Does Dandruff Cause Hair Loss: 9 Hidden Causes

Want to know that does dandruff cause hair loss1? Hair fall and dandruff are common problems for multiple reasons, but are these interrelated? Read till the end to know it all.

1. What is Dandruff?

Dandruff is a common condition that affects more than 50% of the population, causing the scalp skin to flake.

It isn’t contagious but can be embarrassing and hard to treat. The dead skin2 of your scalp also looks horrible.

Dandruff also leads to an itchy scalp, and itching the area often causes rashes, and intense itching causes scalp bleeding, etc.

Many people confuse dandruff with a hair problem which is the wrong perception. Dandruff is a problem to the head skin known as the scalp, and not to the hair.

Dandruff does not cause hair loss directly, and dandruff is not the sole reason for hair loss. Rather dandruff is something that assists in hair fall.

When left untreated dandruff for a long time, thick layers of scale can adhere to the scalp surface. And may sometimes trigger hair fall problems.

This severe dandruff often builds blockages in the hair follicles, troubling and resisting hair growth.

Does Dandruff Cause Hair Loss
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2. Is Dandruff Treatable/Curable?

The straightforward answer to this question is no; dandruff cannot be cured completely; however, it can be controlled.

The most effective and common way to treat dandruff and hair loss is using any anti-dandruff shampoo that washes away the dry flakes for a while as this dandruff will keep coming back, so continuous use of such shampoo is the only way.

Maintaining a hair care regime is also important for having a dandruff-free life, resulting in healthy hair follicles and growth.

But some people who use shampoo and get little benefit from it should opt for other various products or follow the recommended steps in the shampoo bottle for an effective solution.

Other than that, there are various items from DIY to market-bought products that are available in the market to apply to control and reduce these unwanted embarrassing dry flakes.

For some DIY hair packs, masks work wonder, and for some others, drugstore products work wonder; in case both fail to fulfill their duty, one must consult expert wellness professionals.

When choosing a shampoo for dandruff treatments, one must keep certain things in mind that just buying an anti-dandruff shampoo is not enough.

Certain ingredients like zinc pyrithione, tar, salicylic acid, selenium sulphide, or ketoconazole are formulated to help with dandruff only if the scalp has flaky skin conditions along with itchy scalp.

All of the ingredients mentioned above may not suit everybody due to some allergies or other skin sensitivities; for them, either they have to use medicated shampoos or herbal shampoos.

Every shampoo can claim anti-dandruff and hair loss properties, but the proclamation is not enough; for example, shampoo must not contain certain products like selenium sulphide, which is likely to kill fungus in the scalp which leads to dandruff; this shampoo can rather aid in hair fall if one does not have these fungal infections.

To know what particular dandruff one should use, one must have the knowledge of which condition he is suffering from in the first place.

Does Dandruff Cause Hair Loss
Source: Shutterstock

3. Treatments for Dandruff and Hair Loss

There are various dandruff types, including mild dandruff to severe dandruff issues, and most of them are curable and controlled through self-diagnosis and self-care.

The basic solution for dandruff is applying hair products like shampoo and coconut oil as they contain anti-fungal properties and a soothing effect.

Shampoos containing coal tar are good for dandruff prevention, but this can cause early greying of hairs; therefore, choosing alternatives like salicylic acid, ketoconazole, and zinc pyrithione may work.

If chemicals do not suit anybody due to any issues, like allergies, sensitivity, etc., one can also opt for herbal shampoos.

If simple remedies like these do not work for someone, they should seek medical advice and use the medicated shampoo.

NOTE:- Do not use medicated shampoo suggested by some unprofessional, do seek treatment from professionals only.

4. Leading Causes of Hair Loss Other Than Dandruff

One of the most prominent reasons nowadays which causes hair loss is autoimmune conditions. Yes, that is right autoimmune condition/ disorder is a major reason behind dandruff and hair loss. To know about it further let’s dig in.

4.1 Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenic alopecia is an immune system problem that can happen in both men and women, and it is often called male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness.

This disease can be chronic and last for a few years or lifelong, as it is an immune system disease that cannot be cured completely, but treatment might help in recovery.

Fun Fact – This problem is not just limited to commoners. Rather there are many celebs like Jada Pinkett Smith ( Actress), Gail Porter (TV presenter), Viola Davis ( Actress), Ricki Lake (TV presenter/ Producer), Keira Knightley ( Actress), Matt Lucas (Comedian / TV presenter), Anthony Carrigan ( Actor) are also one of the sufferers of such autoimmune condition.

