dandruff.
  • There's evidence to suggest that dandruff is often caused by an overgrowth of a common yeast, called Pityrosporum orbiculare. The yeast feeds on skin oils–which may explain why people who have oily scalps are more susceptible to dandruff.
  • Stress is also thought to cause dandruff.

Severe dandruff

Normally, a mild case of dandruff will respond to self-treatment, so give home remedies or over-the-counter dandruff shampoos about 2 weeks to work. Consult your doctor if there's no improvement or if you have severe itching along with a red, irritated scalp. You also need a doctor's advice if you notice thick scaling, yellowish crusting or red patches along your neckline. These symptoms suggest seborrhoeic dermatitis, a condition that requires medical advice and treatment.