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dandruff on woman's shoulders; popular dandruff myths and natural remedies

5 Myths About Dandruff & Natural Solutions For Dandruff Management

Dandruff isn't a life-threatening condition. But it can still be embarrassing and difficult to manage.

The worldwide prevalence of dandruff is estimated to be 50%. In other words, half of the world's population will experience dandruff at some point in their life [1]. So if you've been trying to cope with a flaky and itchy scalp, you're not alone.

While dandruff is one of the most prevalent skin and scalp conditions in the world, there are still lots of common misconceptions and misinformation surrounding its treatment and management.

In this article, we will bust some of the most popular myths about dandruff to help you understand this skin condition better.

Table of contents: 

Myth #1: Dandruff is the Same as a Dry Scalp.

dandruff on scalp; popular dandruff myths


Although they can both result in flakes on the scalp, dandruff and a dry scalp are not the same.

Dandruff is a skin condition characterized by an overabundance of dead skin cells that flake from the scalp. There are various causes of this skin condition, which include a dry scalp, sensitivity to hair care products, and an overgrowth of the Malassezia fungus (this fungus is also thought to be responsible for seborrheic dermatitis) [2].

On the other hand, the cause of a dry scalp is the lack of enough moisture. This may be due to different reasons, such as exposure to dry air and harsh hair care products or the dehydration of the scalp.

In other words, a dry scalp can cause dandruff, but it isn't the only possible reason for dandruff. In fact, the most significant cause of dandruff is thought to be the Malassezia fungus.

Another difference between the two is the symptoms they present with. Itching is frequently present with dandruff, which can be challenging to eliminate. In contrast, itching is typically not present with a dry scalp. Additionally, oily and larger flakes are characteristic of dandruff, while a dry scalp is most commonly present with dry and smaller flakes.

Essentially, a dry scalp is a broad word that refers to a scalp that lacks moisture. Meanwhile, dandruff is a specific condition affecting the scalp that comes with excessive flaking and itching.

Myth #2: Oils can Help.

using hair oils for dandruff


Certain hair oils, such as olive oil, coconut oil, or argan oil, may not actually be helpful for dandruff. Quite the opposite, these oils may aggravate dandruff by fueling the growth of the Malassezia fungus.

Malassezia thrives on specific fatty acids and lipids, and certain hair oils may provide this fungus with the food it needs to grow and multiply. Research has shown that a higher population of the Malassezia fungus can increase the severity of dandruff [3].

Some oils may also clog the pores on the scalp and lead to further irritation.

Therefore, it's best to avoid using oils like olive oil or coconut oil on your scalp.

Myth #3: Dandruff Only Affects the Scalp.


dandruff on shoulders, dandruff may affect other body parts other than the scalp


Dandruff is commonly distinguished by yellowish or white flakes and itching. The process of shedding skin cells is accelerated in people who have dandruff, resulting in a buildup of flaky skin on the scalp. Most of the time, dandruff affects the scalp, but it can also affect other areas of the body.

This excess skin shedding may occur in other parts of the body with a high concentration of sebaceous glands, such as the face, brows, ears, and chest. Dandruff may appear in these areas as red, scaly skin.

And while it is commonly believed that dandruff is contagious, this is yet another myth. You cannot pass dandruff on to another person, and neither can you "catch dandruff" from someone else.

Myth #4: Diet Doesn't Affect Dandruff.

healthy diet, your diet may affect dandruff formation


While there aren't any concrete studies directly investigating the association between diet and dandruff, there is still some evidence that the foods you eat and avoid may affect how severe your dandruff is.

While it is a non-inflammatory condition, research has found that dandruff shows clear signs of oxidative stress [4]. This means that consuming foods that can combat oxidative stress may help manage dandruff symptoms. Most fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, especially strawberries, blackberries, plums, apricots, kale, prunes, and cranberries [5].

Meanwhile, diets high in fats, sugars, and processed foods may increase oxidative stress. Thus, they may not be the best option for a dandruff-friendly diet.

However, it is important to note that diet is only one factor that may contribute to dandruff and is not the primary cause. Dandruff is typically caused by a combination of factors, including scalp irritation, the overgrowth of Malassezia, dry skin, and sensitivity to certain hair care products.

If you are concerned about dandruff, eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods may be beneficial. This can help to improve overall skin health and may lower the risk of dandruff and improve dandruff symptoms.

