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Is Dandruff Contagious? Absolutely Not and the Reasons Why

Dandruff is a common condition that everyone seems to deal with, but what is it? Is dandruff contagious? And what can we do to prevent it? Read on to solve all your dandruff fears!

What Is Dandruff?

Happy person with a clean head of hair not developing dandruff

Dandruff can be a nuisance, but it is very common and completely harmless! It is a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis and is characterized by a flaky scalp, and these dandruff flakes often lead to itching and mild discomfort. The white flakes are dead skin cells that have fallen off the scalp. As a result, they can often get all over clothing and hair.

What Causes Dandruff?

Research has shown that a fungus known as Malassezia yeast is the number one cause of dandruff. It feeds on the oils that are on the scalp of adults. Sensitivity to hair care products or other medical skin problems such as psoriasis or eczema are common causes.

Although dandruff is common and almost everyone can have it, there can be several more serious underlying medical conditions. If you have symptoms such as flaky skin and an itchy scalp, seek medical assistance to help treat and solve any possible issues that may trigger dandruff.

How Do I Know If I Have Dandruff?

Itching scalp

The most common signs are an itchy scalp, white flakes, and redness. More developed dandruff can result in greasy scales that are common in infants, known as cradle cap. Although cradle cap is not itchy or painful, the scales can be challenging to remove. Cradle cap can make the skin a yellow or thick white color. If you have any of these symptoms, it is always best to seek professional medical advice.

How to Treat Dandruff?

Cleaning hair

Treating dandruff can be a bit difficult at times, but rest assured, there are plenty of solutions! To treat mild dandruff, setting a regular hygienic routine to wash and shampoo your hair is a key way to reduce the symptoms. Use a gentle shampoo and massage your scalp to reduce the oils, flakes, and skin cell buildup and get rid of dandruff.

Dandruff Home Remedies

Some common natural remedies that can be used in addition to the regular cleaning routine are adding tea tree oil, coconut oil, and aloe vera to your scalp. Each of these natural oils has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the symptoms of dandruff. However, if these are ineffective, medicated dandruff shampoo can be a good solution. Always ask for professional medical advice to see the best treatment for you.

How to Prevent Dandruff?

Clean head of hair

Poor hygiene is a common cause of dandruff but a simple solution. To prevent dandruff, wash and shampoo your hair regularly to clean any dead skin cells and eliminate oil buildup.

Maintain a good hair care routine and find hair products that work the best for you. Investigative Dermatology has found that zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide, and salicylic acid effectively treat seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) and reduce the itchy and oily flakes.

Diet is also a large factor. Studies have shown that getting enough zinc, vitamin B, and healthy fats is a good way to prevent dandruff. Further, if you have a sensitive scalp, eliminate hair styling products that may be aggravating your condition.

Does Dandruff Cause Hair Loss?

Person experiencing hair loss

No, dandruff does not cause hair loss! However, it is very itchy, which can lead to scratching, and as a result, your hair may be damaged. Dandruff will not result in baldness but make sure not to scratch!

Who Can Get Dandruff?

Almost anyone can get dandruff! It is a very common skin condition and not one to be too worried about. However, several factors can make you more prone.

Is Dandruff Only Caused by Poor Hygiene?

No, not at all! Stress is a central factor that can lead to dandruff because it causes a weakened immune system, allowing the fungus Malassezia yeast to thrive.

Age also plays a significant role as dandruff is most common in young adults to middle age. Of course, it can be a lifelong struggle, but it is less common after age 50. If you have been experiencing symptoms for a prolonged time, it is always best to get advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Dandruff can appear during hormonal changes and imbalances. This is because your hormones control your oil glands, and the increase in production of oil leads to greater Malassezia fungus and therefore, dandruff.

What Are Other Factors That Lead to Dandruff?

Dandruff is a scalp condition

Stress, age, and hormone change are some of the most common factors, but others such as genetics, illness, and certain medications can make you more susceptible to dandruff.

Is Dandruff a Fungus?

The source of dandruff is the fungus Malassezia yeast, but don’t worry. It’s not as scary as it sounds! It can be found on almost everyone’s scalp, and it breaks down oil, leaving oleic acid in its place. Too much of the Malassezia yeast causes dandruff and the problems surrounding it.

If Dandruff Is a Fungus, Is Dandruff Contagious?

No, dandruff is not contagious! It isn’t serious either, but it can be difficult to treat depending on the multiple factors mentioned previously.

When to See a Doctor for Dandruff?

Clinical and investigative dermatology to treat dandruff

Doctors can provide medical advice, a clear diagnosis, and answer all your questions! It is always best to seek medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment rather than attempting to solve it yourself without the proper knowledge.

Doctors can provide medicated shampoos and medically reviewed treatment for seborrheic dermatitis and other medical problems, skin conditions, scalp conditions, etc.

What Is the Difference Between Dry Scalp and Dandruff?

Dry scalp and dandruff can easily be mistaken for each other, and it is a common misconception that dryness leads to dandruff.

As we know, dandruff is a form of seborrheic dermatitis and is caused by excess oil that Malassezia then tries to break down, and as a result, your skin cells build up and shed.

On the other hand, dryness is a scalp condition that can lead to irritation and a sensitive flaky scalp. Although the two are similar, they have opposite causes.

Is Dandruff Only Found on Scalps?

No, dandruff can even happen on a beard, eyebrows, or anywhere you have body hair.

What Are the Best Dandruff Shampoos?

Common shampoos that can be bought at most stores include Neutrogena T Gel, Head & Shoulders, and Selsun Blue.

How Long Does Dandruff Treatment Take?

It can take several weeks to treat, even with medically reviewed dandruff shampoo, so patience is key! Shampoo regularly, follow medical advice and if change does not occur after a month, talk to your doctor about alternatives.


Clean man wondering is dandruff contagious

Dandruff is not serious or contagious and is a very common skin condition. It occurs because of excess oil and the fungus Malassezia.

It can be very uncomfortable with itching and white flakes that are hard to remove. Always seek professional advice to get the correct shampoos and treatment for you!

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