Can Dandruff Really Cause Hair Fall?

Every one sheds a bit of hair everyday in your life. That’s the natural growth cycle of hair, where each hair goes through a growth stage, a resting stage and a falling stage. However, many people who suffer from dandruff complain of increased hair fall. Is this real? Is it that Dandruff causes hair fall?

While Dandruff (affecting the scalp) and Hair Loss (affecting the hair follicles) are really two very different conditions, there definitely seems to be a link between the two. While Hair loss can be caused by a number of reasons, including heredity, medical conditions etc., we cannot ignore the impact of Dandruff.

Many experts agree that though Dandruff does not directly cause hair loss, there is a significant indirect relationship between the two and more importantly, dandruff could potentially make your hair fall worse.

Evidence for the Dandruff and Hair Loss Linkage

While a lot of people talk about increased hair loss due dandruff, is there a clear evidence of correlation or is it just perception? Here are a couple of studies that do seem to suggest that dandruff and hair fall is highly interlinked.

One study observed that in two days, 100-300 hairs were shed among Dandruff Sufferers, instead of just 50-100 hairs in normal subjects (Indian Journal of Dermatology, Mr. S. Ranganathan & Mr. T Mukhopadhyay). The study also quoted that the presence of dandruff may precede telogen effluvium (hair loss in women) and may also exacerbate androgenetic alopecia (male pattern hair loss).

In another study, where actual hair counts were carried out among 22 patients, 14 saw a reduction in hair fall following reduction in dandruff. (British Journal of Dermatology, Alexanber.S)

So, yes, these studies clearly seem to point in the direction of high correlation between dandruff and hair fall.

How could Dandruff trigger increased hair loss?

There are many ways in which your dandruff condition could result in a increased rate of hair fall or breakage of hair.

  1. Increased Scratching: Itching is also one primary manifestations of dandruff. Yes, when you scratch, it does give you temporary relief, but you could be inadvertently doing actual physical damage to the scalp and hair. It could damage hair follicles, break roots and further irritate your scalp, leading to hair loss or breakage. This is what some experts call as ‘mechanical hair loss’ from the continued trauma to the hair and follicles, from itching, and is one of the primary causes.
  2. Weaker Hair Roots: Irritation and Inflammation are one of the primary outcomes of having dandruff (or in severe cases called Seborrheic Dermatitis). When this occurs, hair clearly gets weakened from the roots, resulting in hair loss.
  3. Unhealthy Scalp: Most experts agree that for you to have healthy hair, it’s very important to have a healthy scalp. If you are having Dandruff, then clearly it is a sign of an unhealthy scalp. This scalp, could lead to unhealthy hair that is more prone to fall and breakage.


So, yes, though Dandruff does not directly cause hair loss, there seems to be a very strong connection.

Treating dandruff will clearly help in limiting your hair loss. Itching is probably the first thing that you should address right away. Avoid scratching your hair.

Find the right dandruff treatment that truly works for you, not a simple shampoo that merely washes away flakes.

Do let us have your feedback and If you have ad any personal experiences, please do share with us.

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