How to Deal with Dandruff

How to Deal with Dandruff

Dandruff, although completely harmless can often cause discomfort and embarrassment. Those little dry white flakes can be a pest to get rid of and can really make people self-conscious. I’m letting you know how you can deal with the condition to keep your scalp healthy and flake-free.

What Causes Dandruff?

Dandruff is a form of condition known as Seborrheic Dermatitis. The condition is linked to increased number of Sebaceous Glands which are responsible for producing Sebum.

Normally Sebum helps to keep your skin and hair lubricated and moisturised but in individuals who suffer from Dandruff, over-production can alter the balance to make your scalp oilier. This initiates a response to reduce the production of Sebum, resulting in a scalp which then becomes too dry and flakes, causing Dandruff.

Seborrheic Dermatitis often affects babies as well and is commonly known as Cradle Cap.  In most people, the symptoms improve few months after birth but others may continue to suffer into adulthood.

It may also be a result of a fungus known as Malassezia, which is found on everyone’s scalp naturally. However, a theory suggests that Dandruff may be due to an individual having an immune response against this fungus. It is thought that the over-production of sebum can also stimulate growth of Malessezia, which results in worsening of Dandruff.

Which Products to Use

Managing Dandruff can be made easy by making a few changes. Although you may not get rid of it completely, you can keep it under control.

There are also lots of options for helping Dandruff with shampoos and treatments you can buy today. Just be sure to read the instructions before using any products as some should only be used twice a week.

These are some of the shampoos and treatments I would recommend:

Things to Try Out

Whilst there are 4 main things I would advise anyone to consider if they are suffering with Dandruff, try to keep these in mind:

  • Dandruff is not associated with your hair but is due to the skin on your scalp.
  • Some Dermatologists believe that it could be related to skin rejuvenation problems, where skin cells grow and die too fast without maturing completely.
  • Dandruff can also be triggered by stress and changes in your lifestyle as well as when you are feeling unwell because these can all compromise your immune system.
  • Weather can make Dandruff worse in individuals especially during colder drier season.
  • Other causes include having other conditions such as Dermatitis, Psoriasis and Eczema.
  • Overuse of hair products such as hair sprays and gels may lead to worsening of Dandruff.
  • When using shampoos and treatments, try not to scratch your scalp, as this can irritate and damage the lining of your skin.
  1. Only wash your hair when it needs a wash.

    Try not to shampoo your hair daily as this will strip your hair of oils and irritate the scalp.

    Not washing your hair enough can lead to build up of oils which can also irritate the scalp and interrupt the proper sebum production.

  2. Look out for triggers.

    Keep a dairy of when your Dandruff tends to flare-up and try to make changes to avoid them.

    If using a certain hair product is leading to increase in Dandruff then eliminating that or finding an alternative can make a huge impact.

  3. Use an Anti-Dandruff shampoo.

    There are some great options on the market that are very effective in managing mild Dandruff.

    Look for shampoos that contain Zinc Pyrithione (helps with reducing Malasesszia), Salicylic Acid (to help remove dead skin cells), Selenium Sulphide (helps with slowing down skin cell production) and Coal Tar (to slow down production of dead skin cells).

  4. Ask for medicated shampoo.

    If your symptoms have not improved, then there are few treatments available in Pharmacies or on prescription.

    These include preparations containing Ketoconazole, which is an anti-fungal that reduces Malasezzia.  If your scalp goes through flare-ups then you may also benefit from short courses of topical Corticosteroids such as Betamethasone and Cloetsol.

If your Dandruff is not being controlled with self-treatment or your scalp is starting to scab or bleed then make sure to speak to your doctor or pharmacist as treatment is more effective when symptoms can be treated early.

If you have any further questions then make sure to email me at



Resident Pharmacist

With a Masters in Pharmacy, I am here to explain the science behind the beauty. I offer expert advice on ingredients, the latest Skincare trends, lifestyle choices and any skin concerns you may have. I enjoy travelling and taking part in running events like Tough Mudder and the Colour Run. Currently loving: La Roche Posay Eau Thermal