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Dandruff?? or Something Else??

We’ve all been there: a marathon styling session is almost done, you’re getting ready to step out with your significant other/girlfriends, and when you take that final look in the mirror you see it…..flakes.


You’re certainly not alone. Dandruff  is caused by a yeast-like fungus called malassezia, which actually lives on the scalps of most adults. (Source) For some people the fungus irritates the scalp and promote the growth of skin cells. The dying and sloughing off of the extra skin cells is the nuisance we know as dandruff, AKA seborrheic dermatitis.

So if you don’t have dandruff, what else could be causing your scalp to misbehave?

Product buildup – if you shampoo/cowash/condition/deep condition/style your hair often you could be experiencing a buildup of products on your scalp. This buildup can lead to scalp itching and flaking that can be mistaken for dandruff. It’s a good idea to incorporate a clarifying  session every so often to make sure you’re removing product residue.

Dehydration – you know how you moisturize your skin to prevent an ashy, dry appearance? Well, your scalp requires moisture as well. Practices like ensuring that you’re drinking enough water and massaging your scalp with light oils can prevent dryness.

Psoriasis – scalp psoriasis looks a lot like dandruff, but often requires medicated shampoos,  topical corticosteroid or antifungal solutions to treat. If you’re not seeing any relief from using traditional dandruff shampoos, see a dermatologist or trichologist.


It’s important to know  exactly what you’re dealing to help you determine the best treatment; arm yourself with knowledge and take charge of your scalp health!