Causes of Dandruff in Women, Kids and Men


Dandruff can affect anyone. They can make one’s life miserable and also cause a low self-esteem in a person depending on which part of the body they are on. In this post we explore the causes of dandruff in general, the causes of dandruff in women, what causes dandruff in kids and the causes of dandruff in men too. We also explore what causes dandruff in hair.

Since the shedding of dead skin cells occurs in every human being, it should not come as a surprise that dandruff is common in both men and women, and in kids and adults. The process of skin shedding occurs in every skin surface and as such, any part of the body is bound to suffer from dandruff. Read on to learn the different causes of dandruff in various body parts and individuals.

Seborrhic dermatitis is one of the causes of dandruff
Seborrhic dermatitis is one of the causes of dandruff

Causes of Dandruff

Dandruff occurs when the natural cycle of skin shedding and renewal is speeded up. This causes there to be patches of dead skin formed on the surface of the skin. This is then seen coming off as flakes which are associated with dandruffs. There are a number of things that could contribute to the speeding up of this process. These range from serious skin conditions to simple hygiene routines. Below are some causes of dandruffs.

Seborrhic dermatitis: This skin condition is quite common but is poorly understood. People who suffer from it experience oily skin and could also experience flaking on various parts of their body such as eyebrows, the nose, behind the ears, armpits and any other part of the body where there are folds.

Malassezia: This is a type of fungus that lives on our skin and is harmless. However, it can accelerate the rate of production of dead skin if it grows out of control. This is attributed to the fact that abnormal amounts of fungus on the skin are bound to trigger an abnormal response by the body’s immune system. This causes the skin to become too oily which in turn encourages further growth of fungus. This is what then triggers the symptoms of dandruff.

Psoriasis: This is yet another disease that could contribute to dandruff formation. It is a chronic disease affecting the immune system. Its exact cause is not known though it is said to mistakenly speed up production of skin cells. The increased growth cycle leads to formation of some flaky thick patches that are itchy and which fall in the form of dandruff.

Weakened immune system: While the above diseases affect the skin directly, there are diseases that cause dandruff indirectly by weakening the immune system. Undergoing chemotherapy is one way through which the immune system may be weakened resulting to dandruff. Human Immunodeficiency virus is another condition that weakens the body’s defense system thus making the patient prone to dandruff.

Dry skin: When the skin dries up, it starts to get flaky. If these flakes are not washed off regularly and efficiently, there is a buildup. This is what will be seen as dandruff. This may happen when it is extremely cold and rooms tend to be overheated like during winter.

Other dandruff risk factors include:

  • Inadequate or too much shampooing of the hair.
  • Emotional or mental stress.
  • Reaction to hair products such as mousse, gel and sprays.
  • Increased oil production
  • Oily skin and scalp
  • Poor hygiene
  • Sweating
  • Weather extremes. These could be very cold and dry or hot and humid.
  • Concurrent infections or overgrowths of yeast or fungal on the skin or scalp
  • There is a hereditary component to dandruffs making it likely to run in families.

What Causes Dandruff in Hair?

Dandruff in the hair can make one adopt concealing measures so as to keep the unsightly flakes from people. It tends to come with itching that is irresistible and which could be embarrassing. Given the awkwardness it causes, do you know what causes dandruff in hair? This will be our point of discussion below.

Malassezia fungal infection causes dandruff
Malassezia fungal infection causes dandruff

Formation of dandruff in hair sets in with production of sebum which is the natural oil that is produced in the scalp to make the hair glow and the scalp supple. It also present around the dermis where it forms a protective barrier. This only happens when it is produced in the right amounts. In case there is an overproduction of these oils, issues such as dandruff emerge.

Another cause of dandruff in hair is a fungus known as malassezia globossa. This is found on everyone’s scalp but is usually in harmless quantities. It feeds on sebum and may lead to production of some oil which could trigger inflammatory response in given individuals. This will lead to improper shedding of the skin cells which will in turn result in the dry flakes found on the scalp.

Other general causes of hair dandruff include:

Inadequate or too much shampooing: When hair is not shampooed as often as it should, there is a buildup of products and dead cells. These then are combined and are seen on the scalp as dandruff. Too much shampooing on the other hand strips the hair off its natural oils. Some shampoos are also too harsh and may react on sensitive scalps. These may lead to drying up of the skin and thus it’s flaking.

Improper hair brushing: Brushing your hair regularly helps to get rid of the normal dead skin as well as evenly distribute the natural hair oil. This prevents any buildup thus keeping the hair healthy. If this is not done, there is a high risk of dandruff formation as the scalp is not getting aided to shed off the dead skin.

Reaction hair care products: Those with sensitive scalp tend to react to some hair care products depending on what the ingredients are. They may experience itchiness and flaking of the skin.

What Causes Dandruff in Women?

Women tend to indulge in more skin and hair care activities than men. This may see them suffer from dandruffs in case they are sensitive. What causes dandruff in women is varied and could be determined by what products they use and the state of their immune system. Among the causes of dandruff in women include:

  • Skin diseases such as sebhorric dermatitis and psoriasis.
  • Weakened immune system
  • Reaction to skin or hair care products.
  • Poor hygiene
  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Improper hair shampooing and brushing

What Causes Dandruff in Kids?

Dandruff conditions do not discriminate on the bases of age and can be found even on small kids. What causes dandruff in kids is mostly determined by a number of factors. When it attacks infants, it is known as cradle cap. Babies tend to clear up the cradle cap after around six months. This is believed to be caused by an overproduction of oil on the scalp. It may then recur later in life. For some individuals, it may worsen with time.

In case the dandruff is not as a result of the cradle cap, there is a possibility that it is being caused by improper rinsing of the kid’s scalp after shampooing. This leads to the accumulation of dead skin cells. These form a residue that is dandruff. When children are reaching puberty, there is likelihood that they will experience dandruffs. This is attributed to the hormonal changes they undergo.

Other causes of dandruffs in kids are dry weather, an oily scalp, unhealthy diet, stress and inadequate sleep. It is also hereditary and therefore kids who are born to parents who have had dandruffs are likely to get this condition.

Causes of Dandruff in Men

The causes of dandruff in men are no different from those of women. All the causes of dandruff cut across both men and women and also are the same regardless of a person’s age.

Read More on Dandruff Causes & Types:

Recommended: Getting Rid of Dandruff, Itchy Scalp & Best Dandruff Shampoo.