Myth #5: Medicated Shampoos are a Safe Long-Term Solution.

medicated shampoo for dandruff


A variety of medicated shampoos are available to treat dandruff. These shampoos contain different active ingredients.

Medicated anti-dandruff shampoos may contain pyrithione zinc, coal tar, salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, and fluocinolone. These shampoos may effectively control dandruff, but they may also cause hair and scalp dryness or skin irritation. Some of these shampoos are available by prescription in stronger formulations.

Long-term use of a medicated anti-dandruff shampoo is generally not advised. While these shampoos can help control dandruff, they may also dry out the scalp or lead to skin irritation if used too frequently or for too long.

When using a medicated shampoo to control dandruff, it is usually best to follow the instructions from the manufacturer or your dermatologist. This could mean using the shampoo twice or three times per week and, in this case, alternating it with your regular shampoos. Some shampoos can be used every day to manage dandruff symptoms.

If you need to use a medicated shampoo more frequently or for longer periods to control your dandruff, it's best to see a dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment.

The Hidden Barrier Protecting Your Dandruff

The Malassezia fungus is lipid-dependent, meaning it feeds on external lipids. Your skin glands produce a waxy substance called sebum, serving as food and fuel for the Malassezia fungus.

As it attaches to your skin and feeds on your skin's sebum, the fungus deploys a self-defense mechanism known as the biofilm.

The Malassezia biofilm acts as a shield or barrier that protects them against drugs or medications, increasing its resistance against such treatments. The incorrect use of antifungal medicines (such as using a dose too low to do anything to the fungus) may even strengthen the biofilm.

Since Malassezia is thought to be one of the main agents responsible for dandruff, getting rid of its biofilm could help prevent dandruff formation. Hence, eliminating the Malassezia biofilm is key to clearing away the fungus and allowing your remedies and medications to control dandruff more effectively [6].

The Dermazen Calming Seborrheic Serum is one solution to getting rid of the Malassezia biofilm. This serum contains xylitol and high-quality, third-party-tested colloidal silver, both of which can help to neutralize this protective barrier. Once the biofilm is deactivated, the other active ingredients in the serum can more effectively clear away the Malassezia fungus.

Natural Remedies for Dandruff Management

apple cider vinegar for dandruff, natural remedies for dandruff


The following are some natural scalp treatments that people commonly use to help with dandruff control:

  • Tea tree oil: Due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties, tea tree oil may help to control dandruff symptoms [7]. You can incorporate a few drops of tea tree oil into your regular shampoo and use it as usual.

  • Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar helps to balance the pH of your scalp and may aid in dandruff control. Before using apple cider vinegar on your skin, ensure you dilute it. Using an undiluted formulation may lead to skin irritation or a burning sensation upon application.

  • Aloe vera: Aloe vera has moisturizing and soothing properties that may aid in the relief of irritated scalps and the reduction of dandruff. You can apply aloe vera gel directly to your scalp and rinse it off after a few minutes.

  • Baking soda: This household ingredient may aid in removing excess oil and flakes from your scalp. Wash your hair as usual after mixing a tablespoon of baking soda into your regular shampoo. While there is anecdotal evidence backing the use of baking soda for dandruff, it can still damage your hair and irritate your scalp, especially when used long-term.

It is important to note that natural solutions may not be effective for everyone, and finding a remedy that works best for you may require trial and error. Also, remember to perform a patch test before using any natural treatment for the very first time.

The Dermazen Cleansing Dandruff Shampoo is another unique solution to combatting dandruff symptoms and promoting a healthy scalp.

This holistic blend of ingredients helps to reduce itching, soothe a flaky scalp, and clear the Malassezia fungus, all while nourishing your hair follicles. Rest assured that this ingredient list does not contain fragrances, parabens, sulfates, or hard-to-pronounce chemicals!

This Cleansing Dandruff Shampoo also contains xylitol and apple cider vinegar, which help to deactivate and disrupt the Malassezia biofilm. This enables the other active ingredients in the shampoo to clear away the fungus and reduce dandruff formation more effectively.

It's due time to find relief for your scalp, and Dermazen's Cleansing Dandruff Shampoo may just be the solution you need!


Recommended Product

Calming Seborrheic Serum

This all-in-one serum clears away malassezia fungus while soothing irritated skin. Provides relief for the scalp, face, and body.

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