Why dandruff appears in the hair: its main causes

Who has not had dandruff in the hair at some other occasion ?. In most cases there are many people who tend to see it as an aesthetic problem, and although it is true that it is not a serious condition, it can be very annoying, especially for those who suffer it habitually or commonly. So much that it can cause low self-esteem, complex and shyness.

Tends to be very visible not only in the hair itself, but when we put on a shirt, jacket or a dark-colored vest. Mainly because it is shown as white scales, which clearly stand out in dark clothes, especially when they fall on our shoulders.

Causes of dandruff

Basically It consists of a reaction of our scalp, which is irritated , causing itching, redness and dryness. This irritation tends to accelerate the renewal of skin cells, causing cells that have not yet matured to accumulate on the surface of the scalp. The result is evident: visible scales of dandruff appear.

But before discovering the causes that cause the appearance of dandruff in the hair, we must bear in mind that in order to actually appear, three elements or factors must be presented simultaneously: the presence of Malassezia globosa (a microorganism always present on the scalp), the existence of fat on the scalp (which when decomposed by the aforementioned microbe produces oleic acid, a dermo-irritant agent) and skin sensitivity to oleic acid .

These three factors are necessary for the appearance of dandruff on the scalp, but obviously also have to occur certain causes that eventually cause their appearance in our hair; that is, to influence it.


We must bear in mind in the first place that the presence of the microscopic fungus Malassezia globosa it is something absolutely normal; In fact, we all have it on our scalp, which feeds on the different fatty oils secreted by the hair follicles. In a healthy scalp, the cells tend to die and be replaced by others, something that happens once a month. It is the natural way that our scalp follows to eliminate dead cells.

The main causes of the appearance of dandruff in the hair

However, for reasons still unknown, when the fungus grows out of control causes an irritation in the skin, which is the "culprit" of the acceleration of cell renewal in the scalp. As a result, the normal process of cell turnover progresses to the point of occurring in less than two weeks, so that an indeterminate amount of dead cells begin to break off at the same time as they mix with the oil in the hair follicles. The result is evident: small groups of scales are formed that end up appearing in the hair, and then falling on the clothes.

Once we know the main cause (the excessive and uncontrolled growth of the microscopic fungus that we all have on the scalp), we must attend to other related causes that ultimately act as added factors . They are the following:

  • Stress Although you may not believe it, stress can be a cause of the appearance of dandruff, since it tends to cause hormonal disorders that influence the greater production of fat.
  • Hormonal imbalances : that cause an increase in the production of fat in the scalp.
  • Seborrhea It can be a symptom of seborrheic dermatitis, a skin disease that causes irritated, reddish and scaly skin.
  • Seasonal changes : Seasonal changes, especially cold and too dry winters, can influence the appearance of dandruff, or worsen it if it already exists.
  • Use of very strong products on the scalp : as for example very strong shampoos or hair dyes. It can also arise as a consequence of using shampoos with unbalanced pH.
  • Other diseases It can be a symptom that accompanies certain diseases, such as the case of stroke, AIDS or Parkinson's.


In most cases the causes of the appearance of dandruff are simple, so it is common that at some specific moments it appears and appears, and that at other times it disappears completely.

For example, in adolescence it is common that it arises as a consequence of the drastic changes that hormones undergo, which increases the overproduction of fat in the scalp. Seasonal changes or stress also affect, which in turn influence changes in skin sensitivity.


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