Identifying the Root Causes of Dandruff – What You Need to Know

We all have suffered from dandruff woes at some or the other point of our lives. In fact, some of us have to deal with it on a regular basis. But have you ever wondered what causes the condition, which may range from mild to severe for people?

The root causes of dandruff include but are not limited to – Seborrheic Dermatitis, Scalp Eczema or Malassezia.

Scalp Eczema

Ever noticed red, itchy skin on the scalp that irritates and causes flakes? This is a result of a condition called Scalp Eczema. One of the most common types of eczema is Seborrheic Dermatitis and dandruff is a tell-tale symptom of the same. In babies, this is called Cradle Cap.

Seborrheic Dermatitis is a skin condition. Although it mainly affects the scalp, it can also appear on your skin, which is oil-prone. This includes the face, back and chest. These areas, in turn, become greasy and covered with yellow or white flakes of dry skin that tend to itch.

Scalp Eczema is notable by skin patches that turn – flaky, itchy, greasy, oily or waxy, red and scaly, recurring blisters, lesions that ooze and so on and so forth. With repeated treatments, this long-term skin condition can be cured. However, in order to avail the best treatment, you need to consult your dermatologist.

Caused by the overproduction of sebum, Scalp Eczema triggers the overgrowth of Malassezia, which causes severe dandruff. This takes us to the next point.

Fungus Overgrowth On Scalp

One of the leading causes of dandruff is a yeast-like scalp fungus Malassezia. Present on the scalp, it tends to overgrow due to the secretion of oil on the scalp. When this happens, the fungus produces irritants that make dandruff severe.

While Malassezia is present on the scalp for everyone, there are certain triggers that lead to the overgrowth of the fungus. Some of the triggers are:

  • Adolescence: When you reach adolescence, your oil-secreting glands become active. The increased oil-secretion on the scalp leads to fungus growth, which leads to dandruff.
  • Oil-prone scalp and hair: Because it is oil-secretion that causes fungus overgrowth, people with oil-prone scalp and hair are more likely to get dandruff.
  • Lack of scalp hygiene: When you skip hair wash or don’t wash your hair frequently to remove excess oil from the scalp, chances of dandruff increases.
  • A poor diet: Itchy and flaky scalp is often a result of a diet that lacks zinc, vitamin B and essential fatty acids.
  • Stress: Believe it or not, but stress is another reason that causes dandruff and itchy scalp.
  • Chronic illness: Chronic illness is another reason, which triggers dandruff.

How can you get rid of dandruff?

Now that you know some of the root causes of dandruff, how about knowing different ways to combat it? After all, no wants to be ‘dandruff-shamed’ or wear their favorite black/other dark colored outfits without any white flakes showing on their person. Here is a list of remedies, which alleviate dandruff.

Baking Soda

A commonly found ingredient in your kitchen doubles up as a dandruff-eliminating agent. For a flake-free hair that doesn’t itch, vigorously rub a handful of baking soda on your scalp after wetting your hair. Don’t rinse it off with shampoo, but only with water. It will help in reducing dandruff-causing fungi.

Neem Leaves

Known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, Neem leaves are commonly used for treating dandruff and even prevent it. A paste of boiled Neem leaves applied to the scalp and rinsed after half an hour can do wonders in treating dandruff.

Lemon Juice and Coconut Oil

A mixture of lemon juice with coconut oil in 1:5 ratio is also said to be an effective dandruff cure. While lemon juice balances the scalp’s pH balance, coconut oil provides conditioning and has antibacterial properties.

Apple Cider Vinegar

The acidity of Apple Cider Vinegar can change the pH value of the scalp and discourages fungal growth. Apply a mix of Apple Cider Vinegar with water and spray this mixture on your scalp. Follow this by wrapping your hair in a towel and keep it on for 15 minutes to an hour before rinsing it.


Salicylic acid is the main component of Aspirin. This helps keeps the flaking of skin in condition. Grind 2 aspirins in a fine powder and mix it in your shampoo before applying it to your hair. Keep this mixture on your hair for some minutes, rinse thoroughly and reapply the shampoo.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree oil is also commonly used to alleviate severe dandruff conditions. All that you need to do is add a few drops of the oil to your favorite shampoo and rinse it off thoroughly.


Who knew that a product used for maintaining oral hygiene could also help in keeping dandruff under control! Alcohol-based mouthwash is an excellent treatment for dandruff. Apply it on your hair right after shampooing and then rinse it off. Apply conditioner and rinse it off again.

While these are some of the tried and tested home remedies for treating dandruff, you can give D’free anti-dandruff lotion a try and see for yourself the amazing results.

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