What is dandruff?

TheRoyal Spanish Academydefines dandruff as “Set of whitish scales that form on the scalp”. (1)

Also calledpityriasis capitis, it consists of an abnormal peeling of the scalp, causing small tracesof dry whitish skin to come off. This is a consequence of an increase in the speed of desquamation of the epidermis.

Note: Sometimes the diagnosis of dandruff is often confused with that of seborrheic dermatitis, because they present a similar symptomatology.

Types of dandruff

The literature reviewed shows us a variety of classifications, however, most agree on the following:


In moderate dandruff, the scales are thin, dry, gray or whitish and do not stick to the scalp, but fall to the shoulders or settle on the hair. This scale is thick, oily and yellowish, and is often accompanied by itchy skin.


It is thick, oily and yellowish, adheres to the scalp and hair, and is often accompanied by itching. It corresponds to a minor form of seborrheic dermatitis and consequently, the scalp is frequently irritated and pink.

Note: It is commonly located in areas where there is more sebum , for example, on the forehead or on the neck. Pityriasisis larger, with a yellowish color thanks to the fat, and plaques can form. This type of dandruff causes reddening of the skin in those affected.(two)


In this case, the scales are fine, greyish-white , more or less adherent, which Can Detach After Combing or spontaneously, and remain in the hair.

It is the Most common form and is not usually associated with alopecia or erythematag. People who suffer from this type of dandruff have a dry, dull and rough scalp, it is deposited in the hair, and often falls on clothing.

Cradle cap

It is relatively common in newborns and children up to three years of age, and the most common name for it is Cradle Cap or Infantile Seborrheic Dermatitis(3) which is also known as “dandruff” when it affects older children or adults.

It generates thick white or yellow scales , which form on the scalp and can sometimes appear on eyebrows, eyelashes, ears, the crease of the nose, the back of the neck, the diaper area or the armpits.

Note: Some children only have scales in a small area, while others have the entire scalp covered with scales.

It should be noted that cradle cap is not contagious nor is it an indicator of a lack of hygiene.


What produces the types of dandruff?

There are a variety of causesthat can lead to the appearance of this annoying skin condition, mainly on the scalp. We mention below the most common:


Bacterium such as Staphylococcus epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes and fungiwith a strong predominance of the malasseziagenus inhabit the surface of the scalp .

Fungi such as malassezia globosa or pityrosporum ovale , which inhabit the scalp, can feed on sebum, creating a compound called oleic acid.

This substance penetrates the upper layer of the skin and triggers a rapid detachment of epidermal cells, causing dandruff in susceptible people.

Note: An article on “Infections caused by the genus Malassezia” describes that within the infections caused by this genus, seborrheic dermatitis is found. (4)

Seborrheic and contact dermatitis

Note: An article on “Seborrheic Dermatitis: A Review” states that pityriasis steatoides is a condition of the scalp, face, chest, armpits, and groin, or generalized. (5)

Dry Skin

The cause of a dry scalp has to do with insufficient lubrication of the skin , which can cause itching, flaking, and irritation.

In this sense, the scalp, like the rest of the skin, sheds cells and dandruff occurs when this process is accelerated, knowing that dandruff flakes are actually dead skin cells.

Tiredness and stress

Excess heat and perspiration are factors that produce the ideal conditions for the malassezia genus to develop.

Likewise, stress produces changes in the hormonal balance,allowing the body to produce more sebum through the skin. This gives themalassezia globose more fat to break down increasing the possibility of of scaling.

poor hygiene

Tip: The use of anti- Dandruff Shampoo is recommended for scalp hygiene.

Treatment to eliminate types of dandruff

There are pharmacological treatments and maintenance of a healthy life, which intervene in the treatment for the control and/or elimination of this skin condition. Here are some of the most used options:

Use a special shampoo for the type of dandruff

Dandruff has its Particular characteristicsin relation to the reason that causes it. That is why it is necessary toKnow the origin of this and use the Appropriate Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for these characteristics.

Maintain proper hair hygiene

Tip: If you have a healthy scalp, the use of a mild shampoo is recommended.

Maintain a healthy diet

Eating a balanced diet is also important to mitigate the appearance of dandruff on the scalp.

It is necessary to consume foods rich in vitamin B (meat, eggs, legumes, and whole grains), as well as foods that contain sulfur, such as garlic, onions, and eggs, among others.

Sunbathe Safely

Exposing the scalp to low-intensity sun, for about 20 to 30 minutes a day, will help reduce inflammation, in case it is flaking due to dandruff.

Important: It is recommended that exposure to the sun be done in the early hours of the morning, to avoid other risks to the skin.

Controlling stress

Different psychological pathologies such as stress, anxiety and nervous tension are also a reason for the appearance of seborrheic dermatitis, which causes dandruff.

A degree work concludes that there is a relationship between stress levels and the degree of severity of seborrheic dermatitis. (7)

Avoid irritating hair products

Products that can affect the normal conditions of the epidermis of the scalp, especially irritants, Help to alleviate dandrufftag. The irritated scalp is a favorable environment for the production of this condition.

Use coconut oil, aloe vera or white vinegar

The use of Natural Medicinescan combat the appearance of dry dandruff. Coconutoilhelps hydrate the skin and prevents dryness; Similarly, theAntibacterial and Antifungal Properties of aloe vera or aloe vera could help protect against dry dandruff.

On the other hand, Apple Cider Vinegar has many benefits and is often used as a natural remedy to get rid of dry dandruff.

Key Conclusions

  • Dandruff is a non-contagious, non-serious condition.
  • It consists of an abnormal desquamation of the scalp.
  • It can be produced by stressful factors.
  • It can also be caused by inadequate scalp hygiene.
  • It can occur in various parts of the body.
  • The fungus of the genus malassezia as well as the pityrosporum orbiculare are the main responsible for the formation of oily dandruff.
  • It is a problem that can be controlled.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *