Dandruff is white flakes that collect and fall off your scalp. It’s a common condition prone to any hair type. If not taken care of, dandruff can worsen with time and lead to scalp inflammation and constant itching. But does dandruff also lead to hair fall? Although there’s no established direct relationship, it is known that severe dandruff can damage hair follicles leading to growth stoppage and thinning of hair. So, what exactly is the link between dandruff and hair fall? And what are the ways to prevent it? Keep reading to find out!
Types and Causes of Dandruff
- Mild Dandruff
Conditions like a dry scalp, constant stress, or an unhealthy diet can lead to the overgrowth of Malassezia fungus, which causes dandruff. Mild dandruff can also result from an allergic reaction on your scalp to certain hair products, airborne irritants, or even ultraviolet rays.
- Severe Dandruff
Severe dandruff can result from a medical condition called seborrheic dermatitis, which is a chronic skin inflammation caused by a yeast infection and hormonal changes. In this condition, the yeast is present on the scalp and lives of the sebum produced by the scalp. Dandruff occurs because of the excess production of sebum or the overgrowth of the fungus.
Can Dandruff Cause Hair Loss?
Contrary to popular belief, dandruff does not directly lead to hair loss. However, few situations could increase the chances of hair loss because of dandruff:
- Increases hair fall due to hair follicle damage caused by constant irritation and hence scratching because of dandruff.
- Clogged follicles because of irregular shampooing worsen dandruff and result in even more hair fall.
- An impaired immune system may also increase the chances of dandruff and hair loss.
What Are the Medical Conditions That Can Cause Both Dandruff and Hair Loss?
The following common medical conditions can lead to both dandruff and hair loss:
- Androgenic Alopecia:
Androgenic Alopecia is male or female pattern baldness, and people with this condition may experience increased hair fall due to dandruff.
- Scalp Psoriasis:
Scalp Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that is characterized by an overgrowth of cells on the scalp. The overgrowth of cells causes dandruff-like symptoms like itching and the development of scaly patches along with red, thickened plaques and silver-white scales.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis:
This condition causes an oily, irritated, and flaky scalp. If seborrheic dermatitis is left untreated, it can severely damage the hair follicles.
- Fungal Infections:
Fungal infections like ringworm can result in excessive itching on the scalp along with dry flakes or blisters. In a condition such as this, hair may fall out in clumps, but antifungal treatments can help solve it.
Apart from these commonly identified medical conditions, any other condition that causes irritation, itching, redness, or burning in the scalp may also lead to hair loss because of the increased scratching. However, hair loss associated with a severe case of dandruff requires a medical diagnosis.
Ways to Control Dandruff and Promote Hair Growth
Here is a list of things and prevention tips that can help control dandruff and promote hair growth:
- Hydrate and Moisturize Your Scalp:
Regardless of the underlying cause, it’s important to hydrate and moisturize your scalp. You can do this by applying coconut oil to your scalp as it has antifungal and hydrating properties that treat dandruff and promotes hair growth. However, coconut oil must be avoided if you have seborrheic dermatitis.
- Eliminate Stress Triggers:
A weak immune system, along with increased stress for a substantial period of time, can cause dandruff. In this case, yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can help reduce your stress levels.
- Switch to and maintain A Healthy Diet:
A healthy diet is important for scalp health and hair growth. So, consume food especially rich in zinc, B vitamins, and healthy fats.
- Stick to A Healthy Hair Care Routine:
If you suffer from dandruff and hair fall, you should find a hair care routine that suits you and stick to it.
- Restrict Harsh Hair Products:
Certain hair products and dyes contain bleach, detergents, or formaldehyde. These chemicals can irritate the scalp and increase the risk of contact dermatitis.
- Use medicated anti-dandruff shampoos:
Dandruff may be reduced with regular use of a medicated anti-dandruff shampoo. Shampoos with antifungal, antibiotic and antiseptic ingredients such as tea-tree oil, ketoconazole, pyrithione zinc, or salicylic acid are especially helpful in treating dandruff.
Note: Getting a diagnosis is extremely important. So, consult your dermatologist to understand the reason behind the condition and for picking the right medication and shampoo.
When it comes to using products for your hair, when you face increased dandruff and hair fall, a dermatologist should be consulted because sometimes dandruff medications may cause hair fall and vice versa.
Will Hair Loss from Dandruff Grow Back?
With proper and regular care and treatment, dandruff can be kept in check. Healthy hair practices can also boost hair growth.
Dandruff can result in itching and an inflamed scalp, but it’s not contagious. There can be various reasons for dandruff, as explained above. Dandruff does not immediately lead to hair loss. But it does damage hair follicles which then leads to increased hair fall. Before making any assumption about the situation, you must consult your dermatologist to find the root cause behind the condition and then treat it accordingly.