4.2 Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is the result of excess oil production in the scalp; these oils feed a certain type of yeast that is present in our body, namely Malassezia.

This seborrheic dermatitis can also be a spin-off result of androgenetic alopecia, or can normally affect to anyone due to excess oil production.

Seborrheic Dermatitis (Dandruff and Cradle Cap) Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

4.3 Alopecia Areata

This autoimmune disease is when the immune system attacks the hair follicles and destroys hair follicles causing excessive hair loss, but this disease can be treated.

4.4 Scalp Psoriasis

Various autoimmune 3conditions can happen in the human body. There are a few such conditions where the body’s immune system attacks its immune system leading to several health conditions, scalp psoriasis is one of them, and this problem is related to hair.

In these disorders, cells lose their growth control and overflow the head scalp with small flakes that sometimes look silver or can also cause red raised skin patches or red, flaky rash.

4.5 Tinea Capitis

Tinea capitis is a fungal infection that causes itchy flakes and is often misunderstood as dandruff, which might cause hair loss.

4.6 Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium4 is when many hair follicles remain in the rest state rather than growing in the hair growth phase; stress and other medical conditions can cause this.

4.7 Anagen Effluvium

This kind of hair fall is only caused by cancer patients who are undergoing or receiving chemotherapy as medications; in these phases, hair completely stops growing, resulting in hair loss.

4.8 Cicatricial Alopecia

This autoimmune disease is a serious threat to anyone who is suffering from this disease, as in this condition, inflammation occurs in the scalp causing permanent hair loss due to damage to hair follicles, which permanently resist hair growth.

4.9 Contact Dermatitis

Among all of these above-suggested problems, contact dermatitis can also cause chronic/acute hair loss.

Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction on the scalp that causes blisters and burns, swelling, tenderness, patches, and red leathery skin flakes, causing intense itching and discomfort.

This allergic 5reaction can cause hair fall or Telogen effluvium; this reaction may last up to 2-4 weeks.

Soothing products like aloe vera gel and other medicated products may help cure soon. Therefore one who has such contact dermatitis should avoid such triggering products.

Examples of such triggering products are hair dye, hair spray, cosmetics, perfume, and certain plants or flowers.

These contact dermatitis can often lead to breathing issues and may damage the eyes partially if the affected area involves the eyes, etc.; if it happens anyway, one should seek medical help immediately.

5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) –

1. Is curd good for dandruff?

Curd has anti-inflammatory properties and hence acts as a natural anti-dandruff fighter. Additionally, it helps treat other scalp conditions as well.

2. Can oiling remove dandruff?

While oiling greatly benefits your hair and scalp health, it cannot directly be responsible for getting rid of dandruff.  However, it does help in avoiding dandruff as it keeps your scalp moisturized and dry scalp usually leads to dandruff. 

3. Which vitamin reduces hair fall?

Vitamin B is one of the best-known vitamins to prevent hair loss and promote hair growth. The most popular B vitamin is Biotin.


We can conclude that dandruff does not cause hair loss; rather, dandruff stimulates hair loss. Though dandruff alone does not constitute hair loss, other factors also affect hair follicles like underlying skin conditions, certain autoimmune diseases, hair care, food habits, etc.

One can generally have hair loss and might have dandruff as well, which are completely not relatable but can aid each other.

Lifestyle, habits, and stress also play a pivotal role in hair thinning. Therefore, one should manage stress, lifestyle, and food habits to achieve healthy hair.

If you liked these articles, here is something for you.

  1. Randolph, Michael, and Antonella Tosti. “Oral minoxidil treatment for hair loss: A review of efficacy and safety.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 84.3 (2021): 737-746. ↩︎
  2. Li, Xiu-Min, and Henry Ehrlich. “SHE KEPT A DUSTBUSTER BY HER BED TO COLLECT DEAD SKIN.” Treating Eczema with Traditional Chinese Medicine. 2022. 181-182. ↩︎
  3. Angum, Fariha, et al. “The prevalence of autoimmune disorders in women: a narrative review.” Cureus 12.5 (2020). ↩︎
  4. Asghar, Fahham, et al. “Telogen effluvium: a review of the literature.” Cureus 12.5 (2020). ↩︎
  5. Zhang, Yuan, Feng Lan, and Luo Zhang. “Advances and highlights in allergic rhinitis.” Allergy 76.11 (2021): 3383-3389. ↩︎

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Snehareema Roy

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