Severe Dandruff Causes, Treatment and Home Remedies


While mild dandruff may not be so much a bother, severe dandruff is likely to be. In this post, we discuss severe dandruff causes, treatment and home remedies. We tell you the severe dandruff shampoos you can use as well as give you recipes for simple DIY home remedies for severe dandruff.

Dandruff is a common skin condition that is characterized by a dry flaky skin on the scalp. It can also affect your beard, eyebrows and ears. Learning how to differentiate between mild and severe dandruff is important as it will help know when to seek medical help.

Severe Dandruff Flakes
Severe Dandruff Flakes

Severe Dandruff Causes

Though a lot of people get dandruff, at times what causes severe dandruff may be different from one individual to another. Here are some possible severe dandruff causes.

Poor hygiene: Dandruff can be caused by failure to shampoo your hair regularly. When you do not wash your hair, there is an excessive buildup of dead skin cells and oil on your scalp. When this goes on for an extended period of time, severe dandruff develops.

Seborrheic dermatitis: This is the most common cause of severe dandruff. It occurs when there is an irritation on the skin as a result of overproduction of sebum. It can be characterized by red oily skin that is usually covered with white flaky chunks. This can affect areas of your body with hair such as the armpits, eyebrows and groin area.

Dry skin: When the skin becomes excessively dry, there is a possibility of severe dandruff. This tends to manifest itself in the form of tiny flakes that are quite dry. In case a person is wearing a black shirt, the flakes can be noticed along the shoulders and on the collar.

Skin ailments: People with certain skin conditions are more likely to suffer from severe dandruff. In case a person has eczema or psoriasis, there is a possibility that when the condition is at its worst state, the patient will suffer from severe dandruff.

Malassezia: Malassezia is a type of yeast fungus that is found on the scalp of all adults. In normal circumstances, its growth is controlled. However, there are times when it will grow out of control especially when there is an increased production of oil on the scalp. This leads to scalp irritation and an overgrowth of skin cells. As a result the dead skin cells turnover increases causing severe dandruff.

Hair care products sensitivity: Some people tend to have a sensitive scalp. When they use products with certain ingredients it will react. Most people react to paraphenylenediamine. This could lead to severe dandruff.

Severe Dandruff Shampoo

Severe dandruff shampoo is available and can be bought in stores. The best shampoos that treat severe dandruff are the ones that contain the following ingredients;

  • Salicylic acid
  • Tar
  • Selenium sulfide
  • Pyrithione Zinc
  • Kentoconazole

Examples of shampoo brands with the above ingredients and which can be bought over the counter include:

  • Head and Shoulders citrus breeze shampoo.
  • Redken dandruff control shampoo
  • Neutrogena T/Gel daily control 2-in -1 dandruff shampoo plus conditioner
  • Aveda scalp benefits balancing shampoo.
  • Nizoral shampoo

You can use these shampoos every day in the beginning and when the condition gets better, use them twice a week. For the purposes of fighting resistance, you can alternate between two shampoo brands.

Severe Dandruff Solutions

Severe dandruff solutions help to alleviate the symptoms of severe dandruff. Different dandruff conditions will respond to different solutions. One has to keep on trying until they get a solution that works best for them. Knowing what the cause is will help come up with a quick solution.

Severe Dandruff Treatment

Severe dandruff is generally an eyesore and most affected people will be dying to learn how to treat severe dandruff. Most treatment for severe dandruff can be done at home using medicated shampoos. Depending on what is causing your dandruff, there will be a shampoo with ingredients that will help you get rid of it. However, if in the cause of severe dandruff treatment at home you experience itching, inflammation or soreness, the treatment should be ceased and medical attention sought.

Medicated shampoos that treat severe dandruff are mostly grouped by the kind of medication they have.

Selenium sulfide shampoos such as Selsun Blue: These slow down the rate at which your skin cells die. They however may cause loss of color to chemically colored hair, grey and blond hair.

Tar based shampoos such as Neutrogena Gel: Coal tar which is formed during the process of manufacturing coal helps in the treatment of severe dandruff. It reduces how fast your skin cells die as well as help contain skin conditions such as psoriasis.

Ketoconazole shampoo such as nizoral: Ketoconazole treats a wide range of fungal diseases and is a good antifungal. This normally works where most shampoos have not worked.

Salicylic acid shampoos for example Neutrogena T/Sal: Shampoos that contain salicylic acid work by removing flakes of dead skin from the scalp. This leads to a really dry scalp.

Zinc pyrithione shampoos such as Jason Dandruff Relief: Zinc pyrithione is a wonderful antifungal as well as antibacterial agent that reduce the scalp fungus that causes severe dandruff.

When using these shampoos lather well and massage on scalp. Leave the shampoo on hair for about 20 minutes so that the ingredients get absorbed by the scalp. Rinse shampoo off hair thoroughly. It is best to use these shampoos regularly until your dandruff disappears. After this one can use them twice a week. You should as well use two different types of shampoos so that one shampoo doesn’t lose its efficiency.

Creams as well can be used for severe dandruff treatment. These creams can be bought over the counter. Such creams may include;

  • 1% clotrimazole cream
  • Corticosteriod creams used together with medicated shampoos.
  • 2% micanazole cream

Severe Dandruff Pictures

See below some severe dandruff pictures.Severe Dandruff Severe Dandruff Symptoms

Home Remedies for Severe Dandruff

There are some home remedies for severe dandruff that one can use. This saves you a lot of money as it is something that can be done at home with ingredients from your kitchen. Sample some below.

Baking soda

To use this as a home remedy:

  • Wet hair and rub a handful of baking soda on your hair.
  • Massage slowly on scalp.
  • Rinse hair thoroughly and do not use shampoo.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar helps to clear up severe dandruff. To take advantage of it:

  • Mix ½ cup of apple cider vinegar with ½ cup of water.
  • Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and spray generous amount on your scalp.
  • Cover head with plastic cap and wait for 30 minutes.
  • Wash hair as normal.


It may not smell nice on your head but it can save you the embarrassment of dry flakes.

  • Crush one whole clove of garlic.
  • Mix this with a tablespoon of honey.
  • Massage this on your scalp and wait for 15 minutes.
  • Wash hair as normal.

Read More on Dandruff Causes & Types:

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