Yeasts Pityrosporum ovale are naturally found on the scalp of humans regardless of age and sex. They are the skin mites which are usually not problematic. However, factors such as seborrhoea and a dry scalp can start the problems. Pityrosporum ovale proliferate very quickly and substances released when they break down irritate the scalp. It results in skin itching, excessive flaking of the scalp, dandruff or excoriations.

You may notice that dandruff symptoms are more intensive in late autumn and winter (when you wear caps and scarfs). The scalp can become overheated and starts to produce sebum which is a perfect environment for yeasts to flourish. In summer the scalp is dry. Although UV radiation has a beneficial effect, it is important to avoid excessive sunlight. It is harmful to your health and the scalp – it can dry out and cause dandruff.

The are many causes of dandruff such as too frequent and occasional washing your hair, using inappropriate hair care products and genetic  predispositions. You should not ignore the problem of dandruff as it can lead to serious consequences. Therefore, it is important to know the dandruff type and how to treat it.

Greasy or dry dandruff?

Yeasts feed on sebum that is why when the scalp starts to produce more sebum, Pityrosporum ovale start to proliferate. This is the greasy type of dandruff where greasy flakes stick to the scalp and are difficult to remove. In addition, the scalp has a “strange” smell. In the dry dandruff type the flakes are dry, do not stick to the scalp and are easily visible. Dry skin is also very sensitive to yeasts. Even small yeast colonies can cause scalp inflammation and itching. You can also experience dry dandruff if you use inappropriate hair care products. If your scalp is dry and you use a shampoo for greasy hair (to dry out the scalp) it will cause dandruff and worsen the condition of the scalp.

Other causes of dandruff

Apart from using inappropriate hair care products dandruff can be caused by the following factors: mental illnesses, some medicines, stress, poor diet, increased level of male hormones, air pollution or high heat styling.

Can dandruff be the cause of hair loss?

Dandruff is not the cause of hair loss but accompanying seborrhea can result in dandruff. It is quite dangerous as it can cause alopecia even in young men. It can affect the forehead or top

of the head. It is very difficult to get rid of dandruff (both greasy and dry). You can stop it for a while but it can come back with worse symptoms. If anti-dandruff shampoos are not effective, consult a specialist. A doctor will arrange the appropriate tests, recommend good hair care products and treatment.

Last update: 19 October 2020

Dr Piotr Turkowski

About Dr Piotr Turkowski

Aesthetic medicine doctor, specialist and enthusiastic surgery, completing the specialization in plastic surgery. The only officially registered member of the international hair restoration surgery (ISHRS) in Warsaw, which brings together the world's best specialists in this field.

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