Dandruff is a condition of the scalp that causes flakes of skin to appear. It is often accompanied by itching.
The exact cause is unknown, but various factors increase the risk. It is not related to poor hygiene, but it may be more visible if a person does not wash or brush their hair often.
Flakes and an itchy, scaly scalp are the main symptoms of dandruff. White, oily flakes typically accumulate in your hair and on your shoulders and often get worse during the fall and winter months, when the air is dry.
Pinpointing the exact cause of your itchy, flaky scalp can be difficult, but here are a few common culprits:
• irritated and oily skin, a condition also known as seborrheic dermatitis (a more severe form of dandruff)
• not shampooing enough, which causes skin cells to accumulate and create flakes and itching
• yeast called malassezia, which aggravate your scalp and cause excess skin cell growth
• different personal care products may cause contact dermatitis, which makes your scalp red and itchy
Men develop dandruff more frequently than women. People who tend to have oilier hair or live with certain illnesses (such as Parkinson’s disease or HIV) are also at higher risk. You may have started to notice symptoms around puberty, but dandruff can develop at any